Are you someone who quickly flies off the handle when you are cut off in traffic or encounter a rude person at the grocery store? If you feel like your blood is starting to boil when your child is misbehaving, then it might be helpful to implement anger management strategies.
It’s normal and healthy for everyone to experience anger. But when these emotions are difficult to control, they can affect your relationships and personal well-being.
The good news is that you can learn to manage your anger more effectively. First, recognize the signs when something is triggering you. Then be proactive in your efforts and practice these anger management tips:
Take a Breath Before Speaking
When something makes you feel angry or frustrated, it’s common to respond swiftly and firmly. In the heat of the moment, you might say or do things that you will later regret. Instead of letting yourself speak freely, take a breath so you can collect your thoughts before speaking. Not only does this give you time to evaluate your response, but it also provides other people to do the same.
Consider Your Tone of Voice While You’re Managing Your Anger
Just because you are discussing your anger doesn’t mean that you need to yell and scream. After taking a moment to help you calm down, then re-enter the conversation assertively. The goal is to discuss the situation in a nonconfrontational way. Share your opinion and needs directly, without trying to control or hurt other people.
Find Solutions to Your Problems
Often, anger is a response when you feel like a situation is out of control. Once you calm down enough to think logically, then look for steps you might take to solve the problem. Identify the root issue that is contributing to your anger. Then, look for ways to correct these issues fairly and kindly to everyone involved.
Hold the Belief That You Can Create New Anger Management Patterns
Do you identify as someone with anger management issues? As long as you hold this belief, your actions will continue lining up with how you are characterizing your behaviors. When you notice these thoughts coming up, redirect your beliefs to establish a new way of thinking. Affirmations or mantras can be powerful ways to reshape your opinions and create new patterns. Here are a few anger management affirmations you might consider:
- I can always relax and slow down in the moment
- I am in control of my emotions
- Stop and think before I speak
- I fill my heart with patience and love
- I am respectful in the way I express my emotions
- I choose peace, love, and kindness
- I deal with my feelings in a positive way
Work it Off
Stress is often an underlying driver that contributes to anger. If you are experiencing chronic stress that makes it challenging to control your emotions, then you need an outlet to manage the stress. For example, schedule regular exercise to burn off the energy before having a tough conversation with someone. Going for a run or walk gives you a healthy way to bring down your stress levels.
Utilize Mind Management and Anger Management Skills
Another way to reduce your stress levels is by setting aside time for relaxation. Listening to a guided meditation or focusing on breathwork helps reduce the body’s “fight or flight” responses. Try different types of relaxation to find the method that works best for your unique preferences. You might repeat an affirmation in your mind (such as “focus on your breath”) or imagine a relaxing scene.
Relax Your Muscles
When the anger is building, then you will notice physical symptoms in your body. Be aware when your hands are in fists, you’re clenching your jaw, or the shoulder muscles feel tense. Try using progressive muscle relaxation techniques to slow down the responses in your body. As the body relaxes, then the mind starts to clear. Use gentle stretching or soft movements to release the tension and reduce the physical strain you are experiencing.
Use “I” Statements
When anger is driving the conversation, it’s easy to slip into a pattern of blaming other people for the situation. Increase your awareness in the moment to see how many of your statements are “I” statements vs. “you” statements. For example, the reactive response is to tell someone, “You never help with the kid’s bedtime routine.” Instead, rephrase this comment by saying, “I would like some help when it’s time to put the kids to bed.”
Practice Gratitude While Learning About Anger Management
Changing your mindset can have an undeniable impact on how you are responding to yourself and other people. Implement a daily gratitude practice, so you are infusing more positivity and hope into your life. This practice only takes a few minutes a day. It’s a powerful way to shift your perspective and help you feel more optimistic about your circumstances.
Purge Your Emotions
When emotions are stuffed down over and over again, it becomes more difficult to manage yourself in challenging conversations. If you know that you are feeling angry or disappointed, then look for ways to work through these emotions in your personal time. Go for a drive and yell in the car. Punch a pillow. Write in a journal. Talk to a therapist. The goal is to find healthy ways to release the tension so you don’t overreact during a conversation.
Talk to a Professional about Anger Management
Talking to a therapist can be an excellent way for you to learn more about anger management and healthy coping skills. If you feel like your anger is out of control, then don’t be shy to ask for help. A proactive approach helps you gain more control over your emotions to avoid hurting others or saying things you will regret in the future.
What type of anger management support do you need? Our staff at Lifeworks Counseling Center uses personalized services and proven techniques to help each person find healthy ways of managing emotions. If you are ready to change your perspective, then we invite you to schedule an appointment to learn more.