If you’ve ever wondered how to keep your anger under control: this article is for you.
What do you do when you are suddenly faced with an adverse situation? Like when you are already late for an interview and suddenly face a roadblock, or a flat tire?
Or, when the passenger sitting next to you on a 14-hour flight is continuously talking rubbish or slurping on his drink? Or, when you come home on an excruciatingly cold evening and find out that the heater isn’t working?
What is your initial reaction to these situations?
Do you look for an alternative way to reach your destination? Do you ask the stewards to change your seat for the remaining of the flight? Do you look for an electrician who can come in for a quick fix as soon as possible?
Or, do you rant and rave, scream, shout, abuse, raise your voice and create an scene in front of others?
Life is always going to give you flat tires and annoying co-travelers. But it is up to you as a person to meet and greet and tackle these situations as logically as you can.
You have two ways to go through these. Remain calm and think of a solution; or, get angry and make the situation worse.
How To Keep Your Anger Under Control:
Anger is present everywhere, and in everyone, from every walk of life.
All of us get angry at some point of the day; some people just get angry more intensely and more frequently than others.
In some cases, anger can be justified; in others, the person who is constantly showing signs of excessive anger may have problems with controlling their angry mentality.
That is where anger management comes into the picture.
Anger management, as you can guess from the name, is the act of managing your anger, or controlling your temper.
This may sound like an easy task for some, but that only means that you don’t have a problem with anger.
It’s people who have trouble controlling their anger at the simplest of provocations who need anger management lessons.
Before we go down to learn of ways and techniques of managing anger and temper, let’s know more about anger – the why’s, the how’s and the when’s.
Definition of Anger
Surprisingly, it is very difficult to define anger.
When asked ‘what is anger’, people generally tend to answer it with situations or cues that make them angry, or how they feel when they are angry.
This proves that anger is a completely personal sentiment. What makes one person burn up with rage could make no sense in another.
So, when you see a person who is raving and ranting because they have forgotten to buy cigarettes for the night and all the shops are already closed, it may not make sense to you.
Again, if you are getting angry because the family living next to you is playing music loudly, it may not make sense to them why you can’t enjoy good music while they are able to.
A formal definition says that anger is:
“A strong feeling of displeasure and belligerence aroused by a wrong; wrath; ire.”
Reasons of Anger
Since it is hard to actually define it, let’s take a chance to find out the triggers or motives that cause anger, i.e. the reasons why we get angry in the first place.
You may be angry when:
You are hurt and physically suffering from pain
You are hungry and have no immediate or preferred access to food
You find yourself the victim of a crime, such as, theft, robbery, abuse, rape, etc You are under stress, i.e. you are stuck in traffic, or a long queue
You are suffering from immense grief, such as, a loved one passing away You are sexually frustrated
You are withdrawing yourself from an addiction, i.e. drugs, alcohol, sex You have been lied to or cheated on
You are facing problems in your relationships
You are exhausted or tired
You have just experienced rudeness or bad behavior You are aggravated and feel powerless
You feel as if you are being controlled by someone else
You are under pressure at work, i.e. demanding boss, looming deadline You are facing financial crisis or debt
You are feeling disappointed in yourself and in others
As I said before, life will give you a lot of reasons to be angry about, but do you know what excessive anger can do to your life?
Impact of Anger
A little anger in some cases may be fruitful and needed, such as standing up to a opportunist boss, talking back to someone who is abusive; however, in most scenarios, anger does have a really negative impact on our lives.
Usually, the most common reaction to anger – whether it is a mild irritation or flexed muscles – are harsh words, words that once spoken can never be taken back.
When we are angry, we never stop to think about the people we are bashing; they may be our loved ones – our friends and partners, our parents, children, or even slight acquaintances and strangers.
People usually tend to say extremely rude and hurtful words when they are angry, and these words are very often, the reason that many relationships, friendships and careers are destroyed.
The physical changes that go through our bodies in extreme anger should also be taken into consideration.
These changes can lead to heart attacks, blood pressure and other such dangerous conditions.
Some people turn destructive and violent in anger, and go on destroying their possessions and valuables in fits of temper. This can even extend to other people getting physically hurt in the process.
Anger makes people to take the wrong decisions which can be harmful to themselves and others.
Yelling “I quit!” or “I’m divorcing you!” or even things such as “I wish you never came back!” can make changes in your life that you would rather not want.
So yes, controlling and managing your temper is extremely important. This is what this article is all about – the ultimate guide to manage your anger issues.
Anger Management – What can you do
If you think you have some issues with anger, or if you think someone around you may have problems in this field, then you have come to the right place to find out how to help.
In this chapter, I have described some proven tips and exercises that will help you to control your anger, when in any situation you feel like bursting in rage.
1. Find the real reason behind your anger
You are on your way to office, and suddenly find yourself in the middle of a huge traffic jam that is unnatural for your commute.
