How to control anger – do anger management tips work? Hello to you and welcome back to our little piece of the internet space. Today I want to share some thoughts about anger. I am sure you have had that flash of white light that is your sudden burst of anger; it leaves you before you can stop it and is normally followed by pangs of regret.
Sometimes you feel justified in your expression of anger, but most of the time you will look back afterwards and realise that a more measured, calmer approach would have gotten better results. You need to learn to control your anger before it controls you. When you understand what is making you angry and you manage your anger, this will reduce stress. Also, it will help you get the results you want from the situation in front of you.
But why do you get angry and why does it seem like such an all consuming fire. Once it gets out of the box, you can’t get it back under control easily and you end up saying things that would have been better left unsaid.
Inspiration for this piece.
This article is another in our series about the different emotional states. If you want to know more about this, Click here
The series of articles on emotional states is inspired by the book “Letting Go” By David R. Hawkins M.D. Ph.D.
Please note that the discussions in this article are not professional advice of any kind. This article represents the thoughts, ideas and experience of the author and are for entertainment purposes only.
Understanding Anger and What are the Causes of Anger?
Anger is the fight part of the fight or flight response to perceived threats. The part of the brain activated in bouts of anger is called the amygdala, the primal part of the brain associated with the fear response. Your anger signifies resistance to the way things are. If handled appropriately, it can be a motivator for change. If not handled appropriately, anger is associated with antagonism, hate and aggression. At its root your anger is based in fear and defensiveness.
The intensity of your anger can vary from mild frustration all the way up to uncontrollable rage. Your reaction to situations is always your choice, but sometimes anger becomes a habitual response to fear, embarrassment, depression, pride or the thought that your efforts and contributions to your relationships with others are not sufficiently recognised. Previously embedded triggers activate and you tend to respond in the same angry, defensive manner in similar situations.
Underneath your anger is the decision that you need to be right. This means that someone else must be wrong and therefore, to blame for the issue at hand. This wrongdoer becomes the target of your anger, and they must suffer the consequences of your displeasure. You exchange words and sometimes violence ensues.
Your Emotional Brain.
Your anger is based in the emotional part of your brain, this part of the brain is much quicker to engage than the reasoning part of your brain. Because it is involved in the survival mechanism it is instinctual and immediate. Unfortunately losing control when you feel your anger escalating is not helpful, or a healthy way to interact with others. Uncontrolled anger can lead to social issues such as alienation and exclusion from your peer group. Furthermore you may suffer reputational damage, if you can’t express yourself without losing control and without hurting others.
The part of your brain that reacts with anger has the following aims:
- It needs to win in the conflict situation.
- It needs to express emotionally to make sure it is heard.
- It needs to change other’s mind to agree with it.
The emotional part of your brain works with drives and instincts and generally doesn’t consider the consequences of your anger and resentment.
A Story to Illustrate Your Angry Behavior.
For example, I had a friend at university who would say that every time he went out, someone else took over his body, got drunk and then left. The result was that he had to deal with the hangover caused by the other guy taking over his body. Anger can be like this too. The emotional brain erupts then leaves the scene after all of the damage is done. This leaves the logical reasoning part of the brain to clean up the mess caused by emotional anger and aggression.
Why does it feel so powerful When you Express Your Anger?
Going back to the fight or flight response helps to explain the power in anger. When your fight or flight response kicks in your mind instantly makes the decision of whether to run away, freeze, or stand and fight. These are primal responses deeply rooted in instinctual behaviour.
Your subconscious decision, as to your reaction, bases itself on whether your instinct tells you can win the battle; or whether you think you will lose.
Once you have instinctively made that decision, then the chemicals needed for your response release into your body. These chemicals include cortisol and adrenaline. Other functions not required for the confrontation turn down in your body.
The feeling that you are superior in the coming conflict increases your belief in your abilities and your confidence to deal with the threat also increases. This gives you the motivation or energy that you need to take action.
Because of the instinctual nature of the reaction, the chemicals released fuel your anger and increase your stress levels. This reaction can become a habit and once your anger starts it gets out of control, either in frequency or intensity; this causes you to struggle with anger. This will continue unless you find ways to deal with your anger and learn how to control it.
Is Anger a Weakness Or a Strength?
Although anger is a normal emotion, you need to find a way for you to express your emotions in an appripriate and helpful way. It is not healthy to supress your anger as this is rather like cooking in a pressure cooker and closing off the relief valve. Inevitably there will be an explosion. However learning how to control anger includes learning the ability to allow your emotions to be expressed.
