Anger is a normal emotion and part of the human experience. Whether you’ve gotten angry feeling road rage or it’s becoming a bigger issue, there are ways to control the anger before it controls you. It’s important to manage your anger before it ruins you and your relationships. Here are a few anger management tips:
Count to 10
The next time you are angry, count to ten (and beyond) in your mind. A study done in 2015 found that those who counted to 10 significantly decreased their rage. According to Research Digest (based in the UK), these results suggest “that counting to ten could help stop you from lashing out too harshly when there are obvious consequences for your anger, presumably because the delay gives you time to take these consequences into account before choosing how to act.”
Think of Relaxing Images
Another way to reduce anger is relaxation imagery. Visualization helps to transport your mind to a place that is relaxing, which mentally and physically, can help to relax you. Don’t know what to think about? Elizabeth Scott, MD., suggests to Very Well Mind that, for some, it may be “floating in the cool, clear waters off of a remote tropical island or sitting by a fire in a secluded snow cabin, deep in the woods, sipping hot cocoa and reading the latest bestseller while wrapped in a plush blanket and fuzzy slippers.” Whatever the image may be, make sure to focus on it and really visualize yourself being there.
Think Before You Speak
While easier said than done, thinking about phrasing your sentence or thinking about the root cause for what’s actually making you angry can help you to find a solution. Remember, once you say something out of anger, it’s easy to regret it. Mayo Clinic suggests taking a few moments to collect your thoughts before saying anything — and allow others involved in the situation to do the same.
Go for a Walk
Being outdoors and enjoying what nature has to offer has been proven to reduce stress. The physical act of walking also helps to release endorphins (the feel good chemical for your brain), which will help to reduce any residual stress and anger according to Prevention. In fact, Prevention states that “a brisk 20- to 30-minute walk can have the same calming effect as a mild tranquilizer.” Once the cloud of anger is gone, it is much easier to think clearly and come back to the problem with a fresh perspective.
Give Yourself a Break
Sometimes, we can get angry simply because there’s too much visual and auditory stimulation, which can make it hard to think (also known as sensory overload). Mayo Clinic suggests giving yourself a break every now and then on those stressful days. They affirm that “A few moments of quiet time might help you feel better prepared to handle what’s ahead without getting irritated or angry.
Use “I” Statements Instead of “You” Statements
Using “I” statements help to focus your statements on your emotions and how you feel. Mayo Clinic warns that using “you”statements might only increase tension between the two parties. An example of an I statement is, “I feel sad when I come home after a long day to an untidy apartment,” vs. “You never clean up around here!”
Know Your Triggers
Triggers can sometimes be hard to spot when you are not looking for them. However, if you can tune into your body and surroundings and identify what your warning signs and triggers are, you can take preemptive actions to calm the anger before you boil over. HelpGuide.org lists some of these common warning signs: knots in your stomach, seeing red, heavy breathing, tension around your shoulders, and headaches.
Know When to Seek Professional Help
Anger can get the best of anyone. Know that it is okay to seek help and that seeking professional help for anger management is not weak. Help Guide.org suggests that if your anger is still spiraling out of control even after breathing and relaxation techniques, go to therapy or attend anger management classes. We all need unbiased opinions and help. If your anger is difficult to handle, talk to a professional.