When we can manage it, anger is an emotion as normal as happiness and excitement. It’s a form of expression, and a sign that we might want to make changes in our life.
But sometimes anger isn’t so easy to manage. It can cause us to lash out and hurt the people we care about – as well as make us upset and often regret our reactions.
So how can we manage our anger, so that we control it and not the other way around?
We’ve soured our sources to share these top anger management tips:
Be aware of your anger
Self-awareness is a powerful tool, enabling us to tune in to our thoughts and behaviours, and better understand who we are.
So the first step to managing our anger is understanding it. Where does it stem from? How do I feel when I’m angry?
Anger is a seriously strong emotion, so you’re likely to experience physical symptoms such as a racing heart, sweating, flushed face, neck and shoulder tension, or something similar. Being aware of these physical responses means that when they arise, you can remove yourself from the situation and avoid doing something you could regret.
Learn meditation and breathing techniques
When something tests us, it’s tempting to respond immediately. But that might not be the best reaction, in hindsight.
One top tip is to practice breathing techniques. You could take yourself to a quiet space, such as a bathroom or park, and slowly inhale and exhale while counting to 10. Meditating for 10 minutes or more can also help calm the heart, press pause on the situation, and put things in perspective.
An article published on the NHS website quotes clinical psychologist Isabel Clarke who says, “You automatically breathe in more than out when you’re feeling angry, and the trick is to breathe out more than in. This will calm you down effectively and help you think more clearly.”
You might also like to try repeating a mantra to yourself while sitting in stillness or while meditating. Mantras such as ‘I am calm’ or ‘relax’ work wonders. With a cool head and measured mind, you can then decide on a response based on fact and reason rather than emotion.
When anger takes hold, we don’t always express ourselves in the most appropriate or helpful way. Learning self-expression techniques can help us unwind, relax, and communicate more clearly.
You could try journaling, singing, mindful colouring books, dancing, or cooking – anything that takes your mind off the problem and moves your focus onto an enjoyable and calming activity.
Other anger management techniques
Other techniques to try include yoga, walking in nature, talking with a counsellor or life coach, and a regular exercise routine to ease tension. And if anger continues to be a problem, enrol in an anger management program or speak with a reputable healthcare professional.Originally published on Sep 14, 2015