In the words of Gautama Buddha, “Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burnt.” These words resonate with a profound meaning. Anger, like any other human emotion, is absolutely normal and there is nothing to be alarmed about. While for some, it is fleeting annoyance, there are others who experience anger as full-fledged rage. Problems arise when this normal human emotion gets beyond our control. Uncontrolled temper has the potential to harm not only ourselves, but also those close to us. This is why it is important to know effective ways for getting anger under control.
Not being able to control your anger may leave you with a helpless feeling. When angry, you may have the sudden urge to lash out anybody who comes in your way. While most people act out aggressively in anger, there are others who resort to self-harm. Both can have dangerous and harmful effects on you and your loved ones. When failing to get your anger under control, it may lead to problems at work, destroy interpersonal relationships and reduce the overall quality of your life.
Different people react to situations differently, and everyone has their own ways of getting anger under control. Though it may be tempting to vent anger by acting out in an aggressive manner, you should always try to channel your feelings without going for an altercation. There are some effective strategies that can help you manage anger much more positively, and without causing harm to yourself or others. Here are some effective ways for getting anger under control before it controls you.
A Guide to Getting Anger Under Control
Take a Break
Remember the method of counting to ten that you always ignore? Contrary to what most people think, counting to ten can be an effective way for getting anger under control.
When angry, try to ignore your first impulse, which is to snap. Before you react, take a moment and breathe deeply, while slowly counting to ten. Taking your mind off and engaging in a different task will help you calm down. The method may be more effective if you can get away from the person or situation that made you angry.
Express Your Feelings Once You are Calm
Anger makes us say and do things that we come to regret later. Choose not to become violent or malicious. Try and express your feelings only once are able to think clearly. You must choose assertive words to express your frustration and avoid being confrontational. Try and voice your needs and concerns directly and clearly, without trying to control others or hurting them.
Get Some Physical Exercise
Physical activity is extremely effective for getting anger under control. It is especially helpful when you are about to burst out. Go for a run or a brisk walk when you feel your anger intensifying. Doing some other form of exercise may also be helpful. Physical exercise helps your brain release various chemicals. These chemicals help you feel relaxed and happier.
Think Before Speaking
In the heat of the moment, we all have said things that we didn’t mean. Regardless of how true or false they were at the moment, the damage that was caused by those words cannot be undone. It is always better to think before speaking so you do not regret saying something hurtful. You should also allow the person to speak and give them enough time to think about what they are going to say.
Try to Identify a Solution
When angry, we usually focus on what made us angry. It does not help the situation. Instead, it makes it worse. You should always try to find a possible solution. Instead of getting angry over a situation, try and resolve the issue that is bothering you. For example, do you get angry when you see your child’s messy room? Shut the door. Does your partner come to dine late every night? Schedule dinner time accordingly or agree to have meals on your own, at times.
Choose to Use “I” Statements
It is quite easy to start blaming and criticizing when you are driven by your anger. Such behavior only increases the tension. You can try and use “I” statements when describing a problem. For example, you can choose to tell your disobeying child “I’m upset because you keep your room so dirty and untidy” instead of, “You never clean your room”. You can put your point across without resorting to an accusatory tone.
Do not Hold Grudges
It takes a lot to forgive. It is a powerful tool that can change your way of looking at things. Negative feelings and anger put our positive feelings in the backseat and cloud our judgment. You may start feeling like you are being swallowed up in your own bitterness.
On the other hand, being able to forgive someone who made you angry will not only help you in getting anger under control, it will also give you peace of mind. Realize that it is not possible for people to behave exactly the way you want.
Use Humor for Releasing Tension
Humor can help you in getting anger under control. Humor does not mean poking fun at others or being sarcastic. It may hurt people and make things much worse.
If these tips don’t seem to work in getting anger under control, and you are still unable to get your anger under control, anger management medication and anger management classes may help you deal with your emotions. These classes and programs are designed to help individuals understand their anger so that they can get it out of their system without causing mayhem.