‘You’re late for dinner – AGAIN! And we have guests! We cant live like this!’
‘For the last time – clean your room, Josh!’ ‘Or WHAT, Mom?!’
Anger in itself isn’t bad, it is a normal emotion. Usually, it is protective, but if not controlled, it can make us aggressive, unhappy, and also sabotage our precious relationships.
On the other hand, if we are the target of another person’s anger, we may find ourselves avoiding that person, or having our emotions hurt by their behavior.
What are those things that get us angry?
Kids are experts at throwing tantrums, but as we get older, it becomes clearer to us that everyone has their specific needs, thus the need to express our feelings and compromise without losing control.
But then, drugs, alcohol, stress, the constant reminder that we’ve been cheated or unfairly treated can throw us into a fit that distresses and surprises us, as well as the people around us. If we are the kind who don’t like conflicts, we may cage our anger, allowing it to build within us, and ultimately leading to depression, self-harm, or anxiety.
And a few of us may be victims of domestic violence or bullying, as certain people use anger as a tool to manipulate others, and even cast blame for ‘making them angry.’
What happens when have an outburst of anger?
When we are angry, we gradually get wound up, or someone “pulls our triggers,” making us feel ignored, stupid, scared, or angry. Our adrenaline shoots to extremely high levels, thus raising our breathing rates, heart rate, muscle tension, sweating, and blood pressure.
Our tone, words, body language, and face may ooze anger until we let it fly or attempt to regain control. Prolonged suppression of anger can lead to nausea, headaches, tummy upsets, and irritability.
First Things First
Understand that something is going on inside of you. Recognize what it is and avoid a meltdown by counting to ten. You could take deep breaths and say to yourself “I’m not in the mood to discuss this right now,” or taking yourself away from the situation. If anyone else is angry, take your time before responding. Consider the response to give, or how you should help.
Once you’re cool, replay the episode in your mind. Was your anger justified? Is there a way you could have handled it better? Take into consideration factors such as place, time, words used, whether there were too many people, or asking or support.
But if you can’t figure out why you lost your cool, then you may have to seek cognitive behavioral therapy or counseling. Cognitive-behavioral therapy helps us understand the influence that our thoughts have over our actions. You could be referred by your doctor if there are anger management programs in some areas.
A healthy lifestyle and exercise can facilitate de-stressing; you may need to do away with alcohol and other triggers. – but every individual is different.
The right way to calm an angry person
- Do not raise your voice at them, or instruct them to calm down, or even touch them – you never know, it could tip them over the top.
- Stay on your own. By this, I mean, keep your distance. If you are threatened, or you feel you are, leave the scene or ask for help.
- Acknowledge the feelings of the angry person, or they won’t stop saying it out loud to you. You could say something like ‘I understand how upset you are about this.’
- Avoid trading insults, criticizing, or generalizing (for instance, ‘you always’). It may cause the situation to escalate. Rather, give them a chance to explain themselves – what they need or want.
The best ways to put your own temper in check
You must master the art of controlling your anger so that you may avoid doing or saying something that you may regret. If, however, your anger escalates, some tips may help you to control it.
Count to 10. If the anger is very intense, you may count to 100. While you are counting, your heart rate will decrease along with the anger.
A breather helps
When you are angry, your breathing becomes shallow and then speeds up. You can reverse this by breathing slowly and deeply you’re your nose and then exhaling out of your mouth for some moments.
Take a walk
Exercise calms the nerves and reduces anger. Take a walk, hit some golf balls, or you’re your bike. Any activity that moves your limbs is good for your body and mind.
Your muscles need to relax
Progressive muscle relaxation involves tensing and slow relaxation of various muscle groups in your body. While you tense and release, breath in slowly and deliberately.
Say a mantra repeatedly
Find a phrase or a word that can calm you down and help you regain focus. Repeat the word to yourself over and over again when you are angry. You can tell yourself “take it easy,” “you will be okay,” or “relax.”
Shoulder and neck rolls are great examples of yoga-like movements that are not strenuous. They help you harness your emotions and take control of your body. What’s more? You don’t have to spend money on any fancy equipment.
Get into a quiet room, shut your eyes, and visualize yourself chilling off at a beautiful location. Focus on the serenity of the imaginary scene: the height of the mountains, the blue sky, the chirping of the birds, and the color of the water. Doing so will create the much-desired calm amid anger.
It is a known fact that music is “food for the soul.” And yes, that’s not an empty statement. Listen to some cool music and watch it lift your soul. Plug your headset or go for a ride in your car, playing your favorite music.
You don’t have to continue talking
Anger is a very powerful emotion, one that may tempt you to let out some angry words. But then, it does more harm than good. You are better off sealing your lips. Having control over your words will give you ample time to collect your thoughts.
You need a timeout
Take a break. You do not necessarily have to sit with others at this time. Just take some timeout so you can process events and switch your emotions to a neural state.
Pen down your thoughts in your journal
Write down your feelings. Yes! Jot down what you can’t say, how you are feeling and how you would love to respond. The written world can always help you reassess those factors that contributed to your current feelings.