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How To Deal With Anger: 7 Tips to Help You Get Calmer

As difficult as it is, anger is a normal part of life. Like most emotions, it is neither good nor bad and alerts your body to respond to a particular situation. The problem becomes if your reaction is to explode with anger to the point of harming yourself or others. The sad reality is that, as much as feel the need to vent our anger, it is likely to have a more negative impact on people’s perception of you, impair your judgement, and get in the way.

Not only can anger flare ups affect your personal life, but also your physical and mental health, career, and relationships. High levels of anger and stress can lead to heart disease, a weakened immune system, insomnia, and high blood pressure. All of these health issues can have serious, long term implications. Your mental health suffers when your mind is clouded by feelings of anger, leading to depression, stress, and other issues. In your career, constructive criticism and creative differences are bound to happen. If you lash out, it can create tension and they could have a hard time respecting and trusting you. In relationships, anger can cause lasting problems that make it hard for people to trust you, speak with you, or feel comfortable. This is especially true with children. Being able to control your anger is crucial to living an all around healthier lifestyle.

Anger management techniques can be very helpful in controlling anger and learning how to deal with it. The goal is to understand the emotion and express it in a healthy way without losing control. This is not an immediate process and takes conscious effort, but the more you practice, the easier it will become. The payoff is huge. 

Here are 7 Tips to Help You Control Anger and Express it in Healthier, More Effective Ways:

1. Understand your anger

Sometimes we get into arguments over small things, but there is usually something larger behind it. Is your anger masking a larger insecurity or vulnerability? Take note of your triggers and work to understand them. You need to look to the real source of your anger to help you communicate better and work towards a resolution.

2. Evaluate your anger

Before reacting too strongly, try to identify if your anger is good or bad. If you are witnessing a situation that is unhealthy or violent, your anger could be helpful! In that event, you should proceed by changing the situation instead of your emotional state. Although, in other instances, your anger could be a warning sign that something needs to change (such as an emotionally abusive relationship or toxic friendship).

3. Notice warning signs

Your body knows the physical warning signs when your anger is becoming too much. Here are some signs to look out for:

  • Knots in your stomach
  •  Clenching your hands or jaw
  • Feeling clammy or flushed
  • Breathing faster
  • Headaches
  • Pacing or needing to walk around
  • Seeing red
  • Having trouble concentrating
  • Pounding heart
  • Tensing your shoulders

4. Learn ways to calm down quickly

Sometimes, the best thing to do when you feel angry is find a distraction. Once you recognize that your temper is rising, it is important to cool yourself down before it is too late. There are several ways to calm yourself down in these situations, including:

  • Count down starting from 100
  • Take slow, deep breaths
  • Go for a walk
  •  Repeat a mantra
  •  Stretch
  •  Play music

5. Find healthier ways to express your anger

If this situation is unavoidable and anger is inevitable, the goal is to be able to express your feelings in the healthiest way possible. Resolving conflict in positive ways is essential. You could try:

● Fighting fair
When we are upset it is easy to let that blind us. Making sure that you are on equal footing with the person you are angry with and respecting them is crucial.

● Making the relationship your priority
Focus on maintaining the relationship rather than winning the argument. It is way more important in the long run.

● Focusing on the present
Try your best not to put past grievances into the present situation.
Focus on what you can do right now to solve the problem.

● Be willing to forgive
This is difficult for some people, but resist the urge to “punish” the person and be open to taking the higher road of forgiveness.

● Taking a break from the situation
If things get too heated, go for a walk or otherwise remove yourself from the situation to cool down.

● Knowing when to let go
If there is no agreement in sight, agree to disagree. This argument cannot last forever and if it is going nowhere, choose to disengage and move on.

6. Take care of yourself

This anger can come from not feeling great about yourself or not doing enough to keep yourself otherwise healthy. You should manage your stress as much as possible so you can feel calmer and more in control of your emotions. The importance of exercise and sleep is not unnoticed here and can severely affect your mood and behavior. Most importantly, being smart about your drug and alcohol intake. Both can lower inhibitions and make it harder to control anger. If you are taking proper care of yourself, you are more in control of your emotions and are less likely to lash out in stressful situations.

7. Talk to a friend

This may seem obvious, but your friends are always there for you. If there is one who has a particularly calming effect on you, that person is a good one to go to. However, venting can sometimes backfire. Be sure not to say anything that would add fuel to the fire or upset the other person in the process. Talking to a friend is a way to work through a problem and reduce anger, not just vent. As much as possible, do not use them as a sound board but rather a resource to move past the anger or distract yourself all together.

If you Feel Like you are out of Control, Seek Professional Help

If you think that your anger is causing problems in your personal life and you feel as though you are still struggling, you may need professional help.

A variety of mental health problems manifest themselves through aggressive outburst (PTSD, depressive disorders, etc). It is very important to talk to your physician about your feelings and behavior so that they can be sure you do not have any underlying physical health issues contributing to the problem. Your doctor could then refer you to a mental health professional, if deemed necessary. While aggressive behaviors can meet your short term needs, there are very real long-term consequences. Do not risk damaging your relationships and career when there are so many healthy strategies and programs out there. If any of this resonates with you, talk to someone. There are many resources available to get you the individualized help you need.

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