Anger management is never synonymous with giving up the emotion of anger or entirely deleting the emotion from one’s life situation. Rather, managing anger involves a systematic learning journey that aids us to recognize our triggers, cope with our feelings and express our anger in healthy ways. Anger management skills are inevitable to be pursued adequately because unchecked and untamed anger can automatically lead us to exhibit undesirable behaviours even in the subtlest way. Researchers have suggested many cognitive-behavioural techniques that would help individuals manage their anger. These cognitive-behavioural techniques help us to shift our thinking and understanding of our emotions, thereby, changing our behaviours.
Through this piece of writing, let us try and identify some strategies individuals can employ to manage their anger effectively.
1. Identify Triggers:
Trigger identification is one of the foremost steps that a person has to incorporate into one’s anger management plan. One should take stock
of the instances or circumstances that could evoke anger in them. This clarity in what causes anger in them would help them foresee any concerning situations in their day-to-day life. If they can anticipate the presence of any stimuli, they can try and ensure that they have equipped themselves adequately to meet the situation, with various calming and meditation techniques. This strategy would give individuals a structure, aiding them to manage their stress and anger better.
2. Recognize the Signs:
Apart from trigger identification, people should also be able to recognize the physical or emotional signs that may crop up as reactions to their day-to-day life situations. Some of these signs could be an increased heartbeat, flushed face, feelings of head throbbing etc. Identifying these signs correctly would provide people with an opportunity to take immediate action and ensure that their anger is adequately managed.
3. Talk through the Feelings:
Another suggested strategy to maintain one’s anger is to vent out and talk about one’s feelings to somebody one loves and trusts. This conversation can include aspects like what made them angry etc. But, sometimes talking about one’s cause of anger can make them even angrier and it is inevitable to check whether the person to whom one is venting their anger and is listening to their troubles, is in a mentally and emotionally well-state to listen to the venting to make this an effective process. Venting out feelings can be different for everyone, some may not find it comforting to vent out their cause of anger, while others would have to talk about the issue to make themselves calm. Hence, this strategy should be utilized carefully.
4. A Quick Workout:
Anger brings a rush of heavy energy into one’s body. This energy may mostly drive and mess up with the physiological effects of anger within
them. This extra heavy energy which may also translate into stress before being burst out as anger responses, can be effectively flushed out with a quick exercise. Regular exercises or even aerobic activities may help one to understand and control their frustration.
5. Distract Oneself:
When one feels flushed with anger within oneself, one of the best ways to understand and manage the same is to distract oneself with some other activity that can surely make one calm. Instead of telling oneself to shift their thoughts from their trigger of anger, shifting their entire course of action could turn out to be more effective. Taking a walk, listening to music, playing with one’s pet, gardening etc, could turn out to be helpful in such circumstances, however, only if they align with one’s interests.
6. Acknowledge the Right Emotion:
Anger often enters into one’s day-to-day life situations as almost a mask to the actual feelings. Feelings of embarrassment, envy jealousy, failure, inferiority etc, may all from time to time possess the potential to be manifested in the form of anger. This form of anger may not only be inflicting mental and emotional turmoil on the people surrounding the person but also surely inflict harm upon the person themselves. Comprehending and acknowledging the actual emotion underlying the manifested anger is essential in anger management. This can never be done along with episodes of lashing out rather can be achieved with the help of episodes of introspection. This introspection can be coupled with calming and breathing techniques to make the process more effective.
7. Breathing Techniques
The most widespread and commonly used techniques to manage anger are breathing techniques. The best part about these techniques is that they can be done very silently just at the click of a conscious decision to control anger and are proven to be very effective at their job.
8. Avoid Grudges
Forgiveness is always the key. Avoid holding grudges against people as this can elevate the anger episodes when they reach your doorstep and can inflict a great scale of harm in a relationship. Discussing the uncomfortable elements and sorting them out can help save the relationship from a great deal of damage.
9. Write it Down
Once an individual identifies a trigger and is certain that this situation is making them angry writing down the circumstance or noting it down in a journal would be an effective method to manage the anger they have experienced rather than lashing it out at the other person. Writing about the situation and its associated feelings would help clear those emotions from one’s head and would eventually make one feel better about the situation. This would help them think clearly and sort out a solution if a potential problem exists.
10. Seek Help if required
Anger management is a skill that can be learned by everyone. However, there may be individuals who may not find any of these strategies helpful and may find anger causing a huge amount of damage in their personal and interpersonal lives. Such individuals require professional guidance to see through things clearly and they, hence, should not hesitate to seek help from mental health professionals.
Books on Anger Management
- “The Anger Workbook: An Interactive Guide to Anger Management” by Les Carter and Frank Minirth
- “Anger: Wisdom for Cooling the Flames” by Thich Nhat Hanh
- “The Cow in the Parking Lot: A Zen Approach to Overcoming Anger” by Leonard Scheff and Susan Edmiston
- “Beyond Anger: A Guide for Men: How to Free Yourself from the Grip of Anger and Get More Out of Life” by Thomas J. Harbin