How to control your anger
Everybody gets angry, but out-of-control rage isn’t good for you or those around you.
When you can’t control your anger, you may use words or do thing that you could regret later, get into fist-fights or drive recklessly, for example, endangering yourself and others.
But anger also plays havoc with your own body. Research shows that anger can increase people’s — especially men’s — chances of developing coronary heart disease and having worse outcomes if they already have heart disease. Anger can also lead to stress-related problems, such as insomnia, digestive problems, and headaches.
You can learn to control your anger, however. In one study for example, cognitive-behavioral therapy improved people’s control of their anger and reduced their hostility, aggression, and depression. Here are some strategies you can use to simmer down. If you are in a relationship with a hot-tempered partner, you could both benefit from these techniques.
1. Think before you speak or act out of anger
2. Once you’re calm, express your anger
3. Get some exercise
Physical activity can help reduce stress that can cause you to become angry. If you feel your anger escalating, go for a brisk walk or run, or spend some time doing other enjoyable physical activities.
4. Take a timeout
Timeouts aren’t just for kids. Give yourself short breaks during times of the day that tend to be stressful. A few moments of quiet time might help you feel better prepared to handle what’s ahead without getting irritated or angry.
5. Identify possible solutions
Instead of focusing on what made you mad, work on resolving the issue at hand. Does your child’s messy room drive you crazy? Close the door. Is your partner late for dinner every night? Schedule meals later in the evening — or agree to eat on your own a few times a week. Remind yourself that anger won’t fix anything and might only make it worse.
6. Stick with ‘I’ statements
To avoid criticizing or placing blame — which might only increase tension — use “I” statements to describe the problem. Be respectful and specific. For example, say, “I’m upset that you left the table without offering to help with the dishes,” instead of, “You never do any housework.”
7. Don’t hold a grudge
Forgiveness is a powerful tool. If you allow anger and other negative feelings to crowd out positive feelings, you might find yourself swallowed up by your own bitterness or sense of injustice. But if you can forgive someone who angered you, you might both learn from the situation. It’s unrealistic to expect everyone to behave exactly as you want at all times.
8. Use humor to release tension
9. Practice relaxation skills
10. Know when to seek help