Feeling angry can be healthy and normal, and learning how to control and manage it in a positive way is of importance not only to your relationships but to your mental and physical health; research has shown that anger can increase the risk of coronary heart disease and stress-related illnesses including insomnia, headaches and digestive problems. As untamable anger may seem at times, you can control it and you have a responsibility to do so. Consider these anger management techniques next time you feel anger building up inside you:
- Practise breathing and relaxation techniques.
Try breathing deeply when you feel your temper flaring; a good trick is to breathe out longer than you breathe in as you automatically breathe in more when you feel angry. Repeat a calming phrase to yourself such as, “I am in control of my reactions.” You can also count slowly to 10 as this gives you time to cool down and refrain from saying or doing something that will hurt the other person.
- Express yourself.
Communicate how you are feeling to the other person in an assertive and non-confrontational way. Start by using “I” statements, as this refrains from placing the blame on the other person and evoking their defences to go up. State your concerns, feelings and needs clearly and calmly and be specific. Instead of saying, “You are always late” you can say, “I feel upset that you didn’t show up on time today.”
- Learn to meditate.
Meditating is an ancient technique that helps you de-stress, gain perspective and practise mindful breathing, all of which help ease the effects of anger in the long-term. It is a form of self-care, giving you a few moments of quiet time to better prepare for what is ahead without getting angry or frustrated. If nothing else, it will encourage mindfulness and relaxation—and managing anger is all about learning to self-regulate your emotions.
- Exercise and adopt a healthy lifestyle.
Movement and physical activity are one of the best ways to release built up stress and anger. Exercises such as running, walking, swimming and yoga are all good options to clear your head and get some fresh air. Making time to relax, getting adequate sleep every night, eating a nutritious diet and avoiding drugs and alcohol are also important things to consider to maintain stress levels and keep a clear head.
- Seek help.
Talking to a trusted friend or family member can help put you at ease and identify solutions to your problem. There is also plenty of advice on platforms like BetterHelp, which is a site dedicated to improving your mental health. If you feel you need help controlling your anger or are struggling with increasingly angry thoughts, see a healthcare professional or licensed therapist who specialises in anger management. There are also anger management programmes which involve counselling and cognitive behavioural therapy (among other types of modalities) to identify problem areas and give you tools to better control your anger.
While anger can take different forms, adopting just a few of these management strategies will help you stay calm, collected and clear-headed when frustrating situations arise.