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Anger is a universal emotion that we can all connect with – it’s simply a fact of life. We all get angry; it’s natural, but anger turns itself into a problem when it becomes too strong, happens too often, lasts too long, affects relationships, or even work. We should act on it before it leads to violence or aggression.
Here are some ways to effectively manage anger:
1. Understand it
The first step toward addressing our anger is to understand it. It is difficult to address anger if you can’t identify what triggered it in the first place. In order to identify the causes of anger better, we need to look at the other parts in an organised and reflective way, and see how they fit together and influence each other. It’s often the beliefs and self-judgements that can cause anger. Hence, controlling them is vital for effective anger management. It is through controlling our emotions that we alter our perception of the situation.
2. Have a little think before you speak
When it comes to managing anger, I am a big fan of delay. It is a fantastic remedy for anger. However, you don’t need to delay indefinitely. If you’ve got an issue you need to address, then deal with it. If you are to delay your anger indefinitely it will soon become bitterness, and that’s way worse than anger.
3. Practise relaxation skills
Using different relaxation techniques can be an effective way to subdue your angry feelings. One relaxation technique that I would recommend is deep breathing. If regularly practised, relaxation strategies can help these techniques become automatic responses to situations that cause you to feel anger.
4. Use humour to vent out the tension
A situation that makes you angry is likely to have various outcomes, depending of course on whether you let your anger to take over, or see the funny side of the situation. If you can step away from what has happened long enough to notice, you may soon realise that a few aspects of anger could actually be funny. So next time you get angry, pause and ask yourself, ‘What’s funny about this situation?’ Chances are you’ll find some humour if you just look for it.
5. Identify your anger type
Dr Peter Andrew Sacco explains: ‘It is very important to know your anger type if your anger controls you and runs your life. By identifying your anger type, you can modify thoughts which lead to feelings, and make them what you want them to be. Furthermore, by identifying your own anger type it helps you to better understand and deal with angry people in your own life. You can use tools to extinguish anger fires before they escalate and grow out of hand.’
6. Consider professional help when it gets out of control
The charity Mind says: ‘If you find you express your anger through outward aggression and violence, this can be extremely frightening and damaging for people around you – especially children. And it can have serious consequences: it could lose you your job or get you into trouble with the law. In this case it’s very important to seek treatment and support.’ You might also find this anger quiz helpful.
7. Tame your temper
It’s a bit of a challenge. But try to practise and bit of patience and it will soon be part of your system. Anger is a natural response towards a number of situations. Everyone gets angry sometimes, after all it’s part of being human. It isn’t always a ‘bad’ emotion; in fact it can even be useful at times. For example, feeling angry about something can motivate us to create change. However, we need to strike a balance with our emotion and what we are trying to achieve. Indeed, learning to control anger is a challenge for everyone at times.
Dennis Relojo-Howell is the founder of Psychreg. He writes for the American Psychological Association and has a weekly column for Free Malaysia Today.
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