Anger is a healthy, normal emotion. Anger becomes unhealthy when a person lacks the ability or skills to manage their anger. The inability to manage anger can have negative consequences on a person’s relationships, career, and overall mental and physical health.
Why Is It Important To Manage Anger?
Anger is your body’s way of delivering a message—telling you that a situation is upsetting or threatening. However, if you express anger in an explosive way, that is when anger can harm you or others. While is can feel like you don’t have control over your anger, you actually have more control over your anger than you think. You can learn to express your emotions without hurting others.
Signs That Anger Is A Problem
Below are some signs that a person may have a problem with expressing their anger in a healthy way:
- Inability to compromise
- Other emotions are not easily expressed
- Viewing any difference of opinion as a threat
How Can Anger Management Help?
People often think anger management is about learning to suppress your anger. But remember that anger is a normal, healthy emotion. The goal of anger management is not to get rid of that emotion, but to learn how to manage it and to understand the meaning behind the anger and express it in a healthy way without losing control. When that happens, you’ll not only feel better, you’ll also be more likely to get your needs met, be better able to manage conflict in your life, and strengthen your relationships.
Ways To Manage Anger On Your Own
There are things you can do to control your anger. Here are 10 ideas from Mayo Clinic:
1. Think before you speak: In the heat of the moment, it’s easy to say something you’ll later regret. Take a few moments to collect your thoughts before saying anything — and allow others involved in the situation to do the same.
2. Once you’re calm, express your anger: As soon as you’re thinking clearly, express your frustration in an assertive but non- confrontational way. State your concerns and needs clearly and directly, without hurting others or trying to control them.
3. Get some exercise: Physical activity can help reduce stress that can cause you to become angry. If you feel your anger escalating, go for a brisk walk or run, or spend some time doing other enjoyable physical activities.
4. Take a timeout: Timeouts aren’t just for kids. Give yourself short breaks during times of the day that tend to be stressful. A few moments of quiet time might help you feel better prepared to handle what’s ahead without getting irritated or angry.
5. Identify possible solutions: Instead of focusing on what made you mad, work on resolving the issue at hand. Does your child’s messy room drive you crazy? Close the door. Is your partner late for dinner every night? Schedule meals later in the evening — or agree to eat on your own a few times a week. Remind yourself that anger won’t fix anything and might only make it worse.
6. Stick with ‘I’ statements: To avoid criticizing or placing blame — which might only increase tension — use “I” statements to describe the problem. Be respectful and specific. For example, say, “I’m upset that you left the table without offering to help with the dishes” instead of “You never do any housework.”
7. Don’t hold a grudge: Forgiveness is a powerful tool. If you allow anger and other negative feelings to crowd out positive feelings, you might find yourself swallowed up by your own bitterness or sense of injustice. But if you can forgive someone who angered you, you might both learn from the situation and strengthen your relationship.
8. Use humor to release tension: Lightening up can help diffuse tension. Use humor to help you face what’s making you angry and, possibly, any unrealistic expectations you have for how things should go. Avoid sarcasm, though — it can hurt feelings and make things worse.
9. Practice relaxation skills: When your temper flares, put relaxation skills to work. Practice deep-breathing exercises, imagine a relaxing scene, or repeat a calming word or phrase, such as “Take it easy.” You might also listen to music, write in a journal or do a few yoga poses — whatever it takes to encourage relaxation.
10. Know when to seek help: Learning to control anger is a challenge for everyone at times. Seek help for anger issues if your anger seems out of control, causes you to do things you regret or hurts those around you.
When To Seek Help With Anger Management
If you try to techniques above and your anger is still spiraling, you should seek help. Remember that seeking help is not a sign of weakness. In fact, it’s actually a sign of strength. Getting your anger under control will benefit both your mental and physical health. Some options for help with anger management are:
- Therapy for anger management. Therapy can be a great way to explore the reasons behind your anger. If you don’t understand the reasons behind why you are getting angry, it’s very hard to control. Therapy provides a safe environment to learn more about your reasons and identify triggers for your anger. It’s also a safe place to practice new skills for expressing your anger.
- Anger management classes or groups. Anger management classes or groups allow you to see others coping with the same struggles. You will also learn tips and techniques for managing your anger and hear other people’s stories. For domestic violence issues, traditional anger management is usually not recommended. There are special classes that break down the control issues that are at the heart of domestic violence.