Twelve Tips for Managing Anger
1. Breathe
Pause and take some calming breaths. If you can, close your eyes and focus on your breathing. Slowly take a deep breath. Fill your lungs to a capacity that’s comfortable for you. Then slowly release this breath. Don’t release it in a sudden exhale but control it so it’s slow and smooth. Continue to take slow, even breaths…in and out. You’ll feel your muscles start to relax, and your mind will begin to calm.
2. Step away from the situation or put away your phone.
Our reactions when we’re angry can be out of character, and we can regret our actions once we’ve calmed down. So, if you can, physically remove yourself from the space until you calm down. And put away your phone. Text messages or phone calls made in anger are the worst and you can’t take them back.
3. Acknowledge how you’re feeling
It’s okay to not feel okay. When you’ve had a chance to calm down, examine why the situation/person/event made you angry. Was it a rational response? Or was it an overreaction? Think about other ways you could handle the situation if something similar occurs.
4. Write it down
This can be cathartic. Write down how you’re feeling in a journal or on a piece of paper. This lets you get it out and then reflect on your feelings, which can help you understand why you react in a particular way. It can also help you get a better handle on your emotions.
5. Then let it go
In the end, holding on to anger only makes us and those close to us unhappy.
6. Be kind to yourself
Use simple strategies to reduce stress; try exercising, talking with a friend, meditating, making a cup of tea or doing something creative. Whatever relaxes you, do it! It’ll help you put your stress and anger behind you and make you feel more energised and positive.
7. Be kind to others
Nothing makes you feel better than being kind to others. It can be as simple as letting someone in front of you at the checkout, holding the elevator, complementing a colleague on their work, thanking the delivery person, hugging your kids. These small acts of kindness are easy to do and go a long way to making us all feel better and less angry.
8. Create a daily routine to increase feelings of control
A regular daily routine gives you control in a time when so much is out of our control. Separate work and non-work time. Prioritise your connections with others, healthy eating, sleep and exercise. Have a work week routine and a weekend routine.
9. Agree to disagree
Don’t let your differences affect your relationships with others. We’re all feeling heightened emotions, and we’ve all got our opinions. A lot has been thrown at us in the last 2-3 years but if there’s tension or anger when discussing certain viewpoints, agree to disagree, and move on.
10. Monitor your social media use and limit your news intake
Too much media can increase feelings of frustration and anger. Try limiting your time on socials and spend the time doing other things that are more enjoyable and relaxing.
11. Be careful with drugs and alcohol
While it might seem like an easy way to unwind when you’re stressed or angry, drugs and alcohol won’t solve the issues that make you angry. So just be careful here. It’s an easy habit to fall into and a hard habit to break.
12. Seek help from a professional
Anger is an important emotion, but if you start to feel it more and more, it can be detrimental to your health and wellbeing. So next time you start to get worked up, try these strategies to get you through. Alternatively, if you are unable to manage your anger talk to your doctor or your EAP Assist counsellor.