Whether it’s because your little furball of a cat chewed on your $278 foot rest or your neighbour’s crazy midnight parties, you’ve probably lost your temper before. In this article, you’ll learn 10 tips on anger management to help you control your anger.
I use these tips so that my head doesn’t spontaneously combust from a mixture of my anger and frustration. Hopefully, they’ll help you out just as much as they do me.
1. Be aware of your situation
The first step towards change always begins with awareness. This means noticing even the slightest changes in your behaviour and attitude the moment that it occurs.
As soon as you become aware of the fact that you’re starting to get angry, you should be able to catch yourself and say something to sober yourself up like “Matthew, you’re heating up, watch yourself.”.
Use all of your senses and be completely aware of your surroundings. Be present in that very moment and just tune in to your senses. What does the air smell like? Right now, the air I’m breathing smells like the fresh scent of rain.
Were you about to lash out and punch a wall or smack a table? Do you feel your blood boiling like grandma’s freshly cooked chicken soup?
Dial your senses up to 10 and notice every detail you can. Once you do, you’ll be in a sort of hypersensitive state that lets you notice the tiny changes happening to your mood in real time.
2. Move your body
For centuries, we’ve known that exercise is essential to maintaining a healthy body and a flexible mind. In many cases exercise even does a better job at increasing the level of our general well being than most modern medicines out there.
Even short exercises like doing a couple dozen jumping jacks gets us to loosen up enough to relieve some of our tension. Exercising allows our brain to release different chemicals that improve the way our brain functions and develops.
When brain function improves, we’re much better equipped to handle our emotions and any sudden outbursts of anger.
“In a September 2014 study, Art Kramer and colleagues at the Beckman Institute at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign found that physical activity was linked to white matter integrity and improved cognitive function.” (Psychology Today – Christopher Bergland)
3.Take deep breaths
As cliche as it is, taking deep breaths really does help when it comes to dealing with your anger. By taking several deep breaths, we give the various systems that run our body a chance to recover and adjust.
In contrast, as we get angry, we start taking short and shallow breaths that only serve to fuel our angry state of mind.
“When we breathe in a shallow way, the body remains in a cyclical state of stress—our stress causing shallow breathing and our shallow breathing causing stress. This sets off the sympathetic nervous system, the branch of the autonomic nervous system that primes us for activity and response.
“Shallow breathing doesn’t just make stress a response, it makes stress a habit our bodies, and therefore, our minds, are locked into,” says John Luckovich, an apprentice Integrative Breathwork facilitator in Brooklyn, New York.” (Headspace – Rachael Rifkin)
My magic number is 2 deep breaths before I calm down enough to be able to think through my problem. Let me know in the comments below what your number is.
4. Address the issue
In most cases, anger comes from problems that need to be solved. Think of any time you’ve been mad or upset and you’ll notice that it’s linked to an issue that needs to be addressed.
For example: Yesterday, you could have been angry that there was a horde of mosquitoes flying around just outside your door. You get so emotionally charged because you want to go outside and just relax in the sun but the mosquitoes have ruined your plans. But then you get angry so you end up not going outside and just sat on the couch watching TV with a grumpy face until night time.
There could have been a simple solution to your mosquito problem but you let your anger get the best of you. All you had to do was make the mosquitoes disappear and your problem would have been solved.
So, what could you have done to address the issue?
Well, you could have put on some of the mosquito repellent you had laying around in a drawer or you could have run to the car and drove out to the shop to buy a bug zapper.
Those bug zappers could make short work of that hungry family of mosquitoes.
Once you resolve the issue, your anger will most likely disappear along with it.
5. Talk to someone you trust
If you can’t find any reasonable way to resolve an issue, ask someone you trust for advice.
When we get angry, our minds get so focused on our immediate problems and develop a sort of tunnel vision that makes everything else irrelevant.
