Tips for coping with anger
Under normal circumstance, anger is a very natural and healthy emotional state. However, for someone who has frequent flare-ups or anger that spirals into other rage-related emotions and actions, that can be seen as a very unhealthy emotional state. The anger itself isn’t the concern, what you do and how you react to your anger is the area of concern, especially when others bear the brunt of your outbursts.
Learning the best methods of responding to the people and the situations that are pushing your buttons can keep you from explosive tirades. You may believe that you can’t control your anger or help the way in which you feel, however nothing could be further from the truth. Your anger can be controlled and you can learn how to express your anger without resorting to unhelpful behaviors.
Getting your anger under control can help you to preserve relationships, both personal and professional, and help to keep your blood pressure steady while also preserving your mental state. The following tips can help you with the anger management process; remember that it is a process as there are no quick fixes to anger issues.
Don’t believe what you’ve heard for so many years. All too many people believe that “letting it out” is the best means of coping with anger and frustration. However, when people think of “letting it out” they often think of aggressive means of venting their anger in the form of tirades and outbursts. These are non-productive, won’t resolve your issues, and will only serve to reinforce your problem with anger.
A healthier method of “letting it out” could include hitting the gym for a heavy workout, going for a run, or having a non-aggressive discussion with your counsellor.
Determining what the true source of your anger is can help you better manage your anger and your responses. A short fuse can often be attributed to behaviors observed and learned in childhood. Perhaps you watched your parents scream at one another, throw items, or even react with physical abuse. This can often led someone to believe that this is the best method of expressing anger. Anger can also be used as a means of covering up other forms of emotion; like shame, insecurities, or confusion.
Learning new methods of expressing your other emotions can help you to keep your anger at bay.
Learning your triggers and the signs of an impending angry outburst can help you to be more aware of the warning signs that you are about to have an outburst. There are often very clear physical signs that you are under stress and about to lose your temper. By recognizing the signs you will be able to take the necessary steps to curb your anger before it gets greatly out of control.
Some of these signs could include the following.
- Tension in your stomach and shoulders
- Clenched jaw and hands
- Feeling flushed
- Pounding heart
Your triggers will vary greatly, based upon your unique lifestyle, family situation and other factors that are unique to you. Some of them could be your daily commute, dinnertime with your significant other, meetings at work, and any other situations that set your blood to boiling!
Having the ability to recognize the warning signs of an angry outburst can allow you to swiftly head off your anger before it spins into potentially violent and abusive situations. Working with your therapist can help you to find the anger management methods that work best for you. Some of them could include the following.
- Take deep breaths, deep and slow breaths can help you to counteract the physical signs of your increasing stress and frustration.
- Focus on how your body feels while you are experiencing the signs of an impending outburst of anger. The intensity of the anger can often be lessened when you focus on the physical side of things.
- Getting in a good workout can help you to release the energy that is raging through your body. You can hit the gym, take a walk around the neighborhood, or even pop in a workout dvd and get a good sweat going!
Your anger doesn’t need to control your life and have a negative impact on your relationships. You can control the way in which you react to the physical and emotional aspects of your anger.
Related articles from our experts
- Anger management: “How do you transform a raging lion into a purring cat?”
Shane Sneyd MBACP, UKCP & BPC17th February, 2018
- Anger: the tip of the iceberg
Tania Freeman - MBACP registered Creative Arts Counsellor12th January, 2018
- The 'gem' of a gift in accepting your own anger
Paul Roberts Embodied Psychotherapeutic Counselling RMBACP12th October, 2017
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