Being able to manage anger is a skill that people are either good at or terrible at. How we vent is entirely up to us, but I know there are people who do all kinds of things to manage anger.
Others manage anger constructively using the methods I mention below. That or they complain to other people.
But others are more destructive. Some will smash or throw things. And others will physically or emotionally abuse people.
Regardless, if we want to manage anger we must admit how we manage it could be better. In fact, how we currently manage our anger is affecting those around us. We need to be looking for help
But why would we want to do that?
Well, aside from managing anger in a healthier way, how we respond and think can vary in how others view us.
If you’re someone who is constantly angry or have violent outbursts, people are less inclined to do business with you or generally engage with you. They see you as childish even if you physically beat people.
Anger also has other health effects considering anger elevates your heart rate similar to stress. Having too much of it can cause health problems down the road.
So how can we better manage anger?
Firstly, it’s key to know how we get angry in the first place stems from three things:
- the provocations;
- our mood;
- and how we interpret the provocation
Indeed a lot of how we get angry hinges on our mindset. Because of this, I’ll be sharing tips to better improve your overall mindset and thinking process. Yes, every person’s situation in life is different, but I believe these tips will help with most any kind of situation.
Get Plenty Of Sleep
I’ve talked about before that sleep impacts a wide variety of things. One key thing is our own mood. You know the saying “woke up on the wrong side of the bed” right? Well, that statement has a nugget of truth to it.
It implies that the reason the person is angry or moody because they didn’t get enough sleep.
This is further reinforced by studies and research showing that sleep does impact our mood.
So if you want to put a cap on your anger, make sure you are getting enough sleep.
Expand Your Mind
As I mentioned above, one factor for us acting angry is due to our interpretation of provocations. We are not immune to things happening in our lives and each event prompts us to act certain ways.
The important thing to recognize though is this:
While events in our lives are for the most part completely out of our control, we do have control over how we react.
There are a number of ways to influence how we react to scenarios in our lives. One such way is expanding your mind to consider other interpretations of the scenario.
For example, someone cuts in front of your lane while you’re driving. What would your typical reaction be in that instance?
For my dad and many others, they consider it to be completely intentional. At that moment they think “They did this on purpose.”
But for me, I’d think differently.
I often defend the person thinking like “That person may be in a hurry and didn’t look.”
Each of those interpretations prompts different reactions. While my dad would complain to me for a few seconds how stupid the driver is, I’d stay calm and agree with him. I recognize arguing with him over this would be a waste of time.
Either way, the idea here is to consider other possible scenarios. Don’t get me wrong, when we get triggered we get triggered. We can’t deny that. But what we do after that depends on our own belief system.
Did that driver cut in front of you? Or were they in a hurry for other reasons? We lack the full picture and can’t confirm or deny it. Merely act based on our own beliefs and fill that gap.
What I’d suggest is to have an open mind. Don’t buy into your first instincts even though they are tempting. Give yourself the benefit of a doubt that when small things occur it isn’t always due to what you are doing or who you are.
We don’t know the full picture so it’s better to let it go and move on.
Manage Anger Through Deep Breathing
Naturally, whenever we experience emotions, our body reacts differently. In the case of anger, our heart rate increases, our muscles tense up, and we take shorter breaths. Some of us even go red in the face.
The point is though that these kinds of body functions are similar to us feeling stressed. So it makes sense that deep breathing will help a lot in managing anger. The key with the breathing exercises is to take long, slow and deep breaths. You want to be using your diaphragm rather than your chest.
The video below also goes into detail about how deep breathing helps with managing anger.
Manage Anger By Knowing That Being Mad Is Okay
From what I mentioned above, people view anger as a negative emotion. People instinctively avoid those who are negative or have violent outbursts. Think back to the bullies or generally negative people at work. You don’t typically want to or enjoy those peoples company.
Most people will react in the same way. But what I want to bring up is the fact that due to these negative people, we believe that we should never get angry. To deny that emotion and think purely on positivity.
While that idea does feel great, the fact still remains that’s a terrible way to think.
Primarily because we are emotional beings and there will be times where we will get angry or mildly frustrated. There will be situations where we will get annoyed.
Got denied your dream job? Of course, you’d get angry.
Your business going bankrupt? You deserve to be angry, especially if it could’ve been avoided.
Dealing with someone who’s a complete pain in the ass and terrible to deal with? Getting angry and venting afterwards is reasonable.
There are definitely some circumstances where being angry is reasonable and that we shouldn’t deny those emotions. It’s in those situations where we need to vent in a healthy and constructive manner.
Remember that it’s up to us to determine how we use that anger. We can either:
- Lash it out at people;
- Or we can use it constructively;
- We can train ourselves to be polite;
- Or we can use our anger to be assertive rather than aggressive.
Not only that but anger can be used productively. Some of the other suggestions for managing anger are activities that don’t suppress it. Writing in a journal, going for a drive, or exercising are constructive and productive ways.
With Every Emotion, Work Inside Yourself
Our general mood hinges on our perception of the world and how we view ourselves. When we are angry it goes back to what I mentioned at the beginning:
- The provocation;
- Our mood;
- And how we interpret the provocation.
Those things influence our entire mood. As such, how we get angry traces back to an event and how we view it at that moment.
Because of that, it’s easy for us to pinpoint exactly what is triggering that and begin to deal with it.
Broadly speaking, we feel angry if were being treated unfairly. But when you dig into that deeper there are particular reasons. Consider the many movements towards equal rights and fighting racism in the US. Not every #MeToo or #BlackLivesMatter advocate is there because they were sexually assaulted or that they were victims of racist remarks.
