Anger Management: 5 Ways To Control Anger
Anger is a normal human emotion, but it is very important to express it in a healthy manner. Read on to learn more about some tips for managing anger.
Your anger and the way you express it can affect the well-being of others around you, as well as yourself. An article published in the Journal of Medicine and Life suggests that anger is associated with health risks such as coronary heart diseases, diabetes, and an increased chance of car accidents. Anger activates our fight or flight response, which triggers a release of hormones such as adrenaline, causes a rise in blood pressure, and makes our muscles tense.
Anger is not the same as aggression. While anger is a natural human emotion that can be healthy at times, depending on the context of the situation, aggression is a behaviour that is associated with hostility and violence. The way in which anger is processed and expressed is important, and it can become detrimental in excess and when out of control, negatively affecting one’s health and interpersonal relationships. According to Dr Shreya Chakravarty, Psychologist, Apollo Health City, Hyderabad, “Normal anger is an instinctive response to threat, whereas pathological anger is the behavioural outbursts which are out of proportion to the situation.”
Anger can vary in intensity, from annoyance to rage, and can be caused by many things, both external and internal. Problems in relationships or family life, financial issues, stress, and grief can all cause anger. Anger can also be a symptom of many mental health conditions such as depression, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and so on.
Tips To Manage Your Anger
1. Recognise your triggers: Learn to identify the most common things that turn your anger into rage so that they can be avoided. Dr. Chakravarty suggests, “Pay attention to the primary signs and signals which the body shows, like increased heart rate, a sudden rush of excitement or breathing speed when in anger. The next time you feel these symptoms, you can avoid anger by moving away from such situations as early as possible.”
2. Think before you speak: Heat-of-the-moment responses can be irrational and may cause harm without you actively intending to. Do not react immediately when you feel cross. According to Dr. Chakravarty, “Realistic and rational thinking helps in controlling anger. Avoid using extreme words. Instead of jumping into an argument, stop and listen to the conversation, weigh your response, and then reply.”
3. Address the problem: Instead of focusing on your emotion, attempt to address the problem at hand. Look for ways to handle and navigate the root of the conflict, and if possible, work on finding a solution. Being preoccupied with the same things that caused your anger makes the anger last longer, so try to move past those things.
4. Practise relaxation techniques: Adopt relaxation techniques such as deep breathing exercises, counting, and picturing a relaxing image. Dr. Chakravarty advises, “Slow and deep breathing helps to calm down anger. Releasing the tension of muscle through Progressive Muscle Relaxation also helps in reducing anger.” For Progressive Muscle Relaxation, sit or lie down, then slowly tense as you breathe in and quickly relax each muscle group in your body as you breathe out, one by one, moving from your toes to your head. Developing long-term habits such as meditation, yoga, and journaling, as well as regular exercise can also be helpful.
5. Seek help: If you feel that the way you express anger is out of control, consider seeking professional help. Guidance from mental health experts in a therapeutic setting can help you manage your anger better. According to a review published in Clinical Psychology: Science and Practice, which examined 92 adult anger treatment interventions, anger treatments showed significant improvement, with reductions in the expression of anger and aggressive behaviours, and increases in positive behaviours.