Everybody gets angry now and again. But if you find that your anger just won’t let go… our Registered Psychologist (Provisional) Lana McAleer has some great techniques for you to try.
Tips for Coping with Anger
Anger, is an emotion we all feel from time to time. Often it is an appropriate response to a frustrating situation, or shows that we have reached our limit.
However, for some people anger may feel like an uninvited guest who sticks around long past its welcome.
If this is you, there are several different tips to try to help manage your anger more adaptively.
Keep an Anger Log
Following an incident of anger, it can be helpful to take a few minutes to write down what was happening before, during, and after the incident.
Before the incident, what were you feeling and what sort of thoughts were going through your head. It can be helpful to remember if you were tired, hungry, stressed, annoyed, etc. Looking at this can help you identify some of your triggers.
Write down what happened during the incident. Who was there and what was said and what behaviours occurred. Do you remember your thoughts and feelings during this time?
Lastly, think about how you felt, and acted following the incident. Did you go somewhere to cool down? Were you remorseful? Did you apologize?
Be Aware of Triggers
You may already be aware of some of the things that trigger your anger or having kept an anger log has helped you done so. By being aware of what triggers your anger, you can be better prepared in that situation, or can try to avoid that situation.
Know Your Warning Signs
Anger warning signs are the clues your body gives you that your anger is starting to grow. By learning the warning signs, you can learn to address your anger before it gets out of control. Some of the warning signs are: sweating, clenched fists, feeling hot or face turning red, raised voice, can’t get past a problem, becoming argumentative, headaches, aggressive body language
Practice Deep Breathing
Once you are experiencing the anger and you want to calm down, deep breathing can be a great option. Deep breathing is a relaxation technique that is used to help calm the body when it is feeling intense emotions, such as anger, anxiety, and frustration.
The great thing about this technique is that it’s not obvious to other people you are doing it and it can be done everywhere.
There are many variations of this technique, but one is to inhale through your nose for 4 seconds, hold that breath for 4 seconds, and then exhale through your mouth for 6 seconds like you are blowing out of a straw. It can be helpful to repeat this several times.
It can be helpful to buy yourself time, taking 30 minutes or so to step away from the source of your anger. By taking some time away, the chances increase that you will handle your anger in a healthy way. Remember you can still return to what is making you angry, and experience that emotion.
Some helpful diversions are:
Exercise – Going for a walk, playing a sport, go for a bicycle ride, do yard work, go swimming, go hiking in nature, lift weights, or going for a run
Doing an art or writing activity – draw or paint, take photographs, write or journal, do a craft, play an instrument, cook or bake
Other options – Watch a movie, play a game, read a book, call a friend, practice a hobby, play with a pet, listen to music, clean or organize, rearrange a room, or take a long bath
Take a Time-out
Sometimes it is necessary during the heat of your anger to step away and take a time out. This is particularly helpful when you are experiencing anger during an argument, and do not want to say something you’ll regret.
Once you have had a chance to calm down over 30 minutes to an hour, it may be beneficial to return to the discussion, as important issues should not be ignored.
Thanks, Lana. This is really helpful information.
Lana McAleer is a Registered Paychologist (Provisional). She works with Adults, Children and Youth and specializes in the following:
- Panic Attacks
- Mental Health Issues
- Self Esteem
- Self Confidence
- Self Compassion
- Communication Issues
- And many more areas
Book your appointment with LANA here.
Cheers to letting go of anger,