Many people struggle to express their anger in a healthy manner. Some people hold their anger in and others are quick to explode in an outburst. No matter how we express it if we’re not in control of our anger it can get the best of us.
“Anybody can become angry – that is easy, but to be angry with the right person and to the right degree and at the right time and for the right purpose, and in the right way – that is not within everybody’s power and is not easy.” – Aristotle
Anger, just like every other emotion, is totally normal, however it can become counterproductive and toxic if we aren’t able to channel it in a healthy direction. It is important we take responsibility for our emotions, stop denying we have anger, and learn to deal with our feelings instead of avoiding them. If we don’t express anger in a healthy way the penalties include:
- A sense that we are incompetent
- Lack of self-control
- Built up energy leading to feelings of anxiety
- Self-destructive behavior such as drinking and overeating
- Head and body aches
- High blood pressure
- Difficulty sleeping
To help you control your anger and stay healthy here are a few tips.
How to deal with anger
Take a time out – Sometimes the best option is to remove ourselves from an angry situation. Take time to calm down and decrease your arousal. The angrier we become the more difficult it is to manage our reactions. Decrease body tension – When we’re highly emotionally our body is also worked up. When we relax the body it usually helps calm the mind. Use exercise or other relaxation techniques to decrease body tension. A calm and relaxed body leads to greater equanimity. Write about your feelings – If you struggle to express anger in a healthy manner it’s helpful to get your thoughts out on paper. Get a journal to write about your feelings. When we verbalize our feelings it takes us out of our emotional mind so we can think more logically. Work on developing a positive attitude – Think about the last time you had a bad day. How much easier was it to get ticked-off when you were already in a bad mood? When we’re always in a state of frustration or negativity even the smallest things can set us off. Practice gratitude and focus on being more optimistic to add some positivity to your life. Self-talk – What you say to yourself will determine how you feel and act. Become aware of the self-talk that pervades during angry situations. You might notice that your own thinking is the main trigger to your anger. Angry thoughts lead to angry feelings. Consider some reminder statements that can help you calm down and take control of your emotions. “I can handle this.” “Calm down.” “I have a lot to lose if I lose my temper.” “Getting angry not’s worth it.” Don’t take responsibility for other people’s actions – The only person we can control is ourselves. We can’t change what someone else does, no matter how stupid they may be acting. Sometimes we try to use our anger to get what we want by intimidating or threatening, but eventually this will backfire. Don’t let other people steal your joy or dictate your reactions. You have a choice in how you respond to others. Learning to express our anger in a healthy manner is crucial for our emotional and physical well-being. If you notice your angry reactions are causing you problems, use some of these ideas to get your personal power back. Don’t let your life circumstances or other people take control of your feelings and actions.