Anger is a very common and natural emotion that everyone experiences regularly throughout their lifetime. However, anger can spike and become intense and difficult to manage, this is when it can have negative consequences on both in the short-term and long-term. If struggling with anger management is something you can relate to, there are several skills and tools you can use to manage anger spikes and express your true feeling effectively.

One of the most effective tools for anger management is mindfulness. Mindfulness includes purposefully paying attention to the present moment without judgment. This can allow you to interact with your feelings of anger more intentionally and more in-line with your values. As you become more aware of your anger in the moment, it will have less influence over your behaviours and choices.

A second skill for anger management is relaxation techniques. There are a few different techniques that many people find effective such as paced breathing, progressive muscle relaxation and visualization/meditation. These techniques can help you calm your body and then your mind. A relaxed body and an angry mood are not compatible and will allow your anger impulses to simply pass by.

One way that anger can gain more control is through ineffective communication. When you are feeling angry, the drive to feel vindicated often can take priority over your other values which can damage relationships and other life circumstances. To help reduce the likelihood of this issue, a third tool that can help can be building a safe space with a trusted support to vent out your feelings and learn to communicate them in a genuine and effective way. By communicating your feelings in a healthy way, such as with “I feel” statements, you can better understand what feelings are beneath your anger and find ways to address it.

Problem-solving skills are also helpful in managing anger. This requires taking a step back and approaching the issue with a different part of your brain to remove triggers. Viewing an issue as an exercise in problem solving rather than a personal trigger, allows you to reduce the reactivity to this trigger.

Lastly, one of the most effective skills for anger management is building empathy for others. This skill seeks to consider the thoughts, feelings and perspectives of others, especially those who may be the source of your anger. This skill can help in finding the human experience with which you can relate and empathize. It is difficult to remain angry at someone while empathizing with their feelings or understanding of their experiences.