Why 7 quick and easy tips to control your anger?
Chances are, if you’re anything like me, you’ve felt a volcanic anger raging around silently inside when you’re stuck behind the slowest driver – ever, when you’re already running late to make that appointment you’ve been waiting a year for. These quick and easy tips will help to control your anger.
Remember that time you get to the shortest queue in the store, and the only lady in front of you holds up the queue while her elderly husband shuffles away to pick up four more tins of special-price baked beans? Did you grit your teeth, and smile weakly, thinking — ‘Aaarrghhh?’ Hold on – these quick and easy tips to control your anger might help. Let’s take a look.
If you sense your control slipping. Just STOP. Take a few calming breaths – whether you believe it or not, it’s scientifically proven that there is a right way and a wrong way to breathe. Therefore, it’s essential that you learn about correct breathing, understand how and why it works and practice.
Being able to use the correct breathing techniques will help your body to relax more quickly. And remember, your body cannot be both relaxed and tense at the same time. You might want to read this post here, Tips for anxiety and panic attacks, which create the same arousal as anger.
Think before you speak
When you’re calmer, having stopped to breathe, think about what you want the other person to hear. What message do you want to get across. What is it you want to tell them. How can you say what you want to say – in a calmer, more effective way so that you feel heard.
You could try telling the other person (s) “I feel sad when you don’t ………” or “it makes me feel lonely when you’re out without me.”
Sometimes it feels as though the whole world is against us but try not to blame others for your anger as nobody can make you feel the way you feel – that’s your job; the feelings department. For instance, when a problematic event occurs, it’s the way we deal with it that determines the current emotions and behavior i.e.
A – Mark goes out with his friends on Friday nights
B– My belief/thought about this i.e. he shouldn’t leave me every Friday night
C – I’m upset, sad, lonely, I feel abandoned
We don’t go from A-C directly, we stop at B and it’s there – our thought/belief that leads to C our feeling bad, angry or lonely. So Mark didn’t make me feel angry. It was my thought that he shouldn’t leave me that makes me sad. So I guess what I’m trying to say is own those feelings. They are yours and yours alone.
You have a choice
A really important point to understand in anger management is responsibility and choice. Nobody ever tells you to scream and shout, use bad language, throw cups or plates around, punch walls or doors, shove someone or hit them.
Remember, it’s always you who chooses to carry out these behaviours … and they all constitute abuse. Therefore, there is no justification in making excuses such as he made me ‘punch him’ or ‘she made me throw the damn cup’. And while you might think throwing a cup is better than hitting her, it amounts to the same thing — abuse!
You’ve still frightened that person, you’ve still displayed excessive anger and it’s still abuse. Nobody ever deserves to be abused by another person. We all have a basic human right, “to be safe and not be abused by anyone”.
Self-awareness is important in order to identify the true reason for your anger. After an incident where you’ve felt anger, later using a pen and paper write down what was said, why you felt angry, how you were feeling (physically i.e. shaking, sweating, anxious) and what you did or said. Were you able to refrain from your usual angry behaviours (i.e. shouting and screaming), and what helped (or didn’t). What were you feeling afterwards. Do you need to work on your anger, can you do it alone or do you need help?
Monitor your anger
It’s natural to get defensive if you’re criticized, but don’t get angry or fight back. Instead, try to listen to what’s underlying the spoken words: might the other person be feeling sad, disappointed or frustrated?
Sometimes you just have to be patient and ask questions about what it is they’re really trying to say. What message are they trying to get across. It’s not easy when you’re feeling hurt and angry so give yourselves some space, otherwise you’ll find the argument spiralling out of control — more angry words are spoken and it’s difficult to stop.
Monitor every single episode of anger and for each one, note down the facts of what happened (teenage neighbour’s ball still landing in your newly planted flower beds, despite asking him to stop ); rate the intensity of your anger 0-10 (where 0 = no anger, and 10 = maximum rage); write down any thoughts or images you were aware of (bursting the damn ball, letting air out of his bike tyres, screaming at his parents, etc.); note any other feelings you were have experiencing at the time (dread, anxiety, shaking,); and what you actually did i.e. (ranting at your mate sitting laughing).
Practicing this for a while might be all you need in order to gain a bit of perspective. Don’t “uh uh” or “duh” it until you try it.
