Anger can range from mild irritation to extreme rage. When dealt with in a positive way, anger can be a healthy emotion. However, uncontrolled anger can have a negative impact on your health and relationships.
Anger management techniques can be broadly grouped into three main categories: expressing, suppressing, and calming.
3 anger management strategies
Expressing anger calmly and assertively without being aggressive can help you release your pent-up frustration in a healthy way.
Instead of lashing out, try to clearly and respectfully express your feelings to the other person so that they are able to understand what is bothering you. While you may not be able to change the other person’s views, expressing anger in this way can help you let go of any resentment and obtain closure.
Anger can also be suppressed, which means holding in your anger and redirecting your energy to something positive.
Suppressing anger is a helpful technique when you are not in a position where you can express your anger. For example, if the situation does not allow you to discuss your feelings with the other person, or if the other person does not have the willingness or maturity to engage in a dialogue with you, it may be best to suppress your anger instead of expressing it. Be careful, however, not to turn your anger inward or allow it to consume you. Try to control your internal responses so that you let the feelings subside and truly let them go.
Whether you decide to express or suppress your anger, the most crucial step in anger management is calming yourself down before taking any action. There are many tips that can help you avoid an angry outburst:
- Concentrate on your breathing. Take deep breaths and focus as you inhale and exhale.
- Think before you speak. Avoid jumping to conclusions and analyze your thoughts before you utter them.
- Take a walk. Walking helps you relax and gives you time to think.
- Exercise or do some stretches. This will help relieve tense muscles and you channel your energy in a better way.
- Practice relaxation techniques. Whether it is yoga, meditation, painting, reading, or listening to music, these techniques can help you relax and calm down.
- Laugh it off. Sometimes the best way to deal with anger is to not take yourself or the situation too seriously.
- Give people the benefit of doubt. Many times, you may have misunderstood what someone said or misinterpreted their actions.
- Let go of grudges. Holding on to resentment will only harm you, both mentally and physically.
- Repeat positive affirmations. When triggered, keep reminding yourself that you are above reacting in a petty or furious way.
- Identify triggers. Try identifying the root cause or triggers that make you lose your cool. Once you recognize the triggers, take steps to avoid them or practice ways to deal with them before the situation escalates.
- Seek help when needed. If you feel that you get angry often or for no significant reason, talk to a friend or someone you feel comfortable with. Seek the help of a qualified mental health counselor or psychiatrist if needed.
How does anger affect your health?
Anger can do more than strain professional and personal relationships. It can be damaging to your mental and physical health.
When you are angry, your body releases several hormones, such as adrenaline and cortisol, which can increase your heart rate and blood pressure. Anger also makes your muscles tense and your breathing rapid and shallow. If left uncontrolled, frequent bouts of anger can increase your risk of developing serious diseases, such as diabetes, hypertension, heart attack, and stroke.
Anger also takes a considerable toll on your mental health, contributing to poor concentration and potentially leading to chronic stress, anxiety, and depression. In addition, anger can push people toward unhealthy habits, such as smoking, alcoholism, risk-taking behavior, and disordered eating.
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