Learning to manage and channel emotional outbursts is essential to move on in life without getting hurt! Anger is a common emotion that surfaces pretty quickly lashes out to create the damage, and vanishes either in an instant or simmers for a while before dying down. The most important thing to note is that anger takes a toll on you and on the person at the receiving end.
While anger does cause a spike in blood pressure and stress levels, it also triggers an entire gamut of negative reactions physically and emotionally that greatly affect an individual’s behavior and composure. An angry person most likely will lose patience, raise his /her voice or even indulge in violent action causing damage to property or injuring people or simply go quiet.
Anger management is not about not getting angry or bottling up anger, but to refine your reaction to anger and channelize the emotion towards better pursuits. It is however important to first identify and understand events / things that trigger your anger for you to address them suitably.
There are several tried and tested techniques and tips that have proven quite effective to tackle anger, including Cognitive Behavior Therapy that focuses on remedying behavioral issues.
Once you feel yourself getting angry you could:
Countdown to Calm Yourself
Give yourself some time to calm your temper. Counting up to 10 or even 100 and then down again to 0 if you should need the time allows you to get your nerves together and ready to face the situation. Try and minimize any explicit expression of anger in the meanwhile, be it a frown on your face or clenched knuckles. This is by no means an easy task as you need to put yourself through several trying situations to master the technique.
Repeat a Slogan / Mantra
If numbers aren’t helpful, pick up your favorite quote or slogan and simply repeat it like a mantra. If you are comfortable with the repeating mantra, feel free to do so if it can help curb your anger. Remember that you must internally pacify your anger and the resulting urge to react, staying right in the midst of the situation and/or among people who may be the very cause of your anger. You may even choose to speak to yourself, slowly talking yourself away from impulse reactions to anger. Tell yourself that it is okay to get angry, but avoid extreme reactions.
Leave the Scene
It is understandable that not all of us have the luxury of escaping from heated conversations, review meetings, negotiations, arguments or other situations that ideally trigger anger. If possible, getting away from the sensitive environment very often helps to calm you down and in fact enables you to even think more clearly and probably in a logical manner, as emotions and their physical impact on your system get out of the way.
Stretch and Move Around
Relaxing your body can help relieve the tension built up when you get angry. Stretching out arms and legs, massaging your neck and collar areas, getting up from your seat and moving around the office, a walk to the pantry for a coffee break or a stroll in your home garden or porch area are some common actions that can ease out some of the stiffness often associated with anger.
Vent Your Anger
The best way to counter anger is to express it without bottling up all the negativity. If you are alone you are free to speak yourself, a shout or sob too should be fine as long as you don’t get violent and break things or harm yourself. Confiding in a close friend or family member who understands you well will prove to be a great relief and help you cool off!
Switch Focus / Get Creative
Yet another quick and probably better option to tide over anger is to distract yourself away from the issue that angers you. While you will have to deal with the challenging situation, later on, you can calm down a little and relax by shifting your focus to a simpler, preferable an enjoyable task.
Listening to music, reading humorous or light articles or jokes, one round of your favorite game, watching your favorite television show, playing with your child, creating something new – writing a blog post, painting, or even cooking a new recipe can make a great difference, when you are mad at /with something.
Get Into Action
Another great way to overcome anger is to take appropriate action to remedy the situation that is bothering you. Instead of delegating the job or instructing someone else to complete, check what you can do to resolve the problem. If you are knowledgeable and have the necessary experience to the task yourself, go ahead and complete the pending task to your satisfaction.
Express Your Opinion
If you are angry but are not really wild /raging, simply pull yourself up and express your anger in clear yet strong verbal or written communications. Voice your dissatisfaction or dissent suitably so that your opinion gets heard and doesn’t get dismissed as rambling.
You will, however, need to be calm and composed enough to take decisions or continue a rational conversation or negotiation.
Step in Your Adversary’s Shoes
When confronted with a problem, the most difficult yet important thing to do is to understand your adversary’s perspective. For instance, indefinite delays in work or protests for pay hike though likely to get on the nerves of managers, it is important that they try to look at the problem from the point of the employee or laborer. Anger is bound to cloud clear and rational thought, and will not permit you to resolve any problem amicably as you will not be interested in hearing out your adversary.
Take time to listen to people, understand what is it that triggers your anger, and tackle the situation immediately if you are calm and confident enough to address the problem, else request for more time and get away from the spot so that you can get your temper in control and come up with a suitable action plan.
If you find yourself unable to control your temper or if you tend to react or behave violently when angry, it is time to seek the services of a psychotherapist. Professional treatment can help you manage anger without causing any harm to yourself and those around you!