Anger is a natural and sometimes useful part of everyone’s emotional make-up. It can spur us to respond to a physical or verbal confrontation. It can also inspire us to change something about ourselves, those around us, or even society. While it can be good fuel to light a fire, however, it often will create a fire that rages out of control. It can leave a person isolated from friends, hinder their effectiveness at work, cause rifts in a family, or be self-destructive.
Those who cannot manage their anger or see it crop up at inopportune times may need to seek professional help for channeling this emotion. However, it may be something that can be recognized and addressed with some useful strategies.
Some common tricks recommended by experts
Every individual’s emotional make-up is different, so no one strategy will work best. These are part of a longer list provided by a group of professional therapists:
- Count backward from 10: This is a classic that forces those prone to anger to calm down and think first before speaking.
- Write it down: Articulating something in writing is often a great approach to allow feelings to simmer down, and the note may even articulate some insight.
- Yell in the car: This may be a download after a rough day at work, venting at traffic or even can be an excellent place for a time-out when parked at home.
- Find a distraction: Take that anger and productively apply it to a pile of dishes in the sink or choose a specific activity that provides a safe and effective distraction until the anger simmers down.
- Preemptively focus on you: Active self-care goes a long way towards ensuring a positive mindset and leaving one less anxious.
- Imagine you are watching yourself: Often, the angry person will not like what they see, or leave them to wonder who this person is.
Taking control of the situation
These are all strategies for people to move in a more positive direction. Often it may take a variety of approaches that are tailored for different situations. Whatever the method, the trick is to recognize the behavior and then take steps to control the situation. This can apply to the emotion as well as what causes it. It is important to note that a licensed therapist may be necessary for those who additional help. Moreover, those who feel afraid or unsafe in their own home because of someone else’s anger should contact the authorities.