12 Most Sane Strategies for Managing your Anger
Anger is a normal human emotion. It is the manner in which you handle your anger that makes all the difference in how a situation progresses, and how you feel about things afterwards. If you occasionally find yourself getting angry or “losing it” by doing or saying things that you later live to regret, there is good news. You must remember that you are in full control of your emotions and can alter how you respond to your feelings of anger.
Taking a cognitive behavioral approach to anger may be your best bet in learning to more effectively manage your anger. Here are a few strategies that can help you tame your angry feelings to bring about more positive and productive outcomes.
1. Monitor your feelings
To more effectively manage your anger, try staying connected to your emotions at all times. Staying connected means that you understand what your triggers are. You what kinds of situations are going to set you up, set you off. This way you can take a more proactive approach in heading off any anger that may be developing. This way you become the manager of your emotional state rather than handing those keys over to someone else. Even if you don’t understand your feelings well, there are people around you who do. Do not let other people drive you around by some kind of “emotional tether.” You are in control of what you do.
2. Learn to identify your emotions
When you can put a specific name on how you’re feeling, like “annoyed” or “frustrated,” you’ll learn to better understand yourself and how your emotions work. Being able to identify a thing and label it gives us a better chance of dealing with it intelligently.
3. Recognize the first signs or signals of negative feelings
Annoyance, irritation, frustration and feeling out of sorts are all important precursors to anger. These emotions can signal the potential of an impending angry outburst.
4. Remove yourself from the location or situation
As soon as you sense the development of the precursors to anger, it is time to vacate the area. This way, you can avoid reacting in ways that may come back to haunt you later on. Instead, you’ll have time to cool down before you make an appropriate and measured response.
5. State briefly how you feel
Let the people you are with know that you’re feeling annoyed, frustrated or irritated and that you are going into another room or out for a walk until you feel calmer. Then actually leave the room. The times when you’re feeling annoyed or irritated are not the best times to attempt to engage in a rational discussion, make threats or make promises. And, trying to engage may actually further inflame those feelings further.
6. Let your partner know that you’re working on your anger issues
If you’re striving to better manage your feelings, your partner, both at home and at work, will probably be pleased, and offer to help you. That is unless they enjoy the drama. Share with them that you’ll be exiting some situations temporarily whenever you believe you’re getting too worked up.
7. Practice letting go of negative feelings
Whenever you find yourself with a high state of emotions, learn to allow your feelings to pass through you and away from you. Use visualization techniques to imagine them floating up to the sky in a big black cloud and drifting away. Promise yourself that you will hold no grudges. The key to this exercise is that you must really “let go.” Let go of grievances and let go of being “right.”
8. Journal your feelings
If writing down your frustrations and describing your anger helps to dissipate some of those negative feelings go ahead and do it. Picture yourself dumping all of your emotions out on to the page. When you’re done writing, you’re finished with the feelings. Leave your feelings of anger on the paper and move on.
9. Soothe yourself
Remind yourself that you’ve made it this far and you’ll get through these upsetting feelings also. Do something that lightens your emotions, like watching your favorite TV show (preferably a comedy), listening to your favorite up-tempo music, taking a walk or waxing the car. Whatever activity helps you calm down and feel relaxed can be used to self-soothe.
But, avoid relying on food, alcohol or other substances as methods to make you feel better. If you’re inclined to use any of these try using a cup of non-caffeinated tea instead.
10. Reschedule discussion
When you are no longer upset, set up a time when you can talk about how you felt. In these discussions, always remember to use “I” statements and maintain a calm tone of voice.
11. Renew your spirit
Seek quiet. Pray, mediate, whatever method you enjoy to re-center yourself. Silence is one of the great rejuvenators that we often overlook.
12. Celebrate your successes, large and small
Recognize and celebrate the episodes when you calmly exited and avoided an angry display of emotions. Congratulate yourself for handling your feelings successfully! Give yourself a mental pat on the back.
As you learn to manage your anger, you’ll feel more self confidence and contentment in your life. Use some of the above strategies and learn to be a better partner, worker, employer, employee and friend, as well as a happier person by successfully handling your temper and your emotions.
What other methods have you found useful in keeping a lid on your temper?
1. Silence: A Key to Rejuvenation
2. Improve Your Visualization Skills
Featured image courtesy of dave_apple via Creative Commons.