Today anger is one of the most prevalent emotional states. It is the primary fuel for our social, political, and economic landscapes. Anger as an emotional state has become one of our more commonly experienced feelings throughout our day to day life. Statistics show its prevalence is on the increase. This volatile emotion has led to more crime, relationship breakups, lost employment and depression than ever before in history. So why are we experiencing anger more and more as part of our daily lives? Many factors contribute to the inner rage we can feel, such as economic and social stress. One of the critical influencers of social anger is social media platforms. Every day millions of anger-wildfires are set alight by seemingly irrelevant situations, experiences, and opinions on social media platforms that have gone viral.
What makes us angry
People get angry for all sorts of reasons but generally because of the below reasons:
- We feel threatened or attacked
- We feel frustrated or powerless
- We feel like we’re being invalidated or treated unfairly
- We feel like people are not respecting our feelings or possessions
- We see others getting what we want
Each of the above reasons can carry some, or a lot, of neuroses. For example, a person may feel superior, and when they are offered some helpful, healthy criticism, they explode because someone has challenged their grandiose self. Or we may have an excessive amount of self-pity, believing the world has got it in for us and therefore feel like we are being mistreated. In perceiving any of the above anger causes, whether real or imagined, we can react angrily. Some of us can go into a destructive rage and cause personal, relationship, and social harm.
Is anger negative?
Anger always gets a bad rap as an emotion and is usually linked to disruptiveness and aggressiveness. Possibly from social and cultural aspects, anger has mainly been repressed as an emotion. No government wants angry people, as they are harder to manage and control. As one of the more powerful emotions, anger can be a great asset allowing individuals to access an energy source that can enable them to achieve changes and goals that require a strong drive to attain.
Here are just a few positive attributes of anger:
Anger is a motivating force – anger can be used as a driving force to achieve personal and survival goals.
Healthy Anger can benefit relationships – expressing healthy anger within a relationship may cause some immediate discomfort, but through adult expression, it can promote long term health by adjustments made.
Anger provides insight – by analysing why we are angry, we can gain helpful insight into our triggers that can lead to a positive change in ourselves.
Anger can reduce violence – now, this may sound insane as angry outbursts cause most violence. However, if reacted to healthily, anger can encourage negotiation, agreement, and remedy in nearly all situations.
19 Powerful Anger Management Techniques
If you feel anger is an issue for you, and you would like to know some potent ways to handle and manage and express anger healthily, then the below eighteen techniques will help. If you apply just some of the tried and tested anger management steps below, you will find you can handle and express your anger in a manageable way that can be heard and acted upon by yourself and anybody else.
- Think before you speak – try to formulate what you want to express and how you are going to do this to meet your needs best. Think about the other person and how they might hear what you are saying.
- Once you’re calm, express your anger – wait till your calm before you express your anger. In doing this, you can avoid making the situation even worse. This is a potent way to express anger healthily and reach a solution for the cause of your anger.
- Exercise regularly – by exercising regularly; you can reduce stress, which is a common cause of anger. Studies show that regular exercise helps with the reduction in anger emotion.
- Take a timeout – taking time out when you get angry is an excellent way to take the damaging sting out of anger. Time out helps avoid angry outbursts that can cause harm to you and others. Going to a personal space such as your room, garage, or outdoors is a great way to take time out before healthily expressing your anger.
- Identify possible solutions – use the anger you feel to look for answers to why you are angry. The feeling in itself is telling you something is wrong. Using it as a tool for self analyses, you can attain healthy change and remedies that would not be available by a sudden angry outburst.
- Stick with ‘I’ statements – when discussing the cause of your anger, always use ‘I’ instead of ‘You.’ In doing this, you will own how you feel about what has made you angry. Simultaneously, in using the ‘I,’ you will not be causing the other person/people to become defensive and react angrily back, making the other person/people less able to hear and respond to your needs healthily.
- Don’t hold a grudge – when we have a grudge against someone, it is called a resentment (resentment means to re-feel). When we are resentful, it is like drinking poison hoping that the other person becomes sick. Grudges are little pockets of anger waiting for release. The more resentments we have, the easier it becomes to disproportionately blow up over any little thing.
