Anger management in Adults | Controlling Anger

By Dr Aruna Sri Sikha

Last Updated: November 26, 2021

It is easy for anyone to be angry. But the actual task lies in being angry with the right person, to the right degree, at the right time, for the right purpose, and in the right way. The stressors of life such as having financial issues, housing problems or difficulties in relationships, could trigger the anger. For some people, the anger becomes a bigger problem that it gets much worse and gets in the way of normal life. When anger becomes too strong, happens to get too often and lasts for too long, it spoils the relationships and the work especially when it leads to violence or aggression. Hence, it is important to know the tips for anger management. Controlling anger is necessary for smooth running of daily life.

Anger management:

Your mood can be affected by a lot of stuff you can’t control, like friends, your family and even the weather. Your behavior affects the way people think about you and react to you. If feeling angry and acting angry are two different things, what can you do to handle the way you act? Well, first you need to know what gets you anger. Everyone has things that make them anger. Let’s call them the anger triggers.
Usually, anger can be the result of hurt pride, of unreasonable expectations, or of repeated hostile fantasies that we encounter. It also happens that we may unconsciously use anger to blame others for our own shortcomings, to justify dominating others, to conceal other feelings, and to handle other emotions and so on.

Anger is the strong emotion that may do more harm than any other emotion. First of all it is very common and secondly, it upsets at least two people and the people who are the targets of anger, get angry in return. We can actually reduce or manage this anger. Anger management does not mean holding anger in. It does not mean that you will never feel angry. Anger management is managing the behavioural responses that can arise when you are feeling angry.

An angry man
An angry man

Sometimes you may feel like slamming doors, screaming, or kicking a wall. Doing these things won’t help you feel less angry, and they will probably get you into trouble. You have to learn how to manage your anger. If you learn positive ways to express your anger, you won’t get into trouble for misbehavior.

Tips to Prevent your anger

Here are some tips to prevent your anger before getting into trouble of unhelpful thoughts and misbehavior.

  • Know yourself. That is the key to prevent anger. Nobody can make you angry without your consent.
  • It is always true that you cannot change others as easily as you can change yourself. Keep in mind that you should learn from your mistakes rather than getting angry.
  • Learn to say a NO.
  • To have a day free of anger, choose a job you love.
  • Not having an idea creates most of the problems. Try organizing your mind and organize your desk for six minutes every hour.

Accept it

  • Accept what you cannot change & change what you cannot accept.
  • Never hesitate to ask even stupid questions to avoid mistakes, which could further avoid others getting angry with you.
  • Be ready to avoid or reduce the others. Say sorry at the right moment.
  • Never reply to a letter when you are angry. It makes things worse.
  • Working well is the best remedy for all angers.
  • Make common sense your best friend to reduce your anger and the anger of others.
  • If all else fails, lower your standards to make you less angry.
  • Do not just catch your employees or your children doing wrong things; it will make you angry. Instead, catch them doing right things; it increases your patience.
  • When people tend to forget things, use your creativity to remind them. This makes your thinking sharper while reducing your anger.
  • You must understand that most people remember only 20% of what they hear.
  • Use humor to help yourself face anger more constructively. Of course, don’t give in to harsh, sarcastic humor that’s just another form of unhealthy anger expression.
  • Make sure you have some “personal time” scheduled for times of the day that you know are particularly stressful.
  • If you are a working mother, make a rule that when you come home from work, for the first 15 minutes “nobody talks to Mom unless the house is on fire.” This brief quiet time, helps you feel better to be prepared to handle demands from your children without blowing up at them.

Channelize your thoughts

  • Don’t make yourself look at what irritates you. If your child’s chaotic room makes you furious every time you walk by it, shut the door to keep you calm.
  • If your daily travel through traffic leaves you in a state of anger and frustration, learn or map out a different route, one that’s less crowded.
  • Channel your energy into exercise. It increases the release of feel good brain chemicals called endorphins, which help you relax.
  • Delay your reaction that can make all the difference between blowing your top and dealing with the situation calmly and constructively.
  • If you feel the urge to throw something or hit out, remove yourself from the situation and try taking it out on something soft like a cushion that you won’t damage and which won’t hurt you.
  • Most importantly, Never go to bed with an argument unsettled.

