If we think we are being treated unfairly, attacked or made to feel frustrated, we can feel angry. It’s perfectly normal to get angry and it is a part of our nature to do so. Anger is not always a negative emotion, as there are times when it is actually useful, as anger can help us to realise that something needs to change and it can alert us to the fact that something is an issue and is causing hurt. However, anger can become an issue if it begins to harm you or the people around you. For example, if your anger is affecting your physical or mental health in a negative way or you are displaying your anger through negative behaviours.
We will take a look at how to recognise uncontrolled anger issues and the anger management techniques you can use to recognise them and regain control.
Anger Symptoms and Signs
- Inward Aggression – Examples include: isolating yourself and self-harm, disallowing yourself basic requirements such as food or things that you enjoy and saying that you hate yourself.
- Outward Aggression – Examples include: swearing, shouting, throwing objects, hitting and being verbally or physically aggressive to others.
- Passive Aggression – Examples include: not speaking to or ignoring people, and being sarcastic or sulking but not being aggressive or angry in an explicit manner.
If you feel that you display your anger in an expressive or violent manner this can be very distressing for those around you and especially for children. It may be that you are never aggressive or violent in an expressive way, but you may be able to relate to some of these symptoms and feel that they are an issue for you.
In situations where you feel that your anger gets the better of you, there are anger management techniques that you can use to control it:
The Warning Signs
When you feel angry, you may be able to pick up on the warning signs as anger can cause a surge in adrenaline. Look out for:
- Breathing getting quicker
- Jaw or fists clenching
- Heart beating faster
- Feet tapping
- Feeling tense
If you are able to spot these warning signs early, you’ll have time to stop and think about what action to take next.
It’s not unusual to feel like you need to get away from a situation when you are feeling angry. This allows you thinking time, to get your thoughts together about how you are feeling and how you want to handle the situation. Some techniques to help include:
- Talk to someone you feel that you can trust and confide in
- Count to 10 before reacting
- Head out for a walk
There are various anger management techniques that you can adopt to help you manage your feelings when you are feeling angry.
- If you can feel yourself getting tense, then you need to try and relax and unwind your body. Focus on each aspect of your body that feels tense and try to relax those muscles.
- Try and do something that distracts you from the way that you are feeling i.e. take a cold shower, listen to some music, etc.
- Change the way that you are breathing so that your outward breath is longer. You need to try and concentrate on each breath that you take.
- Try and use mindfulness and adopt some techniques that will help you to calm down when you feel angry and alert you to when you feel yourself getting angry.
- Channel feelings of anger in another direction, so that no one gets hurt i.e. hit a cushion, tear paper, etc.