Managing Anger

Do you find it difficult to control your temper at times? Anger is a perfectly normal emotion – it’s the way we express it that can lead to problems.

If we aren’t taught in childhood how to safely express emotions such as anger, or if we’re not shown that it’s ok to have emotions, it can lead to suppression followed by uncontrollable outbursts, or depression as the anger turns inwards.

Can anger ever be useful? It can certainly motivate us against injustice, propelling us to action when we see wrongs being committed. Anger is signalling to us that something isn’t right.

So, anger itself isn’t necessarily the problem. It’s how we manage and express it that can be.

Learning to ‘respond’ rather than ‘react’ is the key to anger management, and that takes awareness and practice.

Here are some quick tips for dealing with anger in a more constructive way:

  • Learn – become aware of - what your triggers are – keep a diary/journal of your anger episodes, who you were with, what you were doing, what you thought, said, did, how you calmed down.
  • Be aware of the ‘warning signs’ in your body that you’re getting angry. These can include the ‘fight or flight’ feelings of faster breathing, sweaty palms, racing thoughts, tunnel vision, clenched fists.
  • Do something to calm yourself down. This could be as simple as taking a deep breath and saying the word ‘calm’ to yourself as you breathe out; focusing your attention on something else; taking yourself away from the trigger situation; doing something calming like mindfulness or meditation.
  • Be assertive - meaning you calmly get your point across and ask for what you need, but you do so while also respecting the other person’s rights and needs. You may have to come to a compromise, but it’s a respectful compromise where you both feel you have been heard and understood by the other.

Counselling can help you manage and respond better in every situation. Learning about yourself and your triggers is the first step towards change.

* The email will not be published on the website.