Anger: Don't Put a Lid on It

Anger is a natural emotion. But when anger is mismanaged or hidden, it can affect your health, career, and relationships. If you find yourself struggling with anger issues, learn about strategies to help you deal with your emotions in a healthier way.

Coping With Anger    TOP

Learn Ways to Relax

There are many relaxation techniques that can help you reduce tension. Some examples include meditation, yoga, and deep breathing. Learning how to relax your body can help you release anger. Organizations like the American Psychological Association (APA) recommend practicing these techniques on a daily basis.

Think Differently

When feeling angry, it is common to think that the situation is a lot worse than it really is. You may interpret missing your flight, for example, as a catastrophe. This perspective, though, can make you feel angrier. Instead, ask yourself what you hope to achieve. For example, is your goal to arrive at your destination safely? If so, focus on steps that you can take to make that happen, like finding out if you can get on the next flight. Also, it is helpful to use sound logic to think through the situation. For example, no one is trying to sabotage your trip. Delays and cancellations happen to everyone and are due to a variety of factors, like weather conditions and mechanical problems.

Work Hard to Solve the Problem    TOP

People who are good problem solvers are able to zero in on the situation at hand and analyze it from a number of different angles. If you want to move away from being angry and move toward finding a solution, try this approach:

  • Find out exactly what the problem is
  • Think of a range of possible solutions
  • Spend time analyzing the outcome of each solution
  • Decide on the best approach for this particular situation

Set Aside Time to Talk    TOP

Are you having a conflict with someone you are close to? If so, think about the possible consequences of lashing out. For example, you could really hurt this person and damage the relationship. Is this really what you want? Instead of letting your anger flare up, schedule a time to discuss the situation in a peaceful location where you feel at ease.

Express Yourself    TOP

When you are ready to talk about an important situation, work hard to get your message across without attacking the other person. For example, one effective strategy is to use "I-statements," such as "I feel angry and neglected when you don't ask me about my about my job." The goal is to express how you feel in a way that is direct but not hurtful to the other person. Making comments like "You think your job is more important than mine" is telling the other person how they feel and may cause them to become defensive.

Listen Carefully    TOP

Discussing an important issue, though, is not just about expressing yourself. Listening carefully is also extremely important. What is the other person saying? Do they have a valid point? If you allow your anger to take over, you will not be able to find common ground. So, strive to be clear when you speak but also patient when the other person is voicing their point of view.

It is possible to learn new ways to deal with anger. Anger does not have to take over your life and negatively impact the lives of the people around you. If you find yourself struggling, though, there are therapists who specialize in anger management. A therapist can not only help address your anger but also other mental health issues that you may be dealing with.

RESOURCES:

American Psychological Association
http://www.apa.org/

CANADIAN RESOURCES:

Canadian Mental Health Association
http://www.ontario.cmha.ca/index.asp
Canadian Psychiatric Association
http://www.cpa-apc.org

References

Anger management. Helpguide website. Available at:
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Updated February 2014. Accessed May 8, 2014.
Anger management 2: counselors strategies and skills. Eric Digests website. Available at:
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Accessed May 8, 2014.
Dealing with anger in marriage. The Ohio State University website. Available at:
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Accessed May 8, 2014.
Problem solving strategies. Lorain County Community College website. Available at:
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Accessed May 8, 2014.
Strategies for controlling your anger. American Psychological Association website. Available at:
...(Click grey area to select URL)
Updated October 2011. Accessed May 8, 2014.
Last reviewed May 2014 by Michael Woods, MD
Last Updated: 05/08/2014
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