Naturally, you find yourself getting angry at the situation. Your anger grows to the level where you can feel the onsets of a full rage.
At this precise moment, take a second aside and ask yourself: why am I getting so angry? Is the traffic jam the real reason behind your anger, or is there something else?
Maybe you had a bad start of the day because you had a restless night. Maybe you are hungry because you were in a hurry and couldn’t have breakfast.
Maybe you have too many deadlines (1) waiting for you at the office that needs your immediate attention.
In most cases, it’s actually not the obvious reason that’s making you angry; it’s a reason that’s hidden and needs some thought to surface.
Do you know a person who is always angry? Is he or she always in a foul mood, screaming and abusing others, causing people to fear them?
Look for any reason behind the obvious ones that person is showing.
It’s usually not the traffic jam, the burnt toast, the lost purse that people are angry about; it may be something more intimate.
Did the person grow up in an abusive family in their childhood? Are they in a bad place in their relationship? Are they having financial trouble? Are they frustrated about something?
Find that hidden agenda and you will be able to help them, or yourself, control anger.
2. Learn to calm down
The moment that you know that you are getting angry – no matter how big or how little the reason – you need to start working on calming yourself down.
This is not an easy task, but if you can pinpoint the exact moment that you know you are angry and can somehow maneuver it into your controls, then you can learn to manage your anger skillfully.
We will discuss calming down tricks later in the next chapter, in details.
3. Avoid your triggers
Everyone has some triggers that automatically lead them to anger, such as an action or a word.
For example, you are an easy-going person and like to take everything at a slower pace than other people. Of course, not everyone understands or appreciates this.
You may be called ‘lazy’ or ‘idle’ – words that you cannot stand.
Or, imagine if you hate smoking and anyone smoking in your vicinity makes you unreasonably angry.
When you see other people smoking around you, in parties or restaurants, you can always tell if you are going to get angry and burst out.
These two concepts – smoking and being called ‘lazy’ or ‘idle’ – these are your triggers. What you have to do is avoid these trigger points and you can control your anger.
This may take little work on your behalf, but it will be worth it.
Avoid people who regard you as lazy or idle. If you see any conversation turning that way, excuse yourself and leave.
Avoid the topic, and avoid conversations that will eventually come back to your habits. Avoid going to public places that allow smoking.
Keep ‘no smoking’ signs around your workplace, your car and your home. Tell people politely that you don’t like the smell and leave the conversation if someone is about to light up.
If there are some people who you don’t like – people who, as the saying goes, just rubs you the wrong way, avoid them.
If you happen to bump into them at a social or corporate gathering, just say a ‘hello’ and a ‘goodbye’ and move on.
Don’t give them the chance to make you angry.
4. Keep the communication open
No matter how angry you are with a person, there’s nothing that works better than keeping the line of communication open.
If your next-door neighbors are loud and rude, and disturbs your peaceful slumbers at home, instead of being angry and judgmental, try talking to them and make them respect your boundaries.
Approach them in a logical manner: “Hey, I know you have a large family and there is bound to some commotion because you have kids. I understand that completely; but please know that I work hard all day, and I really need my sleep. I would really appreciate it if you can try and be a little quieter in the evenings.”
Chances are, your neighbor had no idea they were being disruptive, and would definitely try to be less noisy when you are home.
Communication is the greatest thing that human beings have, and keeping the chance open can open up new opportunities that anger certainly couldn’t have.
5. Let it out
When I say let out your anger, I mean letting it out through a healthier outlet than getting angry and revengeful.
Many people have known physical exercise to be a healthy outlet of venting out anger. So, the next time you find yourself angry, or approaching anger, just pack your gear and head out to your nearest gym.
Alternatively, you can just get out for a run, a jog, or try some light, free-hand exercising right where you are.
This may not always be possible, especially if you are at work, if it’s late or not the time. If you find yourself getting angry in these situations, try to distance yourself from the problem, for the moment at least.
Take half an hour out and go out for a solitary coffee, or go to the next room and listen to some soothing music; cook or clean, if you want to.
If you are creative, channel your anger into your field. Draw, sing or play music that will help you to calm down. Some people write out what’s bothering them on paper or try to write poetry on their feelings.
6. Reach out to people
Some problems may be too big for you o handle on your own.
When something happens that leaves you angry and helpless, don’t be ashamed to reach out to someone that you can talk to.
These people may be able to help you, or not – but they can help immensely just by listening to your troubles. They may be a sibling, a friend, your partner or your parents.
So don’t hesitate to call or meet somebody and complain or whine to them when you feel angry.
If you still feel overwhelmed by your anger, every locality has trained psychiatrists and therapists who can help you with your problems.
They can help you identify and control your problem and help you through the process of recovery.
Anger Management – Instant tricks
It is very easy to advice someone to ‘control their anger’, ‘calm themselves’ or even to ‘relax and take it easy’, but very hard in real life to actually achieve that.
In this article, we are not just going to leave you with empty advises, but we are going to show you legitimate and proven ways to try and control your anger.
