How to Control Your Anger

Anger Management

Anger Management 101 

A wise man is slow to anger. For many people, keeping your temper in check is challenging. Understanding that nothing good comes from expressing your anger is not enough to motivate those with a quick temper to seek help in getting it under control.

To control anger takes courage and kindness. You can use the following tactics immediately in the moment of frustration or afterward to help identify triggers and possible solutions:

  • Breathe. After that wave of anger hits you, before you speak or move a muscle, take a deep breath. The calming effects of a deep breath are both physical and emotional. 
  • Find the details. Force yourself to notice the details around you. If you take a few seconds to focus on kindness. for a minute, you give yourself some extra time to cool down and process your thoughts. Notice the color of the walls, the cracks in the ceiling, the dirt in the corner—anything except the object or person that sparked your anger.
  • Exercise. When you’re feeling stressed after an argument or altercation, go for a run to release some energy. You’ll likely have a strong workout, and the endorphins from your exercise will help calm and redirect your anger into a positive channel.
  • Leave. Remove yourself from the situation that is angering you. Literally walk away, hang up the phone or exit the store. By staying in the surroundings, you are potentially fueling your anger, making it more difficult to control.
  • Count to 10. This coping strategy is not just for young children. In the time it takes to count to 10, your brain is (1) focusing on something else other than the negative situation at hand and (2) you are buying time to rationalize and organize your thoughts.
  • Visualize. Predetermine a “happy place” in your mind to which you can retreat when you are feeling intense emotions. Another form of visualization is song. If you have difficulty picturing a “happy place,” try humming a soothing song instead. 
  • Laugh. It is difficult to be angry when you are laughing. Although you may start with a fake laugh, eventually your pretend chuckle will become real and the positive side effects of laughter will take over, subduing your anger. 
  • Avoid triggers. Take a moment to think about the situations in which you have found your anger difficult to manage. Perhaps you were in rush hour traffic? Or at a bar with friends? Once you can identify the situations that trigger your anger, avoid them.
  • Journal. In an effort to avoid your triggers, start an anger journal and chronicle each occasion when you felt like your anger was out of control. At the appropriate time (once your anger has subsided) use the journal to write down the cause of your anger, why it made you angry, where and when. Use this notebook to reflect and identify the root of your anger issues. 
  • Talk to someone you trust. Find a mutual party with whom you can discuss your anger. Because this person knows you well, he or she may be able to shed some light on your triggers and offer possible solutions for remedying the problem. 

Anger and frustration are basic human emotions, but great care should be taken to ensure they do not become problems for you, your loved ones or those around you. In the end, wisdom is knowing what is correct and doing the right thing.

Additional Resources

Videos

Education

Books

Apps

  • Anger Control, by Abe Kass, R.S.W., available on iTunes for a fee
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