- Use humour to release tension – humour is an excellent diffuser of anger and can cut through most anger outbursts like a knife through hot butter. Using funny or humorous sarcasm to express anger can be a good way of achieving a quick solution to the underlying cause of our disturbance and avoiding harmful escalation.
- Practice relaxation skills – regularly practicing relaxation skills such as breathing techniques and body mindfulness can reduce our quick-to-anger reaction in everyday life. If we become angry, employing our relaxation techniques can reduce the red flashes down to a manageable state. Relaxation techniques and practices are a great way to manage destructive and unhealthy anger.
- Know when to seek help – identifying when to seek help is crucial in avoiding the harmful effects of destructive anger towards yourself, others, and society. Getting help when you are struggling with anger is a healthy thing to do at any time. A doctor can help you manage your anger, diagnose any condition linked to it, such as IED (Intermittent Explosive Disorder), and support you in your recovery.
- Count To 100 – some people say count to 10, but having a calming effect practicing counting to 100 before you express your anger gives you time to calm down, analyse why you are angry, and develop a good communication strategy.
- Go for a walk – a sure-fire way to manage your anger is to go for a walk when you feel angry. If you go for a walk when you feel your anger rising, you will avoid the harmful effects of a destructive angry outburst. Walking will help you calm down and see what the underlying cause of your anger is. As you calm down, you can formulate what you need to express without the red-mist confusing the situation.
- Repeat a mantra – don’t underestimate the power of this anger management technique. Studies show that repeating a mantra can calm and focus the mind. When you feel yourself getting angry, start repeating the mantra in your mind to relax and focus your being. Using a mantra will let you express your feelings but in a more controlled way. Repeat the mantra ‘Let It Go’ to yourself or ‘The Peace Within Me Cannot Be Disturbed’ say this mantra many times throughout the day, so when you start getting disturbed, you mind recognising the mantra.
- Play some tunes – putting on some music is a perfect way to diffuse any red-mist and invite a different emotional mood into your being. Music can instantly change the way you feel; studies and research have shown that music can elevate your mood and reduce stress and anxiety. This technique is fast-acting and works well with uplifting or sad music. It will allow you to get some space between you and your angry feelings, reducing them to a more manageable level.
- Stop talking – by stopping talking, you can give yourself time to calm down. Similar to the counting technique practicing holding your tongue can help avoid unwanted angry outbursts and harshly spoken words.
- Write in a journal – daily journal writing can provide an emotional buffer between you and your anger. Writing in a journal about your feelings and experiences can improve your mood, mental health, and overall wellbeing. Because of this effect, journal writing for anger management will allow you to experience angry feelings on a more manageable level.
- Rehearse your response – by rehearsing what you want to express, you will do a few things that will protect you and others from an angry-outburst. Firstly, rehearsing what you want to say will help you reduce the red mist by giving you some time to calm down as you think. Secondly, by focusing your mind on what you want to get across to the other person/people, you will develop detachment from the rising emotions. Thirdly, you will better communicate your feelings and needs, getting a better chance at being heard, and finding a solution.
- Talk to a friend – a brilliant way to diffuse high emotive states is by talking to a friend about how you feel and why. In talking with a friend, you can better understand and get a saner outlook of the whole situation. The act of sharing how you feel will also allow you to calm down and provide unseen solutions to the cause of your anger, plus it will guide you on methods of communications to the person/people that made you angry in the first place.
- Practice gratitude – practicing gratitude throughout the day will drastically reduce the risk of becoming angry. The old saying a ‘grateful person is a happy person’ is so true. It’s hard to be angry or upset when you are feeling grateful. Making a nightly and morning gratitude list can go a long way to getting your mind into a state of gratitude. In addition to creating gratitude-lists, you can also practice a gratitude mantra throughout the day, which keeps your mind focused on what is good in your life.
A prolonged state of anger eats away at the soul, decreasing the individual’s contentment and peace of mind. For more solutions to becoming anger-free, check out the various mental wellbeing topics here…