Have a Calm Mind

Imagine what your calmest friend would say to you and give yourself the
same advice. Respond instead of react. Take a walk around the block or in the parking lot. Watch a relaxing or funny video online. Have a quick chat with someone you love. Place your family photos on the desk you work and display images and mementos that remind you of your life, outside the office. This increases a self-image which you obviously tend to keep up and the anger gets reduced making you think and act in a polished way.
Count from 10 to 1. Find a trusted person to talk to about what is bothering you. Get a hug or give a hug. Think of a peaceful place or look at a picture of a peaceful place. Listen to music or play music on an instrument. Talk yourself into being calm: say, “Be calm, be calm” or “I can handle this”. Feel your pulse, tense and relax your muscles, visualize yourself calming down. Distract yourself or take yourself out of the situation that made you angry. Read a- magazine, Do a crossword, Go for a walk or Get a drink of water. Redirect your energy into another creative activity. Pour out how you feel in writing.

A happy woman
A happy woman

Observe Yourself

Take a few moments just to relax, to help you feel calm, practice this short relaxation session and then react calmly, rather than acting out of emotion. Then you can proceed with your day and react in a way that you choose to. Relaxing for a moment now will help. It’s okay to be angry. Just allow yourself to feel however you are feeling right now. Just notice this feeling, but not reacting yet. At this point, all you’re doing is observing. Emotions are neither right nor wrong, they just are. Take a deep breath in. Hold for a moment, and now breathe out. Breathe in… hold that tension…. and now breathe out…. feeling the tension release with your breath.
Breathe in…. and out…….
Keep breathing like this, slowly…. deeply…. and let your body relax a little. Turn your attention again to how you are feeling. Notice the physical sensation of anger. Where in your body is the anger stored? Some people notice that they tighten their shoulders when they are feeling angry. Others who deal with anger notice clenched fists or tight jaws. Anger may be experienced as a feeling in the stomach…. the neck…. any one or several places in the body that demonstrate physical symptoms of anger. Many of these physical symptoms are uncomfortable. Some of these symptoms can be relieved right now, by relaxing your muscles.

Relax Yourself

Let’s relax a few areas to begin this process to deal with anger by relaxing your muscles. Starting with your hands and arms, first, tighten your hands into fists. Feel the tension in your hands and arms. Hold…. tighter…. and relax. Let go, allowing your hands and arms to be relaxed, and loose. Notice the difference between tension and relaxation.

Now create a feeling of relaxation in your shoulders. Take a moment to relax your shoulders now. Simply relax your shoulders without tensing them first. Then tighten the muscles, and then relax. Focus now on your face and jaws. Relax your face and jaws, tensing first if you want to. Let all the tension leave your face….. Let the tension leave your jaws…. leaving your face and jaws limp, smooth, and relaxed. Scan your body from head to toe…. relax each part of your body.
Notice how you are feeling now, both Physically and Emotionally. Right now, you are controlling your anger, and you have not yet reacted with angry behaviours. You have chosen to relax, to deal with anger in a healthy way.

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Breathe out your anger

To increase the control you have over anger, imagine that you are feeling anger right now and accept the way you feel. Imagine that you are gaining power to control your reactions. Now you are fully experiencing anger and you are waiting to take action. You are calm and in control at the same time. Notice again how you are feeling. Physically, how are you feeling? Let your body relax a little more. Observe how emotions come and go…. anger can come and go…. it will not last forever. There is a limited time where you exercise self-control, before the anger is no longer an issue. You may feel less angry… just as angry… or angrier now, than you were at the beginning of this relaxation session.

To deal with anger that may remain, you need a way to express the anger and get it out. You do not have to keep your emotions inside… you can choose how to express them. Now let anger out by breathing deeply…. breathing in relaxation, and breathing out anger…. letting anger go with each breath.
You should feel a decrease in anger and feel calm. Now choose to address the situation that was upsetting by taking action to change the situation, or speak to the person you were upset with. Or you may just choose to let the situation go.

