In my previous post on anger I talked about how anger is just one of many emotions, and that it is actually healthy to be able to express, process and reflect on all of your emotions, including anger. With that said, here are five tips to help you manage your anger in a healthier way.
1. Remind yourself that anger is normal and is usually alerting us to something that is off. We have a tendency to classify emotions as “good” and “bad” but all emotions are normal and healthy. After all, you cannot really control how you feel, right? You can, however, control how you want to respond to emotions. It may be more helpful to classify anger as an “unpleasant” emotion and when you feel anger you can decide how you want to respond to this feeling. Anger often tells us that something is not right. We may feel hurt or taken advantage of or perhaps an injustice has been done. Anger is a signal that something is not right. Listen to this and try to respond in a healthy manner.
2. Let yourself feel the anger but say to yourself that this is an emotion. You may even say out loud “I’m feeling angry right now” and then try to think about why you are angry. This gives you some time to distance yourself from the immediate emotional response and think about the underlying reason for the anger. It also allows you to decide how you are going to respond. If you still feel like you want to do a certain action in response to anger after you have calmed down, then do it non-aggressively.
3. Try to evaluate how anger is affecting your relationships. Are you accomplishing good communication with anger? Are you achieving what you want? Anger can tell us about some things that need to change but if we are aggressive and impulsive in response to anger, it can damage our important relationships and cause people to stop trying to work with us. Being aggressive puts other people on the defensive and that is never helpful.
4. Be less judgmental of yourself and those around you. This is much easier said than done but with practice it becomes easier. Nobody is perfect and nobody is going to live their life just like you want them to, and you can’t be perfect either. Acknowledge your mistakes, learn from them, and move on. Allow others to do the same. Remember we are all trying to live our lives as best as possible.
5. Soothe yourself in a healthy way. While deep breaths do help immediately, also try to think about something that brings peace to your life. What makes you happy or content? Try to remember these things and engage with them. Maybe it’s the big stuff like your friends and family or it’s “smaller” things like a nice bath or a cup of coffee. Notice how pretty the sky is or how nice the wind feels. Listen to your favorite song. Just remind yourself that there is peace and beauty in the world.
It takes a huge amount of courage to be vulnerable and open up to the reason you are feeling angry, but the outcome is worth it. I would love to help you in this journey or if you need help processing any of your emotions. You can schedule an appointment easily here or by calling/texting me directly at 501-291-2631.