How to deal with anger - strategies and techniques
Published: 28 February, 2018
Dealing with anger can be easy for some and difficult for others, however, there are different techniques that allow us to reconsider those emotions and change the way we handle them.
Anger can often be considered a destructive emotion, causing spur-of-the-moment reactions that may lead to regret, hurt or loss. But it can also be a very useful tool when approached in the right way. It can bring out honesty, help you protect yourself and your values, and allow you to stand up for others.
So what strategies are there to take anger and impulsiveness, and use them to create better situations?
Understand anger and accept that it happens
It is human nature to get angry and it happens to everyone. While it may occur to varying degrees, we all have the ability to look at what our angry moods actually mean and accept that they will continue to occur.
- Look at how you can handle anger in the future instead of dwelling on how you handled it in the past.
- Rather than convincing yourself that “everything is ruined” because of anger, give yourself a break and acknowledge that you are allowed to be upset and that being angry won’t fix anything.
- Think about whether you express and manage anger differently to those around you. Use their moments of anger as a chance to learn how you could change your own behaviour.
Learn to control reactions
There is no doubt that we all run into people who annoy and irritate us – it can happen daily for some people. But instead of giving in to the desire to tell someone off, there are certain ways that we can ward off those frustrated feelings.
- Reduce the amount of stimulants that cause irritability (caffeine, alcohol, drugs, anything causing tiredness etc.) as it is better to have a clear mind in a difficult situation.
- Become aware of your trigger points – they are different for everyone and understanding them will allow you to learn strategies that calm you down.
- Use a daily mood chart to map out and identify trends in your frustrations.
Look beyond yourself
Anger tends to bring out a demanding tone in people and once it kicks off, it can be difficult to reel in. But if we look at these impulses through another lens, we can train our responses to be more productive.
- Listen to the language you use when talking to others, and change to gentler wording. For example, instead of “You have to…”, try “It’s important to…”
- When you have something negative to say to someone, pull back and write it down or talk to someone else about it first. Give it time to let the perspective set in.
- Practise relaxation techniques described in this mindfulness fact sheet to help remove you from the moment and calm down those angry feelings.
If various techniques aren’t working and impulsive anger is affecting your day-to-day life, you may want to consider going to a GP for advice or seeking help from a counsellor. Click here to find out where and how to seek help.
This article is based on the fact sheet ‘Dealing with anger and impulsivity’.
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