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How to Control Anger Issues?

July 14, 2023

9 min read

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Author : United We Care
How to Control Anger Issues?

Introduction

His Holiness, the Dalai Lama, holds many meetings and lectures on topics like emotions. He considers anger to be an emotion that brings blind energy which clouds your judgment. Maybe you, too, have experienced this phenomenon. You get triggered, you get angry, and you burst, sometimes at people who triggered you and at others, the innocent people who were around you. Whether it’s sudden anger or simmering anger, this emotion can make your life a living hell.  The good news is that you can control it with practice and effort. In this article, we will explore some strategies to do exactly that. We will also help you understand how you can find help from therapists in your journey to get over your anger.

How to Control Anger Outbursts Immediately?

When anger takes over, it does most of the bidding, and we feel out of control. Some authors consider outbursts or “rage” to be the strongest form of anger which can become physical and where the person might lose control over their actions [1]. However, there are steps we can take to regain composure and manage these intense emotions [1] [2] [3] [4].

How to Control Anger Outbursts Immediately?

 

  1. Recognize Signs of Anger: There is little control you that you can exert on your emotions if you don’t become aware of them. The first step in controlling anger is to become aware of how it starts in you, when it starts, and what it does to your mind and body. You might have already noticed some physical and emotional signs like clenched fists or tense muscles. Try to note these signs, and the moment these things begin, try to go to one of your coping strategies.
  2. Take a Pause: When anger is building up, one of the best things you can do is to disengage. Instead of starting a fight with your own self where you try to control or suppress it, acknowledge that it has come up, and you need to take a pause. If at all possible, try to remove yourself from the situation, take a few deep breaths, and try to distract yourself. This can help you regain control over your emotions and think more rationally. You can try to ground yourself in the present moment or focus on a task that requires your whole attention. This will help you move away from the trigger at hand.
  3. Release the Anger and Use Grounding Techniques: Releasing the energy that the emotion of anger brings can help manage anger by engaging in physical activity like walking or working out and using grounding techniques that redirect attention away from anger and towards the present moment. Some examples include engaging senses by focusing on things one can see, touch, hear, smell, or taste; squeezing a stress ball or rubbing hands together; or drinking or splashing oneself with cold water.
  4. Cognitive Reframing: Challenging negative thought patterns and reframing one’s perspective can prevent anger from escalating. Thoughts of being mistreated, being unheard, or someone intentionally harming one’s self often trigger anger. Consciously replacing anger-inducing interpretations with more rational or positive ones can shift our emotional response and regain control of our reactions.
  5. Identify triggers: Being prepared can also help. Each of us has something which acts like fuel to the fire. You can try reflecting on your previous episodes of anger and find patterns among them. Keeping a journal to record situations, thoughts, or events that provoke anger can give you more control over how to act when you know triggers might be around the corner.
  6. Develop Healthy Coping Mechanisms: Anger can also be frequent in individuals experiencing stress or emotional turmoil. The best solution to this is to develop overall healthy coping strategies so that the day-to-day issues do not become spaces of trigger. Some suggestions could be engaging in activities that help release pent-up emotions, such as exercising, writing in a journal, painting, listening to calming music, etc.

Read more about Anger management during times of stress

How to Control Anger in a Relationship?

Anger can destroy your relationships. Managing and expressing anger healthily and constructively is essential for maintaining harmonious relations. Some tips to control anger and communicate effectively in relationships are [5] [6] [7]:

  1. Notice your Thoughts: Aggression in a relationship arises from negative attributions of the partner’s actions, such as perceiving the partner to have acted in deliberate ways to harm them. For instance, you got angry because your partner forgot to bring some items form the grocery. When this happened, you started perceiving them as irresponsible and as someone who does not care about you. Such attributions will add to the anger compared to communicating with them and asking the reason for their forgetfulness. You might find that in the latter, the partner may either apologize, give you a reason, or admit their mistake.
  2. Communicate Assertively: Expressing anger assertively rather than aggressively can facilitate open dialogue and understanding. Clearly stating our feelings using the “I statement” technique encourages active listening and promotes empathetic responses. Continuing the example above, you can share your feelings by telling your partner that “I feel disregarded when you forget some items, and that makes me angry. Can you tell me what happened?”. This will remove blame from them and facilitate conversation.
  3. Practice Active Listening: Listening attentively and with empathy when conflicts arise can foster a sense of validation and understanding. One must focus on building understanding instead of winning in an argument. For instance, when your partner answers by saying that it completely slipped their mind and it was not intentional, you can focus on empathizing instead of solidifying your belief that they are irresponsible.

Sometimes, anger within relationships can take the form of intimate partner violence. If this is something you are going through, then a better approach would be to reach out to trusted individuals and professionals instead of waiting it out or trying to fix things yourself. Even in other situations, you can consider taking professional services where a qualified professional can help address relational issues and set healthy boundaries.

