Everyone gets angry sometimes. It’s a normal feeling, and should be expressed in a healthy way (unless you want to become passive-aggressive, which wreaks even more havoc on relationships).
But think of it this way. Healthy anger is like a torch that can help you see and learn things about yourself, or clarify what you want and need from other people. But unhealthy anger, one that spins out of control, is about as constructive and productive as a forest fire. Here are some anger management techniques that can help you keep your temper under control.
In the heat of the moment, anger can make you say and do things that you will later regret. So take a step back and try to calm down. Count to ten, take deep breaths, pray—anything that will help you rein in all the emotions. But the key word is step back, not run away. Avoiding conflict or supressing feelings will only make you blow up later on, in volcanic proportions.
Knowing your usual signs of anger build up can help you stop and walk away before you blow up.
If you’re still upset after counting to ten (or 20, or 100…) then it may help to distance yourself from the person or situation for a day or two. And we mean physically. Go out and take a walk. Distract yourself with a hobby you enjoy. Physically removing ourselves from a situation will force you to focus on something other than what you’re angry about, so that you don’t feed off your emotions.
Vent it out in a safe way
Sometimes you’re so angry that even a walk isn’t enough! Then let it out, but in a safe way. Write in your journal, go jogging, hit a pillow. Release some of that brute, emotional force so that you don’t unleash it on the person you’re angry at. Journals don’t get hurt, and pillows don’t fight back, so at least you can vent without having to edit yourself or worry about consequences. Talk to the person only when you’ve taken the edge of your anger and are ready to tackle things in a constructive way.
Practice what you’re going to say
Sometimes it’s not what we say but how we say it. Practice the delivery, either by writing it out first in a letter (whether or not you really will send it) or talking about it with someone you trust. If it’s a complicated topic and you don’t know where to start try mind mapping, so you focus on the issue and don’t get sidetracked once you start.
Anger is the symptom of a problem (you feel resentful, your needs are unmet, you are uncomfortable about something a person did, etc) and if properly communicated can help you become more aware of yourself and even deepen your relationship with that person. But it is not the solution to the problem. Don’t dwell in the anger. Once you know why you’re angry think of what you can do to make the situation better.
Let go of what’s not in your control
You can’t control another person’s actions but you can control the interpretation and influence on your life. So the stress doesn’t reach boiling point, develop relaxation techniques…and your sense of humor!
Photo from mountcope.wordpress.com