There are some human emotions that have earned quite a bad reputation. These include fear, shame, and anxiety. Anger, however, might be at the top of the list. As far as I know, no one is signing up for joy management but anger management? Yeah, it’s a thing and it’s often necessary.
Anger has some benefits and I’ll get to them very soon. But, when left unchecked and uncontrolled, anger can ruin lives. How then can you find ways to allow this normal emotion to do what it needs to do without becoming a problem? Let’s take a closer look at anger.
The Good Side of Anger
When used constructively, anger can literally save lives. It is part of our hard-wired response to danger. When our safety is threatened, anger plays a role in how we defend ourselves. It also:
- Motivates us: When something makes us mad, it has the power to get us working toward a solution.
- Gets the attention of others: In times of crisis, angry voices have always been what gets heard and get people mobilized.
- Increases our emotional intelligence: Like any emotion, anger should not merely be suppressed. Learning to face it and manage it is a powerful source of personal development.
The Bad Side of Anger
All of the above is neutralized when we allow anger to control us — instead of the reverse. Here are a few signs that your anger has become a problem:
- Anger has become your default way to express yourself
- It’s expressed in a manner that is destructive, mean, and counterproductive
- The people in your life are being affected in an negative way
- When anger negatively impacts your own physical and mental well-being
- Your relationships, friendships, career, and more have begun to suffer
This is where the aforementioned anger management becomes essential. In the meantime, however, there are steps you can take on your own to reduce and manage anger.
4 Tips to Reduce and Manage Anger
Identify Your Triggers
Half the battle is being aware of what sets you off. Knowing the people and situations that trigger you allows you to avoid them while doing other work to deal with your anger issues.
Understand Your Anger Pattern
Work on awareness of how your arousal level escalates when you’re getting angry. This empowers you to intervene sooner to de-escalate. “It came out of nowhere” is often not the case because the signs of escalation were probably there you just didn’t notice them. Concurrent with this effort, get into a regular self-care regimen. Your habits surrounding exercise, sleep, diet, and stress management can make you more resilient and less dependent on angry reactions.
Examine Your Beliefs and Expectations
You may have an unrealistic view of the world around you. When the actions of others do not conform to your perspective, it causes you to feel enraged and indignant. Keep a journal to track what thoughts, beliefs, and unreasonable expectations feed your anger. This list can motivate you to start reframing and changing your internal opinions in a way that lessens the chance of an angry response.
Create a Plan and Implement It
You’ve identified triggers and patterns. You’re also taking a closer look at your own role in this problem. It’s time now to make the most of this new knowledge. Some components to consider for your plan:
- How to react at the moment when stress provokes anger
- Developing relaxation techniques like deep breathing and meditation
- Reminding oneself to not engage in counterproductive thinking
- Focus on constructive communication and looking for win-win opportunities
While you do the admirable work of addressing your anger, I invite you to reach out. Let’s get you started with a free and confidential consultation. Regardless of where you’re at now, you can reduce and manage your anger.
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