Anger management techniques: 5 tips to start now


So, when was the last time you felt the heat of anger passing through every cell of yours’? Was it a result of frustration, or betrayal, or emotional loss, or unjust treatment, or physical and mental stress? Anger is a very common expression that everyone exhibits from time to time. It gives us an urge to make things right. However, if you are unable to control your anger, it may interfere in your personal life, subsequently increasing mental stress and illnesses. If you have experienced how it can affect the quality of life, you might want to consider anger management techniques to make your struggle simpler.

Besides, there is only a 10% probability that anger results in aggression. Aggression can take a toll on your life when you physically harm people or things around you. “High levels of unsolved anger negatively impacts your health.”

What is anger?

Anger is a part of the flight-or-fight response system. In situations of threat or fear, the Amygdala playing a central role in this response takes control of all your actions. Contrastingly, the frontal lobe is responsible for logic, thought, and decision – making. The frontal lobe makes sure you respond most logically and rationally to a situation.

In an immediate and much needed flight-or-fight response, the whole circuitry of decision-making and thought is overridden, making a person act irrationally and impractically without thought. When you are faced with a threat, anger converts the complicated situation into short terms of “right” or “wrong.” You tend to act spontaneously instead of debating, “why is it right?” or “Why is it wrong?” 

In the events of anger, your body tends to load up on Adrenaline and norepinephrine, increasing your heart rate, breath rate, nausea, headache, and in some cases, chills and sweating. During these intense events, our system urges us to expend energy using the Adrenaline load, resulting in an aggressive attitude of shouting or crying. However, it can result in violence in a few cases, due to physical and mental arousal.

Does everyone express anger in the same way?

However, anger expression and intensity vary from one person to another. People react based on gender, age, social position, and religion, and personality difference, or the difference in perception. Others may not look at it the same way you look at the issue, resulting in a different expression. Meanwhile, others may hide their anger, thereby preventing their emotion from contradicting the current situation.

Parallelly, people who often hide their anger are also the ones who feel it difficult to express and deal with their emotions. They are the victims of self-harm and hurt themselves to cope with the intense feeling. They think harming themselves will give them a sense of relief, but any comfort in this manner is temporary and will not last long enough.

Some people may shout, threaten, or use dramatic words to exaggerate the impact of someone else’s actions on them. On the other hand, “learnt behaviors” can also be a pattern– your attitude and the way you deal with a situation may influence your child how they deal with anger. So you must set a good example for your child.

Why is anger management difficult?

If you face any unjust treatment or disrespect at the moment, you may express your anger and calm down soon after. But, a long-lasting deepened anger makes it challenging to control your emotion. If your anger is not because of something that just happened, but something that happens generally, then you may express it suddenly. Often the opposite person fails to understand that it is a result of something burning deep within.

People facing anger fail to identify it as a problem and won’t get on board with seek-help advice from family and friends. It is always better to seek help if you are unable to cope up with it all by yourself. “It is okay if you can’t do it alone.”

Anger management techniques

1. Recognize anger

 

The most effective way for anger management is recognizing your anger. Knowing what triggers your anger is the best way to start. Besides, it is a misconception that anger is either rage or calm, but practically it is both rage and calm with varying intensities. Since anger is both a physical and psychological component, you experience both mental and physical symptoms.

The mental symptoms include anxiety, stress, paranoia, frustration, sleeplessness, and social withdrawal and isolation. Other physical and behavioral cues are headaches, increased blood pressure, increased heart rate, chills, sweating, fatigue, pressure in the head, and rarely loss of consciousness. 

You also lose your sense of humor, and frequently get aggressive. You tend to crave drugs, alcohol, and smoke. You may have a powerful urge to make a loud noise and hit something hard enough to break it.

2. Buy some time for yourself.

With spontaneous reactions and thoughts, you jump to conclusions of right and wrong of a situation. But if you really need to decide what is right, you’ll need time to think about it deliberately. This is the moment you need to step back from the conversation and take a break from the argument. Drink a glass of water or a cup of tea, and then talk. During the timeout, think if the argument is over petty things or something huge. Do you have to be on extreme ends, or you can accept a middle ground?

Listen to relaxing music or go for a jog or a walk. Besides, physical exercise releases endorphins, which are the feel-good hormones, and helps you relax. Also, practice relaxation techniques– yoga and meditation can also engage you physically and mentally. Maybe the opposite person could do the same.

 

3. Wait and think before you act.

Try to stay calm and think about what you would do if you were in the opposite persons’ shoes. Try to have compassion for them. If a person is just shouting at you for a petty incident, it is apparent that you shout back; but take a moment to think, “why?” You are not in a war, where you need to make decisions instantly for survival. Take a few seconds to calm down and think before you act.

They might have lost their loved ones or were fired from work, or it may be a stressful expression of financial debts piling up on one another. If you shout back without thought, you hurt them unintentionally, making it worse. Talk out to a friend to get more perspective on the situation.

Try deep breathing techniques to calm you in intense moments. Anger can result in hyperventilation– opposite of calm breathing– in a few cases. The trick here is to breathe out more than you inhale. Also, counting can buy you some more time. 

4. Understanding and addressing your issues

 

Your anger always has a reason. Express what concerns you directly, instead of telling what the opposite person must or must not do. Make it about you and not about them. If you blame or tell them that they are wrong, they may react in the way that increases stress and anger in both. Avoid criticism and sarcasm– although you may use humor unless it hurts them. 

Never try to force them into saying what you want them to say. When you do that, they may not respond in the way you expected because they are angry too. Also, confrontation and apology for losing your temper, instead of apologizing for being angry, can cool down the situation.

It is okay to be angry, but not okay to lose your temper.

If you can forgive the person who angered you, you can work-out the situation together. Your anger is an urge to resolve something. Instead of repeatedly focusing on what is upsetting you, focus on solutions. If you need to talk about the problem, do it later when nobody is angry. If you need to make a demand, set a time to talk your issues out and try not to skip it.

5. What to do if anger management is out of control?

In events of uncontrollable anger, which, on a prolonged level, can lead to blood pressure fluctuations, heart complications, and loss of consciousness, it is best to seek help.

 

Talk therapy: Talking about your issues is the best way to relieve stress. Also, talking to your therapist about your anger management issues is the best way to cope up. They can help you identify the triggers and give you the best solution for your problems. Some therapies also provide counseling sessions, where they focus on your childhood issues of abuse and trauma. Behavioral therapy is another subjective way of focusing on how you act and behave in certain conditions.

Anger management therapies, on the other hand, primarily focus on controlling your anger. These therapies may be in groups or individually, as suggested by your therapist. 

Relationship therapy: If your anger is always directed at a single person, then relationship therapy is the best way. These therapies help you identify if it is anger that makes your relationship unstable or something else. 

Start today with these anger management techniques and if you are spiraling out of control, find the therapy or meditation session that suits you. Controlling and managing your anger would be a challenge in your life. The moment you win this fight against your anger, your life starts changing. You look at yourself having more compassion for others. If you are a long-term sufferer, believe me, anger management can give you a new perspective of life.

Related: How to stop overthinking and control negative thoughts?

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