Anger can be an all-consuming emotion. Being hurt, betrayed, rejected or criticised can trigger a wave of negative emotions to wash over us, one of those being anger. Anger isn't a useful emotion by any stretch of the imagination. It drains your energy, robs you of joy and can be damaging to you health if you let it go on for too long.
Anger can ruin relationships, make loved ones fear us, hold us back from new opportunities and can prevent us from maintaining healthy, loving relationships with those we care about. It's a dark and potentially dangerous emotion that needs to be managed if you want to live a peaceful and happy life.
Uncontrolled anger can also lead us down a self-destructive and dangerous path. If we're unable to keep our anger in check we run the risk of making poor decisions and endangering the safety of ourselves and those around us. Fits of rage bought on by anger can lead us to doing things that have the potential to destroy our lives, and the lives of other people forever.
The first step to overcoming anger issues is to understand that it isn't something that happens to us, it's something that we do to ourselves. We have the capacity to choose our actions and so while we might be in the habit of letting anger control us right now, we are able to take back control if we want to.
Before reading through the following tips, make a commitment to yourself to change your ways, starting right now. Make this moment the moment that you choose to be someone who doesn't let their anger control them. Understand that managing your anger isn't going to be an easy road and there will be times where you struggle, but that you owe it to yourself and the people you care about to do this.
1. When you're in a situation that upsets you and you feel the wave of rage begin to wash over you, stop and count to ten. Although this can seem like a childish suggestion, know that these ten seconds could be the difference between you following through with a knee-jerk reaction that could do irreversible damage, and you reacting in a controlled and productive way.
This ten second gap shifts your focus and prevents you from saying or doing something that could hurt yourself or someone else. It gives you a small space of time to control your reaction and this could make all the difference.
2. Focus on your breathing during times where your negative emotions are at an all-time high. Slow your breathing down, inhale and exhale deeply and try to shift your focus to the breaths going in and out through your nose.
This simple breathing technique can help you to eliminate the build up of anger festering inside of you and bring about a sense of calm. Maintaining focus on your breathing will take some of your attention away from the situation at hand and will allow you to react in a far more calm and controlled way.
3. Don't make anger control a priority only during times where you're upset, make it a priority every day. On the days when you're feeling happy and everything is going well in your life, remind yourself of how good you feel without anger. Maintain this image of your happy self in your mind at all times and strive to be that person as often as possible.
4. Avoid putting yourself in situations that make you angry. We can't avoid all negative situations in life such as bad drivers, rude people or difficult co-workers, but we can avoid putting ourselves into situations where we know there's going to be negativity and conflict.
Perhaps you've got toxic people in your life who are constantly having a negative impact on how you feel, or you're in a relationship with someone who consistently hurts you. These situations do you more harm than good by bringing unnecessary pain, hurt and anger into your life. Reduce the amount of time you spend with these people or reconsider your need to have them in your life. If they are a constant source of your anger, it's time to re-evaluate whether or not they should be in your life at all.
5. Talk about what's going on with someone. It's so easy for us to keep our negative emotions to ourselves, allowing anger to brew. By holding it all inside, you find yourself at breaking point sooner or later, and once you reach that point, it's much harder for you to control your emotions.
Be proactive in relieving your stress rather than bottling it up, so that you don't get to the point of it boiling over. Venting to other people can bring about a huge release of tension and can help you maintain a more balanced sense of wellbeing.
6. Choose healthy ways to let off steam. People who struggle with anger issues often turn to drugs or alcohol to help them cope. While they might feel as though this is helping them to relax and remain calm, these substances can have an extremely detrimental affect.
Aside from the health issues associated with drug and excessive alcohol consumption, mixing substances with anger can lead to episodes of drug or alcohol induced rage. Drugs and alcohol can impair your ability to maintain control and can actually exacerbate your emotions.
It's important to find healthier ways to work through difficult emotions. Do something creative, become a regular at the gym, take up a new hobby, build something, take up running, practice mindfulness or head out on a hike. Do whatever it is that allows you to release negative energy on a regular basis.
7. Acknowledge that negative experiences are inevitable. Everyone feels hurt, angry and upset at various points in their lives. Negative experiences are an unavoidable part of life but it's how we react to them that counts. Accepting that you're going to have to face difficult circumstances countless times throughout your life should be a great motivator for you to want to master the art of self-control.
8. Try to lighten up and avoid taking everything so seriously. When something small angers you, look at the situation constructively. Does this thing really matter in the grand scheme of things? Are you wasting energy and happiness by reacting to this thing?
9. Make a commitment to yourself to react to negative situations in a meaningful way. When you come across a negative situation, remind yourself that this is your opportunity to do better. Remind yourself that this is a chance for you to put what you know into practice and react to the situation in a cool, calm and collected way. Seeing these difficult circumstances as a chance for you to grow can significantly impact how you react to them.
10. Accept that you cannot control everything in life but you can control you. You can't control all of the events you find yourself in, you can't control other people's actions and you can't control a lot of what life throws at you. However, what you do have the power over is whether or not you let these things control your thoughts, feelings and behaviours.
11. Surround yourself with positive people who encourage, support and motivate you to be a better person. Choose to look at the bright side of things. Re-train your brain to think positively as much as possible. Look for silver linings in every challenging situation you find yourself in.
Surrounding yourself with positivity and making it part of your everyday life will significantly improve your mindset which will help you to combat your anger more effectively.
12. Distract yourself when you are feeling angry. Take a walk, listen to music, watch a funny tv show, shift your attention away from the negative situation for a while. This will help calm you down and give you the chance to figure out how you want to handle things before taking any action.
13. Learn to be more patient. Patience is the key to self-control and will give you the strength you need to prevent yourself from being controlled by your anger.
14. Use humour as a way to keep your anger at bay. Indulge in your favourite comedies, hang out with your funny friends more often and belly laugh at hilarious situations you've been in before. Laughing doesn't just distract you from the anger you are feeling, regular laughing can help to reduce stress levels.
Letting anger take hold of you almost never leads to a positive outcome. It pushes you into making poor decisions, it has a detrimental effect on your relationships and makes life a lot more difficult than it needs to be.
If you're struggling with anger, make self-control a part of your daily routine and work on managing your stress in more positive ways. Learning to effectively control your anger takes a long term commitment and a lot of hard work but the rewards make it all tremendously worthwhile.
If your anger leaves you at risk of harming yourself or those around you, talk to someone today. Seeking professional help for your anger issues isn't a sign of weakness, it's a way of you showing yourself and those you care about how committed you are to bettering yourself.