For some people, managing anger can be difficult. People can be irritable, hostile, they may yell, not think before they act or be threatening. It is important that people develop effective strategies to manage their anger, they may need to seek professional assistance through anger management to achieve this.
Early Warning Signs:
- Muscles tensing, clenching jaws or fists, tightening of shoulders
- Feeling face flush or get hot
- Heart beating faster than normal
- Churning or knots in stomach
- Over or under eating
- Feeling sad, overwhelmed, impatient or irritated
We have listed some ideas that may be helpful for people wanting to control and manager their anger.
- Recognise that you have the power to control your emotions
- Controlling your emotions is a skill. The more you practice the better you will get
- Remember that ups and downs are a normal part of life - Realise that it is normal to feel angry after certain events, but if you stay angry or take it out on others, you will only make things worse. Instead of focusing on all the negative, focus on some positives as well.
- Find a Safe Spot: Yelling at friends or family members, slamming doors or breaking things doesn't solve any problems often making things worse, escalating the existing problem. Sometimes though you just need to vent and get the frustration out. Finding a safe spot to do this can relieve the majority of your stress, allowing you to calm down enough to deal with the real issue.
- For example: Go to a spare room and scream, stamp on aluminium cans, throw a ball at a brick wall as hard as you can, punch a punching bag, mattress or cushion.
- Tell yourself to relax: Consiously tell yourself to realx, take a breath and focus on controlling you anger and focusing on the problem at hand.
- Take a Deep Breath: Breathe slowly and deeply, anger often begins when we are feeling weaker than we really are, small things become big things. Taking a few deep breaths calms you, makes you feel stonger both mentally and physically.
- Count to 10: It sounds simple but counting to ten allows you to step back from the issue or situation, examine the problem and decide on a rational, effective way to deal with your anger. Don't say or do the first thing that comes to mind , waiting to respond can help you think about other peoples feelings before you speak or act. By pausing you won't do something you may regret afterwards (2)
- Give Yourself a Break: Its easier to think when you are clam than when you are feeling agitated. When starting to feel angry take a break or leave the situation. Often when situations get heated it is best to take some time away and come back to it later when you have calmed down and can discuss it. Perhaps you make an agreement with your friends or family, that when you get angry you say you need a break and to go for a walk, but will come back to the issue later
- Make plans to handle situations you know cause you to get angry - There may be a few situations you know are going to upset you. These may be traffic, dealing with crowded places or a messy house. Plan strategies to manage your anger ahead of time
- Try to keep an open mind - Often people get angry when they think they know what someone else is going to say, but they haven't listened to the full coversation. Try to remind yourself that in order to avoid misunderstandings, hear people out before making judgements
- Explain yourself calmly - Make it easier for others to see and hear where you are coming from
- Participate in practical strategies - Go for a run, use a punching bag to let off steam, play a video game, write in a journal, or talk to someone who will just listen
- Give yourself credit when you do control your anger - Recognising the circumstances or actions which allowed you to control your emotions is a powerful tool in learning to control your anger and other strong emotions
For more information on Managing Anger you can go to Anger Management Institute of Australia, Australian Psychiological Society, Anger Management Tips
1. Anger, Managing intense emotions (2009), Brainline.org
2. Anger Management Tips.com, 2012