What’s the key to effective anger management?

Here’s how to tame your temper.

17 April, 2024
What’s the key to effective anger management?

Anger is a natural emotion. However, if not managed properly, it can become a problem as it can take a toll on both, your personal and professional life. While it is a common emotion, managing your anger is important to maintain healthy relationships, reduce stress, and improve your mental and emotional health. In order to control your anger—and keep it from controlling you—you must recognise your triggers, practise relaxation techniques, and improve your communication skills.

The need to manage your anger

Like any emotion, your anger too, has a range—going from mild to intense. When you’re not in control of your anger, you could end up being aggressive, saying things you will regret, hurting someone (physically and/or emotionally) or worse, destroying property by resorting to violence. 

Instead of channelling your anger externally, try to contain it and see how it impacts your health and well-being. If you find yourself getting angry too often—with the intensity being much more than you can take—it might be time to work on anger management. You must remember that although it might be difficult to eliminate the things or avoid the people that anger you, you can, however, try to control your reactions through anger management. 

Here’s what you got to do

Is your anger helpful or not?

As previously mentioned, getting angry can be both, good and bad. If you see someone being mistreated or find yourself in an unhealthy situation, your anger is justified, and a healthy reaction. On the other hand, if your behaviour is wrecking your relationships, your anger issues are going to be detrimental. So try and avoid spiralling and getting out of control; instead, work towards keeping your emotions in check and always stay calm. 

Find your triggers 

Is it people coming late? Is it because you’re stuck in traffic? Are you hangry? Understanding your triggers can help you manage your anger and the situation better. While you might get angry in an instant, there are warning signs that you can look out for (clenching fists, faster heartbeat); knowing them will help prevent your anger from turning into rage, and will present you with an opportunity to take over the situation and prevent it from becoming a bigger problem.

Relax and take a deep breath

Despite the many anger management exercises, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach that does the trick. It’s important to find what works best for you. Deep breathing, counting to 10, thinking about a relaxing scene, repeating a calm word or phrase, listening to soothing music, journaling—do whatever it is that helps you feel relaxed. The change won’t happen overnight and there’s a good chance (due to your impatience and anger) that you feel that these remedies aren’t effective. Practice makes perfect and that’s what you’re supposed to do. In no time will they become your go-to strategies for anger management.

Thinking before you speak and what to do after

When you’re angry, it’s easy to say something you will regret later, which is why you need to pause and compose your thoughts before you say anything. This doesn’t mean you’re deflecting or ignoring the matter at hand; it simply means you’re working on your anger. Doing so will help you reach a conclusion and resolve the conflict. Moreover, the calm that you feel will give you the clarity to express your thoughts in an assertive and non-confrontational way. 

Learn to forgive

Holding grudges won’t take you anywhere. Instead of being bitter and feeling like you got the shorter end of the stick, forgive the person who angered you. This will help you both, learn from the situation and strengthen your relationship with them. 

What you shouldn’t do

Many think that venting or going on a rant session will diminish your anger and feelings of disappointment, which might not always be true. The thing with venting is that it’s a conversation that doesn’t offer solutions and that could increase your anger levels because you’re expressing your aggravation. Also, who you speak to is important. If you have to vent, do it with someone who helps you feel calm rather than someone who only adds fuel to the fire. 

Learning to manage your anger doesn’t mean that you’ll never get angry. You’ll just be in a better position to recognise and deal with your anger and express it in a healthy manner. By changing what you’re thinking about and what you’re going to do when you’re angry, you’re reducing the fuel that ignites the fire in you and makes you angry. 

Inputs by Honey Gudh, certified life coach and co-founder of Cocoweave Coaching International, New Delhi

Image credit: alexandramirghes | Unsplashed

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