Anger is a natural thing we all feel from time to time, however, some of us have issues with the amount of anger we have and the controlling of it.
Anger management can refer to many different ways that can help you effectively ‘manage’ anger, however it is a common term referring to councelling that can help you relearn to cope with feelings of frustration.
Mental Health Foundation states that 28% of adults surveyed said they worry about how angry they sometimes feel.
When anger becomes a problem
If you get angry inappropriately, if you feel you are becoming angry regularly, or are unable to effectively control and deal with the feelings when they arise, you may need to take action to explore root causes of this and learn techniques to overcome this.
It is quite common that those who experience anger issues have difficulty forming and maintaining healthy relationships. It can lead to problems at home, in the workplace and even in society and with the authorities. Verbal or physical abuse may be resorted to if feelings of anger are allowed to build to such a level, many prisoners on violence charges and those charged with domestic violence admit to uncontrollable anger, and many find great improvement on completing anger management counseling.
This does not mean you have to be violent in order to have a problem, if you find anger is causing you emotional distress or hindering relationships or opportunities in your life, you should seek help as effective management techniques can be learned and this can improve your quality of life.
There are many ways that can help a person manage better their anger issues. For some, this may mean counseling to recover from past trauma and then learning new techniques to cope with feelings of frustration, for others simply facing the issues they face today and taking self-help steps can help, while some recover better in a group therapy environment.
The good news is there are many forms of help available. We suggest asking your local GP or looking here: for counseling in your area.
Here are some simple tips that can help you better deal with anger.
- Recognise triggers: try to avoid triggers, however if you cannot avoid them, prepare yourself mentally for effectively dealing with them when they arise
- Visualisation: if you are going to encounter a situation that may provoke anger, visualize the situation and as your body starts to react to the mental pictures, practice breathing slow and steady and other relaxation techniques. Visualise the situation working out calmly with you in control
- Physical exercise: physical exercise can get rid of adrenaline and other chemicals that flood your body when you feel angry. It can also be a great stress relief and focus for negative energy.
- Relaxation: practicing relaxation on a regular basis can help you better manage stress and frustration day to day.
- Get rid of pent up anger: you need to recognize you have a problem and set time aside for yourself, battling through life hoping it will go away is not enough, venting, talking about your issues and getting your needs met is important.
- Don’t let things build up: communication is key, simply adjusting your communications skills, learning how to show your upset without resorting to anger is a great skill to learn, assertiveness courses are great for learning how to be assertive without being rude or aggressive.
In the moment
- Take time to cool down: your mum may have said ‘count to ten’ when you felt angry, well, this is not a bad tip. Reacting immediately can inflame a situation far beyond the original level. Simply making yourself count to ten can slow your brain enough to allow you to catch your thoughts.
- Walk away: there is no shame in leaving an argument, long term ‘winning’ an argument is not important, whereas getting violent or having a situation escalate and relationships harmed can really cause problems. Your point of view will be taken better after you have cooled off and are able to present it in a reasonable way.
- Breathe: breathing slow deep breaths in, but also long breaths out – in for four, hold for four, out for four, is a great one to remember.
- Mental distraction: listening to music (classical or pop rather than heavy metal or heavy dance music is recommended), reading, watching TV or other exercise you find relieving is a great way to switch off from the thing that is making you feel anger.
- Physical distraction: physical exertion can help burn off chemicals that your body is producing. Hitting something soft like a pillow or punch bag can get out the feelings of anger without harming yourself or others. Squeezing an ice cube or having an elastic band around your wrist you can ping, can give you a feeling of anger relief without it being physically dangerous.