How to Control Anger, How to Manage Anger
Annoyed, bitter, enraged, exasperated, furious, heated, outraged, resentful, offended, irritated, irate, indignant, sullen, etc. These are just some synonyms for anger. Sometimes, people’s anger turns into revenge, which is even more destructive. Given the negative connotation with many of these words, it is not surprising that many of us have a painful, fearful or uncomfortable association with anger; whether we feel anger in ourselves, or with
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Anger and our Health
Surprisingly for some, feeling and expressing anger can be completely normal and healthy part of our lives. At the same time, anger must be controlled or we risk our well being and relationships. If anger is left unresolved, people may experience “high blood pressure, heart attack, depression, anxiety, colds, flu and problems with digestion.[i]”
With skill, practice, and time, we may reflect on what we feel, why we feel that way and then how to make a decision to manage it (control it) and react accordingly.
In order to effectively address anger, we must first become fully aware of when we start to feel angry. One description of feeling angry: “Your heart beats faster and you breathe more quickly, preparing you for action. You might also notice other signs, such as tension in your shoulders or clenching your fists.[ii]”
Controlled and managed anger can make you feel amazing
Use the anger to feel catharsis, whilst respecting those around you. “Telling people [your frustration] releases that energy rather than trying to submerge it. See our blog on Constructive Confrontation. Anger is a feeling to get over with, not to hang on to.[iii]” Along with this recommendation, be careful when expressing anger as we often underestimate the impact of our anger on others.
Ways to Control and Manage your Anger
Here are three recommendations to effectively control and manage your anger:
- Count to 10. This gives you time to calm down and have a clear mind.[iv]
- Take deep breaths.[v] Through controlling your physiological response, you can moderate the strength of the emotion.
- Express anger skilfully, which is part of positive conflict. Learn about using ‘I feel’ communication through the M2G Self-Resolver. Remember to be very specific about what bothered you. Name the behaviour so the other person does not feel threatened or rejected, but rather capable of changing something specifically to help you feel better in the future.[vi]
- Match your face to your feeling. Make sure that your facial expressions match your emotion so the person doesn’t feel confused about your message.[vii]
- Lean on me. Try to talk through your frustration in a calm way with the person in your immediate surrounding if it might be appropriate. Rather than yelling at someone, or running away from the situation, rely on the person around you to work through the intense feeling. They can help you calm down through actively listening to you. Learn about the definition of trust and building trust .
- Challenge your assumptions. Think about the person and/or situation, and assume that they had the best of intentions, which may help the anger to dissipate.[viii] Say someone has belittled you at work during a team meeting. Try to change your assumptions about the individual’s behaviour. Did they feel insecure or threatened by you? Be sure to read about Self-Leadership in Conflict Resolution. You may choose to take ‘the high road’ and assume the best. How can you think about the situation differently so that you may feel better? See our M2G Self-Resolver when faced with such a difficult situation.
- Vent to someone. This is not always ideal, as you are not dealing directly with the issue. However, it might help to express your emotions to someone who will respect your privacy, and is not involved in the situation, in order to release emotional tension. This can help you feel validated; yet avoid a confrontation that may be inappropriate, which means expressing your feelings in a non-accusatory manner. Learn how to have a difficult conversation with our M2G Self-Resolver. Be sure not to gossip, or if you do, make sure it is positive gossip.
Controlling Anger in the Future
Now that you have addressed your anger in the moment, it’s time to think about how you can improve yourself for the future.
- Consult our expert advice on How to Be Confident, in order to improve your reaction, and avoid overreaction in a given situation.
- If you are having trouble moving on and letting go of the past, learn about how you can create a positive future for yourself. Being angry forever isn’t worth it. Our blog on finding inner peace is also helpful
- Say that you were not the one who was angry, be sure to read about how to fix a relationship and what to talk about.
Labels: bad-relationships, Body-Language, Confrontational, personal-change, How-to-Control-Anger, How-to-Manage-Anger
[i] How to Control your Anger, NHS, UK: http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/stress-anxiety-depression/pages/controlling-anger.aspx
[iii] Tjosvold (1991; 134)
[iv] How to Control your Anger, NHS, UK: http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/stress-anxiety-depression/pages/controlling-anger.aspx
[vi] Tjosvold (1991; 133).
[viii] Ibid. at 136.