10 Steps to Anger Management

When someone cuts you off on the freeway, do you give in to your rage? Do you burst out in anger when your child misbehaves?

Anger is a very natural emotion. However, learning to deal with your anger in a positive manner is important, both for your well-being and that of others who are near and dear to you. When you cannot control your temper, you and everyone around you suffer the consequences.

If you struggle with anger management, the good news is: it doesn’t have to be this way! You don’t have to fall victim to an uncontrollable temper. There are anger management techniques that will help you change the way you express this emotion.

These strategies can help you manage your anger in positive ways:

  • Give yourself a time out. Counting to ten before you speak or act gives you a chance to think first. Take a deep breath or two while you count to ten; this action helps relax your tense muscles and sends a burst of oxygen to your brain for clarity of thought.
    • Removing yourself altogether from the situation gives you more time to calm down and further reduces the risk of an angry outburst. You can return once you’re able to discuss the issue peacefully.
  • Take some personal space. When the very presence of a specific person makes your blood boil, stay away from them until your frustration dies down. Use the opportunity away from them to work through your feelings and seek a positive solution to your challenge with them.
  • After you’re calm, express yourself. It’s healthy to express your feelings, even feelings of anger, as long as you do it in a peaceful, positive, and non-confrontational way.
    • Discussing your feelings with the person who upsets you often helps both of you understand each other better so you can work out your issues.
    • Stewing about what is bothering you can make the whole situation worse.
  • Exercise. Strenuous physical activity is an incredible way to release your anger, especially if you feel you’re at the breaking point. Exercising also releases endorphins, the “feel good” hormones, which will help you feel more at peace.
    • Lifting weights, running, and playing sports are great ways to blow off some steam.
  • Think it through before you tackle the issue. When you’re angry, you’re more likely to say something hurtful that you don’t really mean.
  • Write down what you want to say so you can work through the issue at hand; when your temper is flaring, it’s easy to get sidetracked.
  • Find a win-win solution. Instead of focusing on what someone did to make you angry, work with him or her to resolve the issue. Finding a solution that you both agree on will allow you to feel satisfied.
  • Use personal statements when discussing the issue. Avoid criticizing or placing blame.
    • Use statements like, “It makes me feel angry and upset when you don’t help me with the housework,” instead of “You never help me,” which could make that person angry or resentful in return.
  • Avoid holding a grudge. Maintaining resentment toward someone only hurts you. Let it go, put it in the past, and move forward with your life.
    • It’s unreasonable to expect everyone to act the way you want them to. Rather than letting someone continue to irritate you with their mannerisms, find a way to accept or look past them.
  • Use humor. Lighten up the situation by saying or doing something genuinely funny. Once you both have a good laugh, it’s easier to find a resolution together.
    • When being humorous, avoid sarcasm as it can hurt and make things worse.
  • Practice relaxation techniques. Skills like deep breathing and picturing a relaxing scene can help defuse your temper when you feel it start to boil.
    • Listening to music and practicing Yoga are also great stress relievers.

If you feel that your anger is still out of control after using these strategies, you may benefit from some extra help, such as:

  • Reading further books on anger management.
  • Seeing a licensed therapist or counselor.
  • Attending anger management classes or support groups where others discuss ways to cope with their anger.

No matter how severe your anger may be, these tips and techniques can help you control your temper, rather than letting it control you. Free yourself from anger and find greater joy in your life today!

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