Know that Anger can be a problem
Anger is a normal, usually healthy, human emotion but it becomes a problem when you can’t control it. Anger can lead to physical illness such as heart-attack, high blood pressure and headaches, together with changes in mood, anxiety and depression.
Let’s turn that around – physical and mental illness can also lead to anger – angry that you’re physically ill, as I was when I was medically retired too young.
Your anger may stem from mental illness, where perhaps you get angry because you can’t express your ‘real’ feelings like sadness, loneliness abandonment or even being unable to ask for help. You might want to read this article here, A guide to understanding emotions and feelings.
If you’re unable to control your anger, this will eventually become a problem and start to affect your relationships with loved one, family, friends or in the workplace.
Anger and children
Try not to be angry in front of or at children. Of course they’ll do things you told them not to and they’ll make noise so loud your eardrums are at bursting point and you’re meant to be working from home!
If they’re small children, get down to their eye level and tell them that you’re angry because…….. without screaming blue murder while towering above them. That’s a whole other post. But just remember, you look so big and threatening to little ones — imagine for a second, someone three times taller than you is raging, screaming, banging doors and thundering around!
Why are we all so angry all the time?
In today’s modern, fast-paced world, we’re dashing around furiously, in a race to our imaginary finish line. We’re left exhausted, stressed, time-limited and overwhelmed.We feel increasingly like a pressure cooker about to go bang!
So — we become angry at — umm, everything, such as someone in front of you is you is walking so slowly and you can’t get past. Or the person next to you on the bus is – breathing. If this is you, slow down, and read over this article again.
If you come across an angry person, stop and stay as calm as you possibly can and breathe. Stand back or move away if you feel threatened. Listen to the person and say “I can see you’re angry and I’m listening.” If you’re scared, tell them this and that you’re listening. Knowing you’re willing to listen might calm them down enough to lose the aggression.
If the anger escalates and you think your safety may be at risk, remove yourself from the situation and get help. It’s never okay for someone to be violent or abusive towards you.
If you’re always angry and have thoughts of hitting out at someone or thoughts of self-harm, you must reach out for help. Call a mental health helpline, your GP or counsellor. You can read my list of Useful Mental Health contacts here.
Do you have any quick and easy tips to control anger for someone or someone they know who’s angry all the time? Perhaps you’ve got more tips on how to stay safe if they’re experiencing anger or violence from others. I look forward to reading any comments and answering any questions.
28 thoughts on “7 quick and easy tips to control your anger”
that is so much great info. I’ve been reading self-help books to deal with a recurring relationship pattern I experience with guys. Essentially, I want to be more than friends, but the guy isn’t interested. It sets me off. I can become abusive (with words). I finally, with the help of a self-help book, named my angry side Large Flatulent Marge, and I can feel when she has shown up because I get lightheaded and more tense in my shoulders/neck. But mostly I feel like my head is spinning and about to go into orbit. So far, naming her Large Flatulent Marge makes her seem so funny as to be comical. That helps a great deal. The first thing I can do is recognize that she’s made an appearance. Then, I fart. (You see how funny this is!) I need to keep reading my self-help books about that particular relationship issue. Now that we’re quarantined, I should dust the last book I bought off and open it again.
In other circumstances, if I’m provoked by strangers (like what you were talking about–slow people in line, etc.), I just get all silent and death-glarey. (Just run.) That seems to work without causing any serious issues to anyone.
I love the part about kids, and I’d add that adults should try very hard to NEVER try to get into a power struggle with kids. There’s a huge difference between setting behavior limits versus engaging in power struggles. My abusive mother would seek me out and create power struggles from thin air, and it always ended badly for me. And I always thought I was a bad kid for throwing tantrums and stuff, because I couldn’t see that she was deliberately provoking me and creating the whole conflict. An expanded blog post about not getting angry at children, which you hinted at, would be great!! This is very informative!!
Lol, Large flatulent Marge – love it. hahaha, fart – oh dear, you do make me laugh Meg. Lol, the death glare.
Oh, I do that one great, along with a great big heaving sigh (and I nearly p myself with all that exertion). Someone’s going to take my head clean off my shoulders one day!
Power struggle – arguing with a kid! No way. Wow, your mum deliberately provoking you – big issues there?
Ah ha – now I might do something about speaking with kids appropriately? What do you think? Caz x
Yeah, speaking nicely and appropriately to kids would be great!!!! And oh yes, I have major issues in that regard!! Ugh, my mom’s a narcissist!! Yikes!!