When you suddenly find yourself angry, all logic usually got out the window and all that you are left with is blind rage.
That is really not the time to rationally look for reasons or find a solution; those things come later when you have found a way to calm yourself down into a reasonable human being and is not reminding people of the Incredible Hulk!
In this paragraph, you will find some guaranteed quick-fix tips that will definitely help you control your anger for the moment.
Tip#1: The Old Countdown
Yes, the age-old technique of counting down actually works, and it is still the number of calming method for when you are angry, frustrated or restless.
The next time you are angry, or getting angry, or could get angry, immediately close your eyes, take a deep breath and start counting: 10…9…8…7…6…5…4…3…2…1…0.
Take a deeper breath and do the same thing again, and again if you want to. Or, you can just start from 50 if you are very angry: 50…49…48…47…4…3…2…1…0.
Even of you find yourself calmed down before you reach 0, don’t stop but finish the countdown. You can do the counting mentally, or use your fingers as a distraction.
Either ways, this technique almost always works for everyone!
Tip#2: Breathing Exercises
An alternative to counting is breathing exercise as practiced with Yoga (2).
At the moment of supreme anger, stop and take a seat. Rest your arms on your chair if possible and close your eyes.
Breathe in, wait a second; now taking a long time, breathe out. Repeat the technique: breathe in, wait, breathe out. Breathe in, wait, breathe out.
Repeat the same pattern for at least 5 minutes, or around 15/20 cycles.
Now comes the hard part: stop thinking about everything else and concentrate on your breathing.
Forget where you are, what you were doing; forget the noise in the background, the yelling boss, the screaming child. Your only focus is your breathing.
To focus, you can try and time your breaths, or count them – anything to keep your mind occupied.
After a few minutes, you will feel less angry, and your body will be relaxed.
Tip#3: Shift your Focus
In situations where you are standing in a long queue, impatient where the couple in front of you is fighting loudly, there is a screaming baby right behind you, and where you might need to wait for a few more minutes, it is natural to start feeling a little angry.
What to do if you are suddenly a victim of something like this? You shift your focus, of course.
Drown out the hopeless situation that you are in, and look at something else in the distance for around 2 minutes.
This could be anything: a potted flower in the distance, a movie poster, the buttons inside the lift, a floral print on someone’s shirt.
Look at the object and really see – see the colors, try to imagine or remember the texture; concentrate on the object completely.
Move your focus back after a minute, and if you still have time to kill, look at something else. Voila! No time to get angry, no matter how frustrated you felt a moment earlier.
Tip#4: Go to ‘your special’ place
Isn’t there a place that we just love?
Somewhere we’ve always wanted to visit, but never had the time? Or, the small town where we spend some of the most idyllic time of our childhood? Or, the beach where we went on our honeymoon?
That’s your place!
Feeling angry? Go to that place, right then!
No need for a ticket, or luggage or an itinerary; just imagine yourself playing football where you once did when you were 12, or standing at the beach where you spent a romantic week with your partner.
Don’t just try to tell yourself that you are there, try to visualize the place exactly as you remember it, or exactly as you wish it were.
Remember every aspect of that place – the sounds, the smells, the air, the weather.
Stay there until you find yourself completely drained of all the anger you were feeling only a moment ago, and then come back. Whoosh!
All your anger – gone!
Tip#5: Write it down
Feeling murderous? Wishing you could just throw someone off the 12th floor and be done with them? Well, you can’t really do that, no matter how angry you are with a person.
What you can do it write it down.
Take a pen and a piece of paper and start scribbling: I hate that person. I wish I could kill him/her. S/he is making my life miserable. I wish something bad happens to them. I hate him/her. I wish I never have to see him/her again in my life.
Write down everything that you could see yourself saying to that person. Now, when your anger is gone, destroy the paper.
You don’t want anyone to see it, ever.
After all, it’s not what you really feel; it was just your anger talking. You hardly mean any of what you wrote about that person.
You can try typing your emotions, but going analog works the best in venting out anger.
Tip#6: Having Confidence in Someone
There must be someone in your life who is more than willing to help you go through this. At the crucial moment, borrow their ears to help you calm down.
When feeling angry and frustrated at a queue, call them up and complain, whine even: This is so frustrating! I’m standing at the queue for over an hour!
Or, I hate when my boss is taking all the credits for my work. I wish I could do something about it.
If the person is your well-wisher, they would bear through the anger patiently. Better you bash out at them than at the person behind you at the queue or your boss!
These may seem like small exercises that will help you manage your anger for a minute or two, but remember: when you are able to control your anger in the short run, it will help you look at the bigger picture and ultimately guide you through your problem.
When you are capable of handling your anger at the initial moments of rage, the day isn’t far when you will be able to control it completely.
Thank you for reading this article about how to keep your anger under control and I really hope that you take action my advice.
I wish you good luck and I hope its contents have been a good help to you.