How To Manage Your Anger & Frustration
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These strategies for Managing Anger are based upon Help Guide's, “Anger Management: Tips and Techniques for Getting Anger Under Control,”. Sometimes people feel they are easily agitated or easily angered, which can result in frequent arguments and fights. While anger can be a healthy emotion when it does not get out of control, chronic anger and explosive anger can affect all aspects of your life in destructive ways.
What Is Anger?
The basic emotion of anger is not the issue. We all experience anger - The problem is how you respond to the feeling of anger. There are ways to control your emotions, including anger, and learning how to appropriately express your anger and frustrated emotions can help you to avoid hurting others with your words and actions. HelpGuide explains that “Mastering the art of anger management takes work, but the more you practice, the easier it will get. And the payoff can be huge. Learning to control your anger and express it appropriately can help you build better relationships, achieve your goals, and lead a healthier, more satisfying life.”
Myths about Anger
Myth #1: I should vent my anger and let it out.
Fact: Keeping anger in is not healthy, but exploding is not healthy either. Explosions that result in either verbal or physical abuse is not appropriate. Learning healthy ways to communicate your feelings of anger is the best way to let it out.
Myth #2: Anger or aggression earns me respect and gets me what I want.
Fact: Power is not earned by lack of anger management. HelpGuide explains that, “True power doesn’t come from bullying others. People may be afraid of you, but they won’t respect you if you can’t control yourself or handle opposing viewpoints. Others will be more willing to listen to you and accommodate your needs if you communicate in a respectful way.” Explosive behavior is scary. It is not power but abuse.
Myth #3: I can’t control my anger.
Fact: There are many therapeutic groups or individual therapies that can help teach people the appropriate ways to manage anger. There are evidence based programs that can help a person to manage their feelings of anger appropriately. HelpGuide explains that “You can’t always control the situation you’re in or how it makes you feel, but you can control how you express your anger. And you can express your anger without being verbally or physically abusive. Even if someone is pushing your buttons, you always have a choice about how to respond.” Many people already know how to express their feelings appropriately. If you do not know how to do this, seek professional help.
Myth #4: Anger management is about learning to suppress your anger.
Fact: Anger management is not about suppression or avoiding the feeling. Anger management is about appropriate expression. To believe that you will never get angry is not a realistic thought or expectation. Anger is normal. The goal of anger management is to learn how to express anger in constructive ways.
Anger Management Is Important
HelpGuide explains that, “You might think that venting your anger is healthy, that the people around you are too sensitive, that your anger is justified, or that you need to show your fury to get respect. But the truth is that anger is much more likely to damage your relationships, impair your judgment, get in the way of success, and have a negative impact on the way people see you.”
Do You Have An Anger Management Challenge?
Anger Management Tip #1: What is behind your anger?
HelpGuide explains that, “Anger problems often stem from what you’ve learned as a child. If you watched others in your family scream, hit each other, or throw things, you might think this is how anger is supposed to be expressed. Traumatic events and high levels of stress can make you more susceptible to anger as well.”
Ask these questions of yourself: Is my anger masking other feelings such as embarrassment, insecurity, hurt, shame, or vulnerability? If you feel all responses are anger based or that is how you describe your feelings, it is likely that your temper is covering up your true feelings and needs. This is most typical if you grew up in a family where expressing feelings was strongly discouraged.
Anger Management Tip #2: Triggers
Feeling like you are “going to blow” is not a healthy feeling. This feeling triggers our innate “fight or flight” system of the body. Understanding how anger is expressed in your body might make you more aware if when anger could become out of control.
Pay attention to the way anger feels in your body
Identify the negative thought patterns that trigger your temper. You may think that external things—the insensitive actions of other people, for example, or frustrating situations—are what cause your anger. However, anger problems have less to do with what happens to you than how you interpret and think about what happened.
Types of negative thinking patterns
Anger Management Tip #3: Learn ways to cool down
Once you know the triggers and warning signs, you can use techniques to calm dowm when you start to feel your temper rising.
Quick tips for cooling down
HelpGuide explains that you should ask yourself:
Anger Management Tip #4: Express your anger in a healthy way
Identify what you’re really angry about. We all have had situations where we have become angry over something small. When you start becoming angry, ask yourself “What am I really angry about?” Identifying the real source of frustration will help you communicate your anger better, take constructive action, and work towards a resolution.
HelpGuide Explains that you shoud seek Professional Help If:
- Kim B.
Anger Management. (n.d.). Retrieved January 8, 2015, from http://www.helpguide.org/articles/emotional-health/anger-management.htm