Do you fume when someone cuts you off in traffic? Does your blood pressure rocket when your child refuses to cooperate? Anger is a normal and even healthy emotion – but it’s important to deal with it in a positive way. Uncontrolled anger can take a toll on both your health and your relationships. Keep reading on to learn how to control anger.
How To Control Anger
Determine the Cause of Your Anger
The first step to dealing with anger is to know what set you off in the first place. You may be irritable because of life stress, a lack of sleep, or hormonal changes. Feelings of anger can also stem from an underlying mental disorder such as anxiety or depression.
Think before you speak
In the heat of the moment, it’s easy to say something you’ll later regret. Take a few moments to collect your thoughts before saying anything — and allow others involved in the situation to do the same.
When you feel angry about something, it’s almost impossible to deal with the situation in a productive or helpful way. If you feel yourself losing your cool, just walk away from the situation for a while. You’ll deal with it better when everyone, yourself included, is feeling calmer.
Talk to someone
Talking to someone you trust about how you’re feeling can take a weight off your shoulders as well as your mind. That could be a trusted adult, friend or family member. You could even give the ReachOut forums ago, and talk with other young people who get how you’re feeling.
If your anger is getting out of control, consider seeing a mental health professional. Watch our video to find out why talking helps.
Slip into a quiet room, close your eyes, and practice visualizing yourself in a relaxing scene. Focus on details in the imaginary scene: What color is the water? How tall are the mountains? What do the chirping birds sound like? This practice can help you find calm amidst anger.
Take time to relax
If you know what helps you to relax, you’ll find it really useful whenever you’re feeling angry. Take some time out to do something you enjoy, whether that’s walking in the park, reading a book or listening to music. You could also try an app like ReachOut Breathe or Smiling Mind to help you relax.
Find the most immediate solution
You might be angry that your child has once again left their room a mess before going to visit a friend. Shut the door. You can temporarily end your anger by putting it out of your view. Look for similar resolutions in any situations.
Start an Anger Diary
Journaling is a great way to vent in a healthier way. Research shows that writing when you feel angry not only helps release negative emotions but can also reduce physical pain. It can help you see or understand an anger-provoking situation in a different light. Putting your feelings on paper is also a simple way to track those things that really “push your buttons.”
Imagine your breath as a wave, a surge of color blowing in the wind. Watch it come in and out; each breath will become deeper and quieter as you visualize your anger floating away. Hear yourself speaking calmly and softly to yourself and to others. Your anger reflex should diminish another degree each time you do this imaging.
Start an Anger Diary
Someone ticked you off? Tell the person ― in a healthy, positive, constructive way. Yes, he or she might be surprised, possibly even angered, by your words. But you know what? He or she will get over it and appreciate your respectful communication approach.
Nothing upends a bad mood like a good one. Diffuse your anger by looking for ways to laugh, whether that’s playing with your kids, watching stand-up, or scrolling memes.
Try to walk in the other person’s shoes and see the situation from their perspective. When you tell the story or relive the events as they saw it, you may gain a new understanding and become less angry.
Manage Your Thoughts
Angry thoughts add fuel to your anger. Thinking things like, “I can’t stand it. This traffic jam is going to ruin everything,” will increase your frustration. When you find yourself thinking about things that fuel your anger, reframe your thoughts.
Read more: Ways to improve your work-life balance