The aim of anger management is not to get rid of anger completely. Anger is a natural human emotion and it is healthy to feel anger as long as you are able to control and direct your anger – so that it doesn’t control you, or damage an important relationship or situation.
Identify your sources of anger
It’s hard to think logically and rationally when you get angry, so understanding where your anger comes from can help you plan how to deal with it.
- Write down when, who and what situations make you angry.
- Look for things that make you angry often.
- Think about why these things make you angry.
Minimise the frequency and intensity of your anger
- Try Problem Solving Skills– How can you avoid these situations that make you angry in the future
- Try Communication Skills-You can also reduce anger by improving your communication skills. When you relate well to other people, express your needs, and talk about issues that bother you, you deal with potential anger proactively.
- Try empathy – When you understand another person’s perspective, it helps you analyse the situation objectively and understand your role in the conflict.
- Learn to trust others – Assume the best in people, and don’t take their actions personally.
- Listen – Use active listening to consider what the other person has to say, and then think before you speak. In many situations, the best way to deal with anger is to accept it, and then find ways to move forward.
- Be assertive, not aggressive – By improving your assertiveness skills, you can reduce the frustration that you feel when your needs aren’t being met.
Release Your Anger
- Take 10 deep breaths. It really does work!
- Use a punching bag or a pillow to physically express your anger (in a way that’s not harmful).
- Be physically active – walk, run, swim or do some other sport. This can be great for releasing the stress and frustration!
- Do yoga or another relaxing form of exercise.
- Participate in a fun activity or hobby.
- Use a journal or art to express your feelings.
- Forgive. At some point, it helps to let go and move on.
Control Your Anger When You Experience It
- Change Your Environment
- Take a break and remove yourself from the conflict. Go to another room, go for a walk, or count to 10. This may give you time to gain perspective and simply calm down.
- Learn to avoid situations that you know will cause your anger.
- If you regularly do something that makes you angry, try to find something else to do in its place
- Use Humour, it is a great way to control anger.
- Learn to laugh at yourself.
- Say something funny (but don’t be rude or sarcastic).
- Imagine the other person in a silly situation.
- Smile. It’s hard to be angry with a smile on your face.
- Use physical relaxation techniques. Take slow, deep breaths and concentrate on your breathing.
- Tighten and release small muscle groups. Focus on your hands, legs, back, and toes.
- Repeat a word or phrase that reminds you to stay in control and remain confident. For example, say, “You’ll get through this. Relax! You’re doing a great job!”
- Practice imagery techniques. Use your imagination or memory to visualize a calming place or situation.
- Take a few minutes to calm down before discussing the problem.
- Be assertive, not aggressive when making your points.
- Talk it over with a friend before you confront the person you are angry with.
- Engaging in a hobby or another enjoyable activity can help keep you calm.
Simple relaxation tools, such as deep breathing and guided imagery, can help calm down angry feelings.
Some simple steps you can try:
- Breathe deeply, from your diaphragm; breathing from your chest won’t relax you.
- Slowly repeat a calm word or phrase such as “relax,” “take it easy.”
- Use imagery; visualize a relaxing experience, from either your memory or your imagination.
- Nonstrenuous, slow yoga-like exercises can relax your muscles and make you feel much calmer.
- Complete an anger management class or talk to a medical professional about your anger
Take an anger management class or get some counselling
The aim of counselling and anger management classes is to teach you to:
- Identify situations that are likely to set you off and respond in nonaggressive ways before you get angry
- Recognize when you aren’t thinking logically about a situation, and correct your thinking
- Learn specific skills to use in situations likely to trigger your anger
- Calm yourself down when you begin to feel upset
- Express your feelings and needs assertively (but not aggressively) in situations that make you feel angry
- Focus on problem-solving in frustrating situations — instead of using energy to be angry, you’ll learn how to redirect your energy to resolve the situation.
- Communicate effectively to defuse anger and resolve conflicts
Control your thinking
When you’re angry, your thinking can get exaggerated and irrational. Try replacing these kinds of thoughts with more useful, rational ones and you should find that this has an effect on the way you feel.
Develop a list of things to say to yourself before, during and after situations that may make you angry. It is more helpful if these things focus on how you are managing the situation rather than what other people should be doing. Psychologists call this type of thinking ‘self-talk’.
‘I’ll be able to handle this. It could be rough, but I have a plan.’
‘If I feel myself getting angry, I’ll know what to do.’
‘Stay calm, relax, and breathe easy.’
‘Stay calm, I’m OK, s/he’s not attacking me personally.’
‘I can look and act calm.’
‘I managed that well. I can do this. I’m getting better at this.’
‘I felt angry, but I didn’t lose my cool.’