Some joined because they want to make a bigger impact. Or maybe they feel strongly about the subject despite them not being a victim.
My point is anger is similar. Once we dig into it, we can find a particular reason. Some reasons people get angry are:
- You’re really stressed out and feel pressured.
- You’re experiencing bodily or hormonal changes that result in mood swings.
- There is general frustration with respect to where your life is headed right now.
The point is finding out what’s triggering that and finding ways of working around it. It’s actively finding a solution whether that’s an outlet to vent frustrations or an activity to push you towards change. It could be as simple as participating in a movement or maybe it’s taking matters in your own hands, setting goals, and taking some initiative.
Make A Point Of Writing Things Down
One method I mentioned earlier is journaling and it’s something that means a lot to me. After all, I am a writer and use my writing as a means of talking about various issues.
But before I started writing online, I was writing for myself about my views of certain situations. They were frustrations or shifts in my emotions I wanted to catalogue. It’s likely from that and the encouragement to do that that led me to writing as a career.
The idea with writing is that it allows you to put your emotions on paper. Furthermore, it allows you to look at your emotions differently by reading what you wrote. What I’m suggesting is that writing can allow you to self diagnose your problem and find other mental tricks to overcome a situation.
Writing about how mean someone is? Maybe you’re missing the big picture and focusing only on your emotions.
In a complex situation? Writing can help you break the problem into different sections.
Exercise Will Manage Anger Too
Another trick I mentioned was to exercise. As for what is best it’s anything that you can do:
- Go for a walk.
- Pump some iron.
- Take up some new exercises.
- Join a class.
Any form of exercise is good exercise. Naturally, there are all kinds of studies revolving around how exercise is good for you.
Think In “I” Statements
One thing you might not notice when people are angry is they default immediately to “you” statements.
“That person is driving recklessly.”
“You’re the reason I’m late to meetings.”
“It’s your fault I can’t get that promotion.”
While those statements may be true, the thing is pointing the finger at people will put people on the defensive. On top of that, if you want help or get people to change, telling them what they are doing wrong is definitely not going to encourage them to want to change or help.
Instead, you want to be thinking in “I” statements. This goes back to what I mentioned earlier about having a broader mind. If you want to get people to work with you, change your thinking and wording around to where it’s softer.
“What can I do to get promoted? I was hoping for that position.”
“I don’t want to be late, it reflects poorly on me. How can I help you?”
“What can I do to help with this problem?”
Statements like these will change your attitude but also it encourages others to assist you in some way.
Manage Anger By Avoiding Negative Self-Talk
It’s one thing to be critical of ourselves and another to think of ourselves negatively. We’re not all perfect beings and there are things we won’t be good at doing. However, our attitude towards those things matters a lot.
If you want to manage anger, you may have to look at certain qualities of yourself and change your view about them. Instead of seeing those weaknesses as what’s wrong with you, look at them as things you can improve and grow from.
After all, it’s those particular weaknesses and our focus on them that can make us feel stressed or even depressed.
Dwell On The Problem, Not The Person
Similar to what I said in the “I” statements, people who are angry focus on the person. Typically it’s from people other than themselves.
The thing is that accidents and mistakes will happen. It’s an everyday occurrence. That being said, what sort of benefit do we get from merely shifting the blame and getting angry at a person who you think is responsible?
How does that solve the problem?
So instead of dwelling on who is right or wrong, take some measures to do something about it.
See someone driving recklessly? Copy their license plate and report them.
Someone coming in late for work? Talk to them about how you can help them or if something’s wrong at home.
Want to help those in poverty? Donate some money to projects, but also ask yourself what else you can do to help the unfortunate. Maybe launch a community event that assists those in poverty or homeless.
Whatever is getting you angry, remember to focus on the problem itself: what is making you angry?
Anger can be a motivational tool if we have the proper mindset and use it in a healthy and constructive manner.
Manage Anger By Never Holding Grudges
I can speak from experience on this one.
About 10 years ago I had a falling out with a friend who meant a lot to me at the time. The falling out happened due to me making a decision to go to a college my friend didn’t want me to go to.
While I felt like I moved on, I know for a long time I was holding a sort of grudge against him.
I wanted to work hard and to prove to this individual that my decision was the right choice.
Little did I know that while I thought this grudge was minor, it was draining me in some way. It pushed me down a path that I didn’t really care much about. A path that I walked on for 7 years of my life.
That’s not to say I regret my decisions up to this point. I got to travel to Halifax, meet new people and grow further. The new area encouraged me to figure out what I really wanted to do. I don’t think that would’ve happened if I lived with my parents.
The only sort of regret I have is I wish I got into writing sooner and took more initiative.
My point is that grudges impact our behaviour dramatically. I was so stubborn to go with this idea even though deep down I really didn’t care about accounting.
It clouds our judgement and eventually, the grudge becomes entirely meaningless. It gets to a point where you have to ask yourself what was the point in doing all that and what do you gain from it?
Grudges do not serve you at all and should be dealt with immediately. One suggestion I have is to consider this quote:
“If you think the problem isn’t going to matter in 5 minutes, it’s not going to matter in 5 years.”
Anger Doesn’t Pay Off
Outside of learning to use your anger to pump yourself up, and to achieve your goals in some fashion, anger doesn’t provide many benefits. It can lead to heartbreak, depression, and more.
But by being able to manage anger, and use it in healthier situations, you’ll be able to grow yourself further. Remember, you are always in control of your own emotions so take stock. And try these methods whenever you get angry or are on the verge.
To your growth!
Eric S Burdon