Everyone gets angry at some point in their lives. Whether it’s over a disagreement with friends or family, a stranger cutting you off in traffic, or during an argument with a coworker, feeling angry from time to time is perfectly normal and healthy.
But if you find that you are constantly angry, and you can’t seem to stop yourself from venting your feelings on the people around you, then you might have an anger management problem. Difficulties managing anger and acting out in destructive rather than constructive ways can affect your interpersonal relationships, career prospects, and can even lead to health problems.
If you have a short fuse that’s affecting you both personally and professionally, here are some tips which can help you maintain a cool head and get your anger under control. Some of these strategies are not a replacement for proper anger management therapy, but can provide a starting point for you to express your emotions without hurting others or yourself.
1. Take A Timeout
A timeout is the easiest and most basic anger management tool to use and practise. It means removing yourself from the situation and allowing yourself to calm down rather than reacting aggressively or negatively. They should be self-imposed and can de-escalate situations and prevent disagreements from boiling over.
Taking timeouts is a skill that takes time to master. They can be especially effective at the heat of the moment, but should be diplomatically communicated to everyone involved. Timeouts can also be taken at any time of the day to relieve stress and to better prepare yourself for difficult situations.
2. Relaxation And Meditation
For many, anger is the most natural response to negative experiences. It can be a struggle to think clearly when the red fog descends, and in many cases people are often ashamed of the way they behaved when they were angry.
Relaxation and meditation techniques can be beneficial for those with trouble containing their emotions. It can be thought of as a psychotherapy technique that allows a person to be in the present and more aware of their feelings. It makes you shift the focus away from the situation and towards your reaction to external events to break the cycle of negative thinking patterns.
Meditation should be practised in both stressful and non-stressful situations. Close your eyes or focus on an object. Breathe slowly and deeply and try to be aware of each movement. If your mind begins to get distracted, bring your attention back to your breathing.
3. Recognise The Warning Signs
Anger can sometimes seem to take over in a flash. But it is a physiological reaction that has warning signs before you act on it. Identifying these warning signs and taking appropriate action can prevent your anger from causing you to blow your top off.
These warning signs can include an elevated heart rate, rapid breathing, mind racing, or clenched fists. Take note of these signs and keep a watch out for them the next time you face a potentially anger-inducing situation.
4. Seek Professional Help
If your anger has had deeply negative impacts on your life and you struggle to contain it on your own, you can always consider professional anger management therapy. Sometimes your anger may have deeper psychological roots than you realise. Mental health conditions like PTSD and depression can cause aggressive outbursts and increased irritability. Uncovering the roots of your anger can help solve the problem rather than treat the symptoms.
Anger management therapy sessions can also teach you additional techniques to cope with your anger and how to incorporate them into your daily life. They can also help you identify your triggers for anger, allow you to understand why they elicit such a reaction, and allow you to change unhelpful thought patterns.
Just by realising that your anger is causing problems in your life, is already a step in the right direction. Once you admit and accept that you may have an issue that needs to be dealt with, you’re already on your way to creating a more positive environment for yourself and those around you. Anger can sometimes get you what you need at the moment, but over time it destroys relationships and leads to long-term consequences.
At Redwood Psychology, we believe that psychotherapy in Singapore should be accessible to all. We are always evolving and finding new ways to deliver effective mental help through our client-centric, results-driven methods. Contact us today to learn more and make an appointment with us.