Anger management is a psychotherapeutic process to control anger and its destructive manifestations. According to the American Psychological Association (APA), anger is an emotion characterized by antagonism toward someone or something you feel has deliberately done you wrong. Anger is a way to express negative feelings to motivate you to find solutions to problems. Anger — if channeled properly — can be good, but when left in its volatile and passionate state with no diffusing mechanisms or management strategies, anger can be destructive.
Related media: How To Control Your Anger (8 Anger Management Tips)
What Makes You Angry?
Failing to properly manage anger can lead to unintended utterances like cursing at your children, fighting with colleagues, and insulting your boss, sometimes even leading to physical violence and health problems. Learn to effectively manage your anger with these strategies.
Research has shown that cognitive-behavioral interventions are effective for improving anger management simply because if center around changing the way you think and behave. Your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors fuel your emotions or reduce them.
#1. Identify Your Triggers
If you are easily riled beyond control, start taking note of the things that irritate you. Triggers differ for everyone, it could be someone else’s choice of clothes, a dirty environment, tiredness, and loud noises, among others. Other people and your external environment are not entirely responsible for your anger. Knowing what triggers your anger can help you devise ways to handle such situations and keep your cool.
#2. Evaluate Your Anger
There is no doubt that anger can be positive, so before your anger escalates or diffuses a situation, assess it. Is it positive or negative anger coursing through you? If your anger is giving you the strength to leave a toxic relationship or environment that is definitely positive anger. Anger can be channeled positively to help fight injustice, advocate for better infrastructure, or social and political change. If your anger however is causing harm to yourself and others, then this is negative anger that needs to be managed.
#3. Take A Step Away
Passionate arguments and discussions have a very high potential of growing into a heated and intense exchange. When your anger is rising in such environments, it is always best to take a step back if you can. Time-outs can work for adults too, it helps calm your brain and body. If stepping away looks like you are accepting defeat or showing insubordination, explain why you are removing yourself from the situation. This way, the conflict can be resolved when all parties are much calmer.
#4. Explore Your Feelings
Anger is an emotion that is usually fueled by feelings of hurt and pain. Sometimes we must focus on the feeling behind the anger than the anger itself. Embarrassment, sadness, disappointment and tiredness can increase anger. If someone criticizes you publicly, the first feeling you immediately feel is embarrassment especially if it was undesirable. In defense of your honor it is almost obvious an attack fueled by embarrassment and expressed as anger will be your reaction.
Convincing yourself the other person is bad for criticizing you might make you feel better in that instance because it keeps the embarrassment at bay. But if you can acknowledge the underlying emotions beneath the anger, it will be easier to know what the root of your anger and take appropriate action.
#5. Get Physical (Not Physically Aggressive)
Instead of engaging in fisticuffs to showcase your prowess, engage in physical activities. Anger gives a rush of energy; it gives you this feeling of invincibility. Channel this energy into a jog or walk, working out can burn off any lingering tension. Regular exercise helps improve your mental health and mood. Exercising also help keep your thinking, learning and judgement skills sharp. It also reduces stress and can help improve your frustration tolerance.
After a hard workout, it is easier to tackle problems or causes of frustration that might lead to anger outbursts. You can now have a clearer perspective of the source of your irritation and deal with it appropriately. Managing your anger does not mean you will never get angry again. Anger management is learning how to identify, cope with and express your anger in a healthier and if possible a more productive way.
In this age and time people are easily irritated, the slightest provocation if not well contained can escalate into a full blown crisis. Social injustice in recent times has potential to enrage even a nation. Learn to manage your anger and channel it effectively.
If you know or practice any other anger management strategies or techniques, kindly share with us!
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Written by: Phoebe Addo, Wed, Apr 06, 2022.