Management of anger
Techniques for managing anger
Once you begin to realise that anger is not something that is done to you, but is rather a response to the way you think about things you can start to manage your anger better.
1. Identify your triggers
Although your anger is caused by the way you view the world, there are most likely certain things or situations that are more likely to result in you feeling angry. This will be different for each person.
To find out what your triggers are, over a week, record your moods and take note of the events, things or situations where you felt angry, had an outburst or lost control.
2. Watch for the signs of anger
In addition to identifying the triggers, it is also important to watch for the signs that you are starting to feel angry and that this might get out of control. This involves developing some self awareness of what you feel like, both emotionally and physically as your anger starts to build up.
Some common signs:
Your muscles tighten or become more tense, particularly in your neck, shoulders, jaw, stomach or chest (e.g. your shoulders start to rise up)
Your heart rate increases
Your face and/or neck becomes red or flushed
You can’t sit still and feel agitated or like you need to move around
Your voice gets louder, higher and more abrupt
You shake, clench or shake your fists, point your finger, hit something or grind your teeth
Become jumbled or irrational and/or race through your mind
You overgeneralise and/or jump to conclusion about others motives
3. Distract yourself
Once you have identified that you may be getting angry, the best way to calm yourself down is to distract yourself
Create a personal coping slogan
This is a short mantra or statement of less than five words that you say to yourself over and over to stop thinking about being angry. “Let it go”, “It’s ok, walk away”.
Walk away in a controlled manner
Sometimes you need to immediately remove yourself from the situations that are triggering you to become angry. However, it is important that you do this in a controlled way and utilise some of the other techniques to fully distract yourself from the anger to help calm yourself down.
Think of or do something else
You will need to think beforehand of topics that are distracting enough to counteract the powerful emotions and thought processes that come with anger.
Create a list of things that you can think about or do instead, such as going to the gym or counting backwards. It is important that the things you select are not too automatic so that your brain can quickly refocus on what was making you angry. It is also important that the activity or thing isn’t something that frustrates you and further makes you angry.
4. Practice relaxation
Once you have started to calm down, you can accelerate this process by learning how to relax and focusing on relaxation.
Place one hand just above your waistline and the other on your chestv
Breath through your nose, inhaling as much as you can comfortably feel your stomach push out, pause,
Exhale through your mouth, feeling your stomach contract in, pause
Continue this process of slow breathing for at least 5 minutes
Managing angry thoughts
When you have calmed down, think about some of the things you were thinking when you were angry. Can you reframe these thoughts so they are more realistic? If you can you’ll often find you feel differently about the issue and feel less angry.
5. Expressing anger
Once you have calmed down you can consider how you would like to express your feelings. Anger is often a trigger to suggest things are not going well, if this is the case then you may need to express your concerns. You have a number of choices in the way you express yourself:
Express your feelings through talking about it: You may decide to talk about your anger and why you felt that way. If you decide to express your anger wait until you have calmed down before saying anything. Think about how to do it so the person you are talking to understands your feelings, you want the conversation to be constructive. If your anger is a result of an argument with someone else you may also need to ask the other person what they were feeling and why.
Express your feelings in other ways: You might decide to express how you feel in written form rather than verbally. If this is the case the same rules as above apply. That is, wait until you have calmed down and think about how to express your feelings constructively.
Decide not to express your feelings: after calming down you may decide not to express your feelings. That’s OK as well and there are certain times when you might decide to do nothing. The main issue here is that you have choices in how to express your feelings. When you calm down you can make a good decision about best to express yourself. When you are in the full throws of anger it’s difficult to make a rational decision and anger can often be expressed destructively at these times.
It can be helpful to read other people’s stories of their struggle with managing anger and how they have overcome it:
Help with managing anger
It’s good to know that if you are struggling with managing your anger, help is available. Counselling is widely considered the most effective way to learn skills to manage your anger.
Did you realise research has shown that the relationship between you and your counsellor is one of the most important elements for a successful outcome? How do you know if the counsellor you find will be the best fit for you?
Select Counsellors provides a unique client counsellor matching service to ensure you see the right counsellor for you, first time. We have a pool of highly trained Sydney based counsellors, psychologists, psychotherapists and psychiatrists and will match you with the right therapist based on important information collected in a personalised assessment about you and your needs. At Select Counsellors our key priority is Finding you the One. To book an assessment click here or call on 1300 123 680 to speak in person with a Select Counsellor.
Click on the links below to find out more information on anger management:
The Helpful Guide