Anger Management



How to manage your anger in the long term

Once you can recognize that you’re getting angry and can calm yourself down, you can start looking at ways to control your anger more generally.

·       Exercise can help with anger

Bring down your general stress levels with exercise and relaxation. Running, walking, swimming, yoga and meditation are just a few activities that can reduce stress. Exercise as part of your daily life is a good way to get rid of irritation and anger.

·       Looking after yourself may keep you calm

Make time to relax regularly, and ensure that you get enough sleep. Drugs and alcohol can make anger problems worse. They lower inhibitions and, actually, we need inhibitions to stop us acting unacceptably when we’re angry.

·       Get creative

Writing, making music, dancing or painting can release tension and reduce feelings of anger.

·       Talk about how you feel

Discussing your feelings with a friend can be useful and help you get a different perspective on the situation.

·       Let go of angry thoughts

Try to let go of any unhelpful ways of thinking. Thoughts such as ‘it’s not fair’, or ‘people like that shouldn’t be on the roads’, can make anger worse.

Thinking like this will keep you focused on whatever it is that’s making you angry. Let these thoughts go and it’ll be easier to calm down.

Try to avoid using phrases that include:

  • always (for example, “you always do that”)
  • never (“you never listen to me”)
  • should or shouldn’t (“you should do what I want” or “you shouldn’t be on the roads”)
  • must or mustn’t (“I must be on time” or “I mustn’t be late”)
  • ought or oughtn’t (“people ought to get out of my way”)
  • not fair

Anxiety, fear and anger

Sometimes when people talk about “anger”, what they actually mean is aggression. Often when people experience or appear to show anger, it’s because they’re also feeling fear or perceive a threat, and they’re responding with a ‘fight’ response to this.

You might be angry that something hasn’t gone your way. But you may also be scared that you might be blamed or hurt as result. Recognizing this might allow you to think and act differently.

Domestic violence and anger

If uncontrolled anger leads to domestic violence (violence or threatening behavior within the home), there are places that offer help and support.

You can talk to your therapist about your anger issues.

The Link Between Anger and Stress

Stress is healthy when controlled. Healthy stress is what gets us out of bed in the morning and makes us pay attention to the details throughout our day. This type of stress does not cause anger or irritability. For those who do not have enough stress in their lives, they are often referred to as “lazy” or “unmotivated.”

Distress, on the other hand, is a type of stress that causes many people to be irritable and sometimes downright angry. This happens when the stress is too much and is no longer a motivator. You can think of this as when there is a combination of stressors and things just keep piling up. One day, the person does not know how to handle this anymore and there is an anger outburst.

When you are feeling either stressed or angry, there is some other feeling that is fueling this. Often, it is being overwhelmed, feeling disrespected, helpless, fearful and so on. It is very important to look at the feelings behind the stress to better understand why you are having this reaction.

Once you have identified the feelings and thoughts associated with your stress, take a look at your environment. Do you live in a chaotic home environment or perhaps a have a work environment that is adding your stress? When you identify your environmental stressors, take some time to identify ways to limit these stresses in addition to changing the ways you are thinking.

Substances that often increase stress and anger:

  • Sugar
  • Caffeine
  • Excess food
  • Nicotine

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