Read more about the Effects of Anger

How can an Anger Management Therapist Help you Control Anger?

The world around us discounts the importance of therapy, especially when the main issue is of anger and managing anger. However, working alongside a trained anger therapist can be of great help to you. It can help in [8] [9]:

How can an Anger Management Therapist Help you Control Anger?

  1. Understanding Anger: Anger is a complex emotion. Sometimes it occurs to protect you, sometimes, it occurs in response to an attack, and at other times, it can indicate a deep unresolved issue. We usually just notice its devastating outcomes and try to control it without understanding why it was there in the first place. Through therapy sessions, you can learn about the source of your anger and also understand the beliefs and patterns that help in maintaining anger. You can also learn how anger affects you, how it begins, takes root, and what are its results.
  2. Understanding Triggers and Patterns: Through therapy sessions, individuals can better understand their unique triggers for anger. Continuing the point above, once you start exploring your anger, you also begin to explore the triggers that cause it. These triggers can be thoughts, situations, or beliefs, and therapists can help you identify the patterns underlying them.
  3. Learning Coping Strategies: Anger therapists employ evidence-based techniques to equip individuals with practical tools for managing anger. There are many therapies and tools which specifically help with anger management, including but not limited to cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), relaxation exercises, assertiveness training, etc. So once you begin therapy, you start developing better coping strategies, and you start practicing them as well.
  4. Learning Essential Skills:  People who have difficulty expressing themselves or those who have lower frustration tolerance are often triggered easily. Both of these are skills we need to learn as we grow up. When you visit an anger management therapist, they help you build these essential skills so that you can learn and work towards long-term anger management.
  5. Support and AccountabilityAn anger therapist provides a supportive space where individuals can openly express their anger without judgment. This is probably the biggest help because anger also comes with a lot of guilt and shame around it. We are rarely given a space to be free of our anger, and when we get a space with a non-judgemental person, we are able to let out this emotion freely.

Read more about how to find an anger therapist

Conclusion

Anger is an emotion that is not to be taken lightly. Those who leave it unchecked are pretty much playing with fire and run the risk of destroying their relationships. When left unchecked, anger can have severe consequences on our mental, emotional, and relational well-being. But you can prevent this from happening by practicing anger management techniques and trying to seek help from a therapist. 

If you are an individual who struggles with anger issues, you can contact the experts at United We Care. Our psychologists and psychiatrists are well-equipped to provide you with the best solutions for your well-being. Additionally, you can join our wellness program on Anger Management, where expert facilitators guide you in tackling anger issues. 

References

  1. R. T. Potter-Efron, Handbook of Anger Management: Individual, Couple, Family, and Group Approaches. Hoboken: Taylor & Francis, 2012.
  2. A. Morin, “Anger management techniques to calm you down fast,” Verywell Mind, https://www.verywellmind.com/anger-management-strategies-4178870 (accessed Jul. 13, 2023).
  3. R. W. Novaco and R. DiGiuseppe, “Strategies for controlling your anger: Keeping anger in check,” American Psychological Association, https://www.apa.org/topics/anger/strategies-controlling (accessed Jul. 13, 2023).
  4. J. A. Witten, R. Coetzer, and O. H. Turnbull, “Shades of rage: Applying the process model of emotion regulation to managing anger after Brain Injury,” Frontiers in Psychology, vol. 13, 2022. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2022.834314
  5. Ph. D. Jeremy Sutton, “Your anger management guide: Best techniques & exercises,” PositivePsychology.com, https://positivepsychology.com/anger-management-techniques/ (accessed Jul. 13, 2023).
  6. I. D. Dewi and M. N. Kyranides, “Physical, verbal, and relational aggression: The Role of Anger Management Strategies,” Journal of Aggression, Maltreatment & Trauma, vol. 31, no. 1, pp. 65–82, 2021. doi:10.1080/10926771.2021.1994495
  7. W. D. Gentry, Anger Management for Dummies. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley, 2007.
  8.  S. Gupta, “What is anger management therapy?,” Verywell Mind, https://www.verywellmind.com/anger-management-therapy-definition-techniques-and-efficacy-5192566 (accessed Jul. 13, 2023).
  9. D. C. Cundiff, “5 benefits of Anger Management therapy: Mental health wa,” Bayview Recovery Rehab Center, https://www.bayviewrecovery.com/rehab-blog/5-benefits-of-anger-management-therapy/ (accessed Jul. 13, 2023).

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Author : United We Care

Founded in 2020, United We Care (UWC) is providing mental health and wellness services at a global level, UWC utilizes its team of dedicated and focused professionals with expertise in mental healthcare, to solve 2 essential missing components in the market, sustained user engagement and program efficacy/outcomes.

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