Are you angry more often than not? Your anger might be triggered by a minor annoyance like traffic on your regular commute or a significant inconvenience caused by a deceitful co-worker. Day-to-day situations can get stressful and make you angry. How to control anger outbursts?
An automatic response to some situations may see you act aggressively. However, there are healthier ways to express anger that can have positive outcomes.
How to control anger outbursts? What Is Anger?
Anger is a natural reaction to perceived wrongdoing. Many things can elicit this emotion – the actions of others are a common trigger. Feelings such as worry and anxiety can also escalate to anger.
As a natural, biological response, anger was necessary for survival. It was a primary emotion in response to threatening behavior. Today, we do not need to defend ourselves from predators, but anger still exists as a natural reaction to displeasure.
Common Ways of Expressing Anger
When you are angry, you may deal with it in one of three ways.
An expression is conveying your anger. It may be reasonable in that you have a rational discussion with people when they offend you. It may be unreasonable when you have violent outbursts, hit the wall, or break things.
You may hold in your anger. Rather than tell people when they offend you, you keep your emotions hidden. Usually, this way of dealing with anger results in passive-aggressive behavior.
Using self-discipline, you may control your behavior. You learn to manage internal responses to external triggers. You may use calming techniques to manage your physical reaction to triggers.
Why Do Some People Get Angrier Than Others?
People who are easily angered have a low tolerance for frustration. According to psychologists, such people feel that they should not experience inconvenience or annoyance. They get angry when a situation seems unjust and do not know how to deal with anger.
Research shows that some children are born irritable and easily angered. The signs are present from an early age. When they never learn how to channel their anger correctly, they have anger management issues as adults.
Anger is viewed as a negative emotion. Most people are taught to express all other feelings except anger. So, they never learn how to channel it constructively. They either express it negatively or suppress it.
Research shows that easily angered people come from disruptive, chaotic families and have poor communication. They learn from an early age how to express anger, and most times, the learned behavior is negative.
Why Is Anger Management Important?
Sometimes, anger is triggered by genuine and justifiable issues. Unfortunately, being angry alone is not enough to solve the problem.
Chronic irritation can have adverse effects, such as:
- Physical symptoms that worsen and become health conditions
- Inability to have healthy relationships
- Being physically or verbally abusive to others
- Avoiding certain events, situation, or people for fear of an outburst
- Problems with the law due to altercations
Healthy Ways to Express Anger
You can express anger positively and constructively. Here are some healthy ways to express anger:
- Write out how you feel. Instead of lashing out at someone and using hurtful words, take up journaling as an outlet for your emotions.
- Have a rational discussion with the other party and seek to understand and develop a solution to the problem at hand.
- Get physical. No, do not hit someone or punch a wall. A good run around the block can help calm your nerves, ease tension and reduce your anger.
- Dance. Put your favorite music and dance your way to a better mood.
What Strategies Can You Use to Manage Anger?
Anger is a natural response that may become dangerous if not channeled correctly. Here are some tips that can help prevent angry outbursts.
Laughter is the best medicine! It may be the most straightforward tip on how to deal with anger. You can laugh your way to a good mood. Laughing about anything, including stressful situations, is a clear indication of self-control. You can deflect your feeling of anger by finding something funny to focus on.
You can also find humor in the very thing that made you angry. Depending on the intensity of the inconvenience, humor can be an escape route for you. When your co-worker picks on you about your bad-handwriting, instead of taking offense and brooding over it, laugh about it.
Several relaxation techniques can help you manage your temper. Slow exercises like yoga are good to relax your muscles. Alternatively, you can find a quiet place, put on some good soothing music, sit and meditate.
A lot of thoughts go through your mind when you are angry. Your head might feel as if it is exploding. For this reason, relaxing may be hard at first. With practice, you will slowly learn to clear your mind and focus. If you are in a relationship and have anger management issues, it might help if both of you master relaxation techniques.
It may be hard to clearly express how you feel when you are seething with anger. It is easy to jump to conclusions and make choices that you regret later. When caught up in a heated argument, for instance, do not be quick to respond.
Choose and weigh your words carefully. Practice active listening and pay attention to non-verbal cues like body language. It will help you understand better the message the other party is putting across. Seek out underlying feelings in every conversation. Avoid placing blame and pointing fingers.
Think before you respond. Learn to be more assertive when talking. This way, you can communicate your feelings positively and transparently, without offending the other party.
It is merely changing the way you think. Sometimes, your anger is fueled by the perceptions you have of things. A simple shift in your thinking can go a long way in helping you deal with anger. Have a positive mindset and an optimistic outlook on life. A negative mindset affects your attitude towards things and people, so you should change your inaccurate negative thoughts.
Remind yourself that the world is not against you or out to get you. Repeat some soothing or calming words and try to focus on them when having an anger crisis. Positively talk to yourself. Remind yourself of the positive things and happy moments in your life. Focus on finding joy in the simple things.
Changing your way of thinking will also change how you talk to and interact with others. Your vocabulary will improve and have a more welcoming tone. You will also be able to handle arguments logically and rationally.
If you cannot change the situations that make you angry, find a distraction. Distractions can quickly change your mood for the better. Ensure you find a distraction that interests you and engages your mind. It will help you momentarily forget your anger and cheer you up. Take a break and listen to music or watch your favorite TV show. Whatever you choose, make sure it is absorbing and captivating enough to keep you engrossed.
Distraction may also involve a change of environment. A long drive, for instance, will give you ample time to calm down, recollect your thoughts, and figure out how to deal with an issue. You can also engage in tasks and activities such as writing, singing, or cleaning your house. Journaling is an excellent way to express feelings that you would typically find hard to voice out.
Distractions force you to meditate and focus on things other than your problems. However, distractions are a temporary fix to your anger management.
Practice Self Care
Taking care of your overall physical and mental well-being is an excellent way to release tension and stay calm. Create some semblance of organization and structure in your life. Here are a few self-care tips to help you release stress and control anger:
- Protect your mental space. An anxious mind makes you irritable and easily angered. Create a safe space for yourself where you can go to unwind and regroup. You can also listen to motivational podcasts and read inspirational books.
- Get enough sleep. Lack of sleep can leave you tired and irritable. Ensure you get enough rest.
- Go easy on alcohol and drugs. If possible, quit them altogether. Alcohol and drugs affect your thought process and make it even more challenging to control your anger.
- Talk it out. Find someone you trust and talk about your issues. A kind listening ear is a very effective stress reliever.
How Does Counseling Help Manage Anger?
Anger management therapy can help you:
- Recognize what triggers you
- Learn how to deal with triggers without resorting to aggression
- Learn how to identify irrational thoughts
- Develop relaxation and calming techniques to control your anger
- Learn effective problem-solving techniques
Professional counselors usually carry out anger management therapy. The specific techniques used depend on your triggers and ways of expressing anger. Treatment can be given online, giving you convenience and privacy.
At Calmerry, you can get in touch with licensed counselors who have experience in anger management. They will help you identify and overcome emotional stressors and provide you with effective tools to deal with anger in a healthy way.
Kate has a B.S. in Psychology and M.A. in Clinical Psychology from Pepperdine University and has worked in healthcare since 2017. She primarily treated depression, anxiety, eating disorders, trauma, and grief, as well as identity, relationship and adjustment issues. Her clinical experience has focused on individual and group counseling, emergency counseling and outreach.Read more