Love it 😉
Lots of a valid points, though I was kind of hoping for a paragraph on when it’s finally acceptable to just smack someone with a shovel 😛
One thing I do not agree with-and never have, no matter who it was coming from- is that no one can make you feel bad. That is utterly ridiculous. Some people actually thrive on doing things to belittle and make people feel bad. It’s like asking an abused woman to take responsibility for being beaten and feeling victimized. Yes, our reactions change things, but people very much can and do do things that make us feel lousy.
What we have to own is whether it makes us stronger and we find a way to work through it, or we settle into victimhood and do nothing proactive. Having your feelings hurt, logical or not, is not a sign of selfishness or weakness. Pyschobabble can be twisted to make us feel responsible for everything bad that happens and I am just not on board with telling traumatized people their feelings are their own ‘fault’.
Of course, I am a little too preoccupied with smacking people with shovels so I should work on my own anger management issues. To my credit, I haven’t hit anyone with so much as a spork in like, 15 years. 😉
Oh Morgs, I love it – the shovel 🙂
And I get what you’re saying and of course I wouldn’t be asking a woman to take responsibility for being beaten (as I was) – not at all. but I still believe
yes, other people may ‘trigger’ you, and yes, it’s natural to feel upset when they do. But it’s actually your beliefs about the situation – and specifically, the unconscious demands you hold – that are really responsible for you feeling hurt, sad or angry. If someone’s constantly pressing our buttons then we need to tell them to STOP. By allowing it, we become the victim of our own choice. I didn’t intend for the words to come across as selfish or weakness – of course not. Morgs, I think you’ve misjudged my message or I haven’t written it clerly enough. Of course, I’d never suggest to traumatised people their feelings are their own ‘fault’. But I will reread my post and slap my own face if I’ve got it all wrong 😉 Hugs x
I can safely say I have anger management problems.
I hate that it’s like this. I have and continue to work on it.
As you say, its abuse, and whenever I have acted inappropriately or shouted, slammed doors, and sworn etc then I end up punishing myself.
I actually have been extremely angry today, and in borderline rage, and I lost control.
Now, calming down, I am punishing myself by not eating and drinking for rest of day.
If I feel I have abused others, then I will abuse myself.
It is the only thing I can do apart from say how sorry I am.
But if you keep saying sorry with no changed (from their perspective’s behaviour) then it seems like you are not sorry.
Therefore I have no choice but to abuse myself in some way.
I get that some people end up harming themselves when they’re angry. Try not to punish yourself my lovely. Choose your behaviour, choose to do something else like cooking something to eat, distract yourself.
Do you think you could use some professional support? It’s not easy sometimes saying you need help – I did and I had counselling for many years. I was hurting myself and it would have spilled over into my now grown up sons lives if I didn’t do anything about my mental illness. Big hus and please eat a little something. x
Thank you for your kindness.
I deleted my blog last night, but am trying to resurrect it. Don’t know if wordpress will.
Yes I do harm myself, in many ways. I chose to hit my head quite a few times last night.
I think its hormones lately along with everything else. I have PMDD. I’ve not had a period for two months so could be starting on the change, I don’t know. I’m nearly 43.
I have had a lot of therapy over the years, but it was years ago.
Mental health has cut back a lot on things due to shortage of funds.
I probably do need more help, but I hate asking for it. So will work stuff out myself or do self therapy.
My husband is my carer so I am supported in that way.
Well done with your therapy. X
I hope you’ll get your blog back, it’s a great way to communicate with in others in similar situations. Nobody judges in here.
It doesn’t matter what’s causing you to be upset and angry or emotional my lovely, you need help just as much as the next person. Yes, I know they’ve cut back services but please try to get some support. Visit your GP first to see what’s available. And you must mention having suicidal ideation. Let me know how you get on. xxx
I am afraid to get support. I know that sounds stupid. But I won’t visit doctor. I feel like I’ll be wasting their time. Especially right now with everything going on.
I do not always have suicidal ideation, but it is a regular occurrence.
I have got used to how I am as I’ve been like it many many years. Unless you are a danger to yourself significantly or others, they do not put you into the mental health system. And I was on it and had a psychiatrist but they took me off it as I was doing relatively ok. And there are more unstable patients that need the spaces.