In the heat of the moment, we say and do a lot of things that we end up regretting or, to put it plainly, we do a lot of stupid stuff. Getting advice from a valued person like a mentor, your spouse, or maybe a family member can be a great step towards figuring out how to handle your issue.
6. Yell at the top of your lungs
Many people say that yelling does nothing to improve the situation when it comes to anger. I disagree.
Don’t get me wrong, I definitely don’t mean that all forms of yelling are good. Misdirected yelling like when we yell at someone that’s irritating us is a big no-no. But, there are ways to yell in the right way that can quickly relieve your tension.
Some great ways to yell inclucde screaming into your your pillow, screaming out into the ocean, and screaming when there’s a rainstorm that’s so loud you can’t even hear your own voice.
I’ve gone through many occasions where all it took was one good yell and all the problems flew away. Gamers, I’m sure you know what I’m talking about.
7. Carry something that reminds you to be calm
Several years ago, I noticed that people often kept memorabilia like bracelets, rings, necklaces, anklets simply because of their sentimental value. This got me thinking that maybe I could use this method to my advantage.
If a wooden necklace can remind someone about those early morning breakfasts with their grandma, I can use something to remind me to be calm is what I thought.
After thinking things through even further, I found a nice bracelet that I used as a representation of my calm state of mind. After several months with the bracelet, I found that it did it’s job until it broke while I was out for a swim.
I thought about getting another item but decided not to since I wanted something more permanent and less fragile.
So, I went a step further and got a tattoo on my left inner forearm that I now look at whenever my emotions go out of control.
8. Entertain yourself with a hobby
When we’re bored, our minds wander. This leads to us wasting a lot of time.
We start wondering about things that don’t even concern us like whether that dress was really blue or gold. Then, after a few hours pass, we get mad at ourselves for wasting time thinking about silly things again.
Sit down and give yourself some time to catch up with your hobbies and just unwind. Hobbies are great for anger management because of how they let us get into our own space and just connect with our conscious (and sometimes our unconscious) mind.
Maybe all you need is some time kicking your feet up onto your coffee table and just reading a book while hugging your pet chinchilla. Go do it.
9. Hug someone you love
It’s been said that a hug a day keeps the doctor away. And, various studies have proved to support the old saying in some way.
Just like with exercise, our brains release different chemicals to improve our brain function when we give and receive hugs.
“Oxytocin is a chemical in our bodies that scientists sometimes call the “cuddle hormone.” This is because its levels rise when we hug, touch, or sit close to someone else. Oxytocin is associated with happiness and less stress.” (Healthline – Erica Cirino)
Think about it, have you ever seen a child that wasn’t happy to give their favourite person or toy a hug? I haven’t.
10. Consider consulting a professional
In some cases, self help may not be effective. Because of this, it’s important to consider consulting a professional.
Professionals have been trained in various disciplines and know many methods to effectively manage anger. They will work with you and guide you through all the milestones that come with handling your emotions.
No matter the situation, be open to professional guidance as it may be needed. Self help has its limitations.
After all, even though a fork is a great utensil to use for eating salad, you wouldn’t want to use one for your soup. Some situations just require different skill sets, no shame in that.
Professional assistance can be expensive depending on your area but consider it as an investment towards improving your living conditions. Don’t think of it as wasting your hard earned money.
Money is just a tool and you can always get more of it later.
If you found this article to be helpful, give us a share so that other people can read our tips as well.
Some of you may have gotten this far and aren’t even here for yourself but rather because you know someone who needs help with anger management. For that, you have my gratitude and respect. We all could use a great person like you in our lives.
To recap, those 10 tips on anger management were:
- Be aware of you situation
- Move your body
- Take deep breaths
- Address the issue
- Talk to someone you trust
- Yell at the top your lungs
- Carry something that reminds you to be calm
- Entertain yourself
- Hug someone you love
- Consider consulting a professional
Leave a comment below and let me know what you think about my tips on anger management.
Before you go, don’t forget to share this post to anyone you think would benefit from these tips.