Anger is a normal human emotion. How you handle your anger makes all the difference in how a situation progresses.
If you occasionally find yourself getting angry or “losing it” by doing or saying things you later regret, good news! You can alter how you respond to feelings of anger.
Taking a cognitive behavioral approach to anger might be your best bet in learning to more effectively manage your anger.
These strategies will help you to tame your angry feelings for a more positive outcome:
1. Consistently monitor your feelings. To more effectively manage your anger, try staying connected with your emotions at all times. This way, you can be proactive in heading off any anger that could be developing.
2. Learn to identify your emotions. When you can put a name on how you’re feeling, like “annoyed” or “frustrated,” you’ll learn to better understand yourself and how your emotions work.
3. Recognize the first signs of negative feelings. Annoyance, irritation, and frustration are all precursors to anger. These emotions can signal the potential of an impending angry outburst.
4. Remove yourself from the location or situation. As soon as you sense the development of the precursors to anger, it’s time vacate the area. This way, you won’t be reacting later in ways that will come back to haunt you. Instead, you’ll have time to cool down before you respond.
5. State briefly how you feel. Let people know that you’re feeling annoyed, frustrated or irritated, and that you’re going in the other room (or out for a walk) until you feel calmer. Then, leave the room. When you’re feeling annoyed or irritated isn’t the best time to engage in a discussion that could inflame those feelings.
6. Let your partner know that you’re working on your anger issues. If you’re striving to better manage your feelings, your partner will probably be pleased. Share with them that you’ll be exiting the situation temporarily whenever you believe you’re getting all worked up.
7. Practice letting go of negative feelings. Whenever you find yourself with high emotions, learn to allow your feelings to pass through you and away from you. Use visualization to imagine them floating up to the sky in a big, black cloud and drifting away. Promise yourself you’ll hold no grudges against anyone.
8. Journal your feelings. If writing down your frustrations and describing your anger helps to dissipate those negative feelings, go ahead and do it. Picture yourself dumping out your emotions onto the page. When you’re done writing, you’re finished with the feelings. Leave your feelings of anger on the paper.
9. Soothe yourself. Tell yourself that you’ve made it this far and you’ll get through these upsetting feelings. Do something that lightens your emotions like watching your favorite comedy on TV, listening to your favorite upbeat music, taking a walk, or waxing the car. Whatever activity helps you calm down and relax can be used to self-soothe.
- Avoid using food, alcohol, or other substances as methods of making you feel better. If you’re inclined to use these, try a cup of non-caffeinated tea instead.
10. Discuss the situation later. When you’re no longer upset, talk about how you felt using “I” statements and a calm tone of voice.
11. Celebrate small successes. Recognize episodes when you calmly exited and avoided an angry display of emotions. You handled your feelings successfully. Give yourself a mental pat on the back!
As you learn to manage your anger, you’ll feel more self-confidence and contentment in life. Employ the above strategies and learn to be a better partner and a happier person by successfully handling your temper and emotions.