Keeping Your Anger Under Control
Anger is a natural, and sometimes healthy, emotion. Unfortunately, if anger is handled the wrong way, it can damage relationships and affect professional and social growth. Learning where your anger comes from and how to deal with it can help lead to a happier, more productive life.
Understand your anger's origins. Some people are born with a tendency to be irritable or easily angered. If you have a history of dysfunction or chaos in your family, you are more likely to have anger problems. Society can also be an influence. Anger is often thought of as a negative emotion, so people are not always taught to deal with it effectively.
Recognize how you display your anger. Perhaps you isolate yourself or become physically ill. Maybe you have a low tolerance for frustration and can't let things go. Or you may find yourself acting in ways that seem out of control, and your reactions scare those around you.
Take action. Once you decide that you'd like to work on controlling your anger, develop an action plan. Here are some tips to help you handle anger more constructively:
Cool down. Before dealing with the person who is making you angry, release energy by taking some time by yourself. Try going for a walk.
Relax. Breathe deeply, repeat calming words, or visualize a relaxing place.
Use logic. Remember that getting angry is not going to fix things and that much of the stress that you are facing is a part of daily life.
Communicate. When having a conflict with another person, listen carefully to the meaning behind what the person is trying to say instead of immediately reacting.
Be aware. Learn to recognize your triggers. Mentally prepare yourself for a situation that tends to make you angry, or try to avoid the situation altogether.
If your anger is severely out of control or has a large impact on everyday life, you may need professional help. Talk with your health care provider if you are concerned.
- Nelson, Gail A., MS, APRN, BC
- newMentor board-certified, academically affiliated clinician