Let it go.. Step by step

Once your anger has decreased you can choose whatever option seems best. You have the right to feel a range of emotions, including anger, and to express these emotions in healthy ways that you choose. Now take a deep breathe in…. and out…. relax with each breath. Take a deep breathe in….. and out….
Breathe in….. and out….
Keep breathing deeply to deal with anger and feel relaxed and calm. Appreciate yourself for dealing with anger with relaxation. I’ll count now from 5 to 1. Imagine that right now, you are at a 5 and that when I reach 1 you will be feeling awake and alert, yet calm, peaceful, and relaxed.
This is how breathing techniques work in controlling your anger. Do you still doubt on your anger management? We recommend contacting an expert for helping with this. Book an appointment today.

FAQs on Anger Management and Relaxation

1. How can I effectively manage my anger?

  • Effective anger management involves understanding your anger triggers, recognizing the physical signs of anger, and using relaxation techniques to respond calmly rather than reacting impulsively.

2. What are common anger triggers?

  • Anger can be triggered by hurt pride, unreasonable expectations, and repetitive hostile fantasies. It may also be used unconsciously to blame others, justify dominance, or conceal other emotions.

3. How can I prevent anger before it escalates into unhelpful thoughts and actions?

  • To prevent anger, start by knowing yourself and recognizing that nobody can make you angry without your consent. Learning from mistakes, saying no when necessary, and choosing a job you love can also help.

4. Can humour be a useful tool in dealing with anger constructively?

  • Yes, humor can help you face anger more constructively. However, it’s important to avoid harsh or sarcastic humor, as it can escalate anger further.

5. What role does relaxation play in managing anger?

  • Relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing, can help you calm your body and mind when dealing with anger. Relaxation enables you to respond to situations calmly and thoughtfully.

6. How can I relax my body and reduce physical symptoms of anger?

  • Relaxation exercises often involve tightening and then relaxing different muscle groups. This process helps release physical tension associated with anger, promoting a sense of calm.

7. Can relaxation techniques help with emotional anger as well?

  • Yes, relaxation techniques can help with emotional anger by allowing you to observe and accept your feelings. They provide a controlled way to deal with anger and regain a sense of calm.

8. How can I express anger in a healthy way?

  • Expressing anger in a healthy way involves acknowledging your feelings and choosing how to express them. Techniques such as deep breathing, discussing the issue, or taking positive action can help.

9. Are there any additional tips for dealing with anger effectively?

  • Additional tips include redirecting your energy into creative activities, addressing the situation that upset you, or choosing to let it go. Remember, you have the right to feel and express your emotions.

10. When should I consider seeking help for anger management?

  • If you find it challenging to manage your anger or if it significantly impacts your relationships and daily life, it’s advisable to seek help from a qualified expert. They can provide guidance and support in managing your anger.

11. How do breathing techniques help in controlling anger?

  • Breathing techniques involve deep, slow breaths that help relax your body and mind. They can reduce anger by releasing tension and promoting a calm and controlled response to anger triggers.

12. What are the benefits of practicing relaxation and anger management techniques?

  • Practicing these techniques can lead to improved emotional well-being, healthier relationships, and better overall quality of life. They empower you to respond to anger in a constructive and controlled manner.

13. Can you provide more information on finding an expert for anger management?

  • If you need professional help with anger management, consider booking an appointment with a qualified expert who specializes in this area. They can offer personalized guidance and support tailored to your specific needs.

About the Author:

Aruna Sri Sikha, Consultant Psychologist

Aruna Sri Sikha is a seasoned psychologist with over eleven years of rich and diverse experience, having honed her skills in hospital settings, consultation clinics, Indian Navy Family clinics, and counseling centres. Throughout her career, she has been dedicated to providing therapeutic services, offering support and guidance to individuals grappling with a spectrum of psychological challenges. Aruna specializes in addressing issues ranging from coping with chronic illnesses and stress-related concerns to navigating strained relationships, anger management issues and common mental health disorders like depression and anxiety. In addition to her clinical expertise, she shares her knowledge as an assistant professor of psychology, contributing to the education and growth of future mental health professionals. Aruna’s holistic approach and wealth of experience make her a trusted ally in the journey towards mental well-being.

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