How To Deal With Anger Issues
Anger is a normal, natural emotion that we all experience at different levels from time to time. It can vary from mild irritation and displeasure, through to ‘red mist’ uncontrollable rage.
Notice the next moment that you experience a flash of anger. Why did it happen? Was it a normal, natural response to something that happened, or was it something less significant? If it was reasonable, take a moment to appreciate this and let it go. If on reflection, you feel that the anger was excessive, follow these steps to learn to control it, and dramatically improve your life.
Like any emotion, in moderation, anger has benefits. Anger is often a secondary response to another feeling, be it sadness, fear, loneliness or grief. How often do we experience anger when someone does something that scares us? If we see someone driving dangerously or see a child running into the road, our first reaction is often to shout at them. When we are grieving, we can feel angry that someone is no longer with us. If you find that your anger frequently turns to rage however, then this is something that needs to be addressed.
Transform your energy
If you feel angry all the time, it is likely that you also experience a number of physical symptoms, such as tension, headaches, insomnia, through to high blood pressure and worse. Listen to your body, and find a new way to deal with your anger. Take up a sport such as running, tennis, or cardio classes. Choose something that uses lots of focus, energy and passion, and enjoy the endorphins afterwards! This is transforming your negative energy into something positive and powerful, whilst making you healthier at the same time.
Find your anthem
Listening to certain types of music at key moments can be a very good way to release anger and stress. You may find that fast-paced rock music helps you to process and deal with your feelings, or that classical music helps you to feel calm. Maybe find a song that helps you to cope with your anger, and play, sing, or hum it regularly. Make it your anthem.
Breathe it out
Various breathing techniques have been proven to help release anger. It may be a cliché but you should also count to ten when the red mist appears! If you feel angry or frustrated about a certain situation, slow, deep breathing is a good way to release these emotions. If you can, remove yourself from the situation that is causing you stress, count to ten then use slow, circular breaths and breathe away the tension. Focus on the moment, breathe and let it go. Here is a more detailed breathing technique you can use to release anger:
- Begin to breathe slowly and deeply in through your nose and out through your mouth in a steady circular rhythm. If you can, close your eyes, but this is not essential. Think of nothing but your breathing. Focus on drawing the pure air into your lungs and breathing away any stale air. As you breathe out imagine you are releasing the source of your anger.
- Continue this slow, rhythmical breathing and, as you inhale, push your stomach out so that you breathe into your stomach, which then expands with your in-breath. Then, as you exhale, your stomach goes in and your chest slightly expands. Practise this breathing cycle for a while until it comes naturally.
- Once you have the hang of diaphragmatic breathing, you can add on the following to the technique. Continue with your diaphragmatic breathing and make each in-breath last as long as possible so that you fill all of your lungs. Then, when you lungs are full, at the top of your breath hold it for three seconds. One, two, three. Then exhale very slowly and count to five as you do so. Continue with this pattern keeping your breathing slow and steady. You will soon begin to feel physically relaxed and mentally calm.
Talk, talk, talk
Whilst anger is extremely useful to our brains to release stress-busting hormones and adrenaline, it can affect your relationships with others, creating a negative cycle that is hard to break. If relationships are affected by anger, find a good friend or therapist and talk it out. When you find the root of the problem, life will get much better, for you and for those around you.
It is difficult to admit when we are wrong, but bear in mind that a heartfelt apology can build a lot of bridges when we have upset the people that we love. Say sorry, and mean it. Show that you aren’t going to let it happen again.
If anger is leading you to behave in a threatening or violent way to others, or if it causes you to hurt yourself, it is essential to find help through counselling and anger management classes. Seeking help is not a sign of weakness; it takes enormous strength to admit that there is a problem, and huge bravery to make changes in your life.
An important part of un-learning any negative behaviour, is kindness. Regardless of any frightening things that are happening in the world, kindness never stops. Set yourself the challenge of doing one kind thing each day. Buy a stranger a cup of tea, volunteer for a charity for a few hours, or give someone your seat on the train. Don’t exclude yourself from this challenge; make a point of being kind to yourself too.
It would be unhelpful to try to stop the emotion of anger, but controlling it is an essential part of life. Following these steps will set you on a path to calm, clarity and happiness.
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All the best,
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