Anger is an emotion, not a behavior, that arises as a result of negative stimuli such as making a mistake, missing out on an opportunity, being offended, or experiencing discrimination. Anger affects most of us, from when we are children and teens to later as adults.
There are many things in our everyday lives that make us angry, from missing out on the last parking space at the office to spilling a carton of milk, but not everyone experiences anger in the same way. People with different personalities feel different emotions when dealing with the same stimuli. For example, a timid person may feel sadness when misplacing their keys, but an extrovert could feel rage.
Anger, like all emotions, is part instinctive and part learned, meaning that levels of anger and displays of aggression can be controlled and reduced by learning new techniques. When anger becomes persistent and has negative consequences such as violence or stress, individuals are often encouraged to use anger management techniques to regulate anger and cope with difficult emotions.
Here are 3 essential anger management tips that anyone can implement to regulate strong feelings of anger and aggression on a daily basis:
1. Count to 10
One of the simplest and most effective anger management tips to diffuse anger and heated situations is to take a break. By simply counting to 10 in your head you stop yourself from impulsively responding aggressively or violently in the ‘heat of the moment’. Your temper will quickly defuse if you don’t indulge it instantly, giving your rational brain time to take stock of the situation and deliver a more neutral response. It also helps to sit down while counting, taking your body out of an aggressive power stance.
2. Ask yourself why
Oftentimes anger is a result of displaced aggression. For example, you had a bad day at work, then you get disproportionately angry at your partner when you get home. Was leaving the jar off the pickles really that bad? What you’re experiencing in these situations is displaced anger, where the emotion has been stored until a more suitable outlet can be found (your brain knows that shouting at your boss may have worse consequences). When you feel anger, ask yourself why you have the emotion, did anything else happen today or last week that might have caused it? Displaced aggression can be very damaging to children as they naturally assume they deserve the aggressive display.
3. Let it out
If you are going to be angry, you could as well be constructive about it. Acting impulsively can lead to poor decision making, and storing anger can lead to displaced aggression (see point 2. above). Therefore, one of the best anger management techniques to stop anger controlling your life is to let it out in a constructive way. Many people find exercise and sport to be great releases for anger and stress and depending on your blood type personality you may find that team sports or individual pursuits suit you best. Aside from being excellent for our health, the endorphins released during exercise are also natural mood boosters.
By using these anger management tips you can take steps to reduce anger and learn to be more amicable around others, feel more relaxed and achieve more positivity, leading to a happier and healthier lifestyle.