There is not really anything they can do. I’m a complex case.
I don’t want to change meds because I’m already on quite a bit and at least they help to a certain degree. I would rather stay with what I know.
I don’t want to start any kind of therapy and drag all the past up with yet aother new person, and it would take weeks/months for them to get a good overview of my situation. As they can only see you 30-45 mins at a time and they usually give you 6 months to a year slot at most. By the time I’ve just got into my stride with everything they are getting ready to finish their time with me.
Plus the past, I would rather just try to leave it all behind. It is the past. It can stay there.
I’m unstable yes, and not well, but I have support and I just do the best I can with what I have.
Some days you would not think I was unwell at all, as I’ll be pretty stable, then other days, I’m like a rollercoaster and storm all rolled into one!!
Every day is different…
With regard to my blog, I never heard anything back.
So I’ve created a new one. This will be my 3rd or 4th one I think lol!
I stopped following everyone and just am keeping this one private as everyone will just get so tired of me changing and there being no consistency all the while.
Even I do, and I’m the one that lives like it.
But I wanted to thank you for your advice and for being kind. It is very much appreciated.
Oh I do understand what a terrible time it is for everyone right now. The vulnerable and the sick – and that includes you. You are entitled to support same as anyone else. If you’re having suicidal ideation, you are at risk, so you must tell them this. Perhaps they’d send in the Home Treatment Team? You are important and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
I do understand that rollercoaster of your illness and I’m glad you have some support. I also get that you don’t want the past dragged up all the time – been there! But I was lucky to have counselling for almost three years. I wish the past never happened and that it would all go away, Unfortunately, it never ever goes and I have tough days too when I hate myself and get suicidal thoughts. But I know I don’t actually want to be dead, I just want rid of all the hurt.
I see you’ve made your blog private 🙂 Listen, keep it open and make friends who experience similar things to you. Some people might learn something from your experiences. Perhaps you can tell people what helps you, what medications work or don’t. People to want to listen and learn – I’d love to read your stuff 🙂 I care. Caz x
I’m trying to add you, as I don’t feel I can open up my blog…
My writing is nothing brilliant, I just talk a load of nonsense really. It’s just like a diary type of place I guess…
Who’s says your writing’s now brilliant? Write what you want, spready your story Sweetheart, how you’ve overcome a lot x
Ok I have put it to hidden… as I don’t know how to add people lol
I wouldn’t know how to unhide it 🙁 x
I tried the email link to let you in but I do not know what happened. Then I put my blog to hidden for a few minutes but you were still not following. I’m sorry.
Thank you for caring. Stay well Caz x
You too my lovely x
helpful and relatable.! good tips to keep in mind ! thanks for posting.
Glad you find them useful x
I used to be more angry, a long time ago. I see now that that behavior was the only thing that I could mirror. That was the way to express your emotions. Till I saw the consequences on my loved ones and I stopped. I can not do what was done to me. No one deserves that. Now I can get overwhelmed. I can ‘explode’ when I’m really really exhausted (explosion out of frustration) but I really try to say what is on my mind, use ‘I-messages’ (I feel hurt because you … did I hear that correctly). Most of the thing we hear a not that personal as we think they are. We are not that important (in my experience).
I think breathing and stepping away, like you said in your post, are really good tips. But the best line is that we are responsible in the feelings department. Responsible and in control of emotions. I think that makes you an adult 🙂
Thank you for sharing your personal experiences Kacha. I think it’s important for others to read from personal perspectives cos it’s in a language that’s easily understood and it can give them hope.
You’re right, using the “I” messages are much better as they don’t come across as blaming the other person.
We know, it’s not always easy and it takes a lot of practising the coping strategies we write about 🙂
Yes they do don’t they? I really try to practice what I write about but it takes time to do that. But it also holds me accountable and that is a great help. Not to mention all the tips and nice comments, that is really helpful 🙂
Lol, yes that’s a good way of looking at it – holding ourselves accountable 🙂
Very good tips, especially the point that no one ever “makes” us do anything in anger. That’s so important to remember. Even if it feels like someone else is driving the car when rage takes hold, that doesn’t mean we can’t take back the wheel and take back responsibility for our actions.
That’s a great way to think of it 🙂 x
Your blog is son informative. I will share your articles with my family and friends!
Aaaww, thank you, that would be lovely. Caz x