Anger is never justified and is an indication sign of a lack of maturity. Anger indicates a lack of problem-solving skills and an unwillingness to listen and take into account other perspectives.
The significance of Learning Your Numbers.
Studies have shown that a lack of mathematical ability contributes to situations where anger results from conflict. This makes sense when you realise that mathematics and arithmetic teach you to solve problems using logic. Without this basic skill, you grow up without the ability to use reason to overcome challenges and conflict. The result is that you are prone to using forceful means to express your opinions.
Mathematics teaches you to pause when confronted with challenges and not to panic. Alreadt you are learning to switch from an emotional response to a reasoned one. You engage your problem solving skills and come to a solution. These are vital life skills whih allow you to fit into your peer group comfortably. Comfortably for both you and those around you.
You may often use your anger to cover any self doubt and insecurity. A propensity to anger also indicates a judgemental approach to life.
There is no situation where an angry reaction led to a better solution. A willingness to listen and resolve the issue through mutual respect and with logical discussion always trumps anger. Sometimes you need to take a break and think about how you want to be your best self in the situation ay hand.
How do I Manage anger? Can an angry person Learn to Deal With Anger?
Two things govern your self image: the pictures you create in your mind and the words you say to yourself. If the current words and pictures are leading you to have an angry disposition, you need to change the words and pictures to something more appropriate.
Visualization is a great tool for calming the mind and rooting new thoughts and intentions in your mind. The book, “A Course in Miracles” has an effective routine to start your day and reset when things don’t go your way.
Some Affirmations to Try out
When you get up in the morning just affirm: “Today I will make no decisions by myself”. In this way, you open yourself to divine guidance.
Think about the day you want to have and tell yourself there is a way for you to have this day.
This means that you will not judge situations where you need to respond. If you judge then your judgement determines how you react, you may react with uncertainty and fear, both of these may trigger you to anger.
As you go through your day, affirm: “If I make no decisions by myself, this is the day that will be given to me.” The day you want to have.
These two affirmations will allow your inner guidance to direct you without fear and judgement.
Should something occur that wasn’t in your idea of what your day would be like, use the following three step process to allow yourself to process this unexpected occurrence. Simply affirm the following:
“At least I can decide that I don’t like what I feel now.”
“And so I hope I have been wrong.”
“I want another way to look at this.”
These three statements allow you to overcome your opposition to this unexpected event that is not what you intended for yourself. Allowing yourself to be wrong about your ideas for your day and look at your situation differently, frees you from the triggers of uncertainty and fear. This allows you to look for the positive and move on in your day.
The Power of The Pause.
There is great power in silence, if you can learn to pause in silence and decide how you want to react to any situation within that pause, you move away from instinct and have greater control over your actions. Many anger management programmes suggest that you count to 10 when you feel signs of anger. This pause can allow you to get your anger under control, before you respond. If you can take the heat out of the situation in this way, this can help with anger.
Creating the habit of pausing before you react allows you to collect yourself and calm down in situations where your natural instinct is to react in anger.
All of these techniques take time to master, but with determination and consistency, you will succeed. Just be gentle with yourself and realize that lapses are normal. The fact that you pick up your lapses means that change is happening in your brain and the new neural pathways are forging themselves.
Anyone can change their habits. The trick is to substitute your negative habits with positive ones. If you merely try to stop certain behaviours without replacing them with others, you have a lower chance of success. This is because you are not replacing the old neural pathways with alternatives forged by your new behaviour.
Old habits established their own neural pathways in your brain, these fade when you create new neural pathways by practising your new desired behaviour. Studies suggest that it takes around twenty one days of consistent change for your new neural pathways to establish and start to embed your new habit. As the new habit strengthens, the neural pathways of your old behaviour start to fade because they aren’t used.
Justifiable Anger and Moral Outrage, You Still need to Count to 10.
In our modern world, there are issues that some groups of people use to project what is described as justifiable anger and moral outrage.
The question is whether outrage is ever justified, outrage just being a different name for anger.
There has never been a situation where anger of any kind has contributed to an ideal solution to any issue. Anger prevents you from listening to different point of view and creates win/lose solutions, which inevitably lead to resentment and possibly thoughts of revenge.
Negotiation, by contrast, is a process in communication that leads to compromise and a win/win solution.
People who experience anger about current issues tend to form groups where the individuals in the group take on the group identity. The group is a safe place for them to use the support and strength of the group to attack those who they disagree with and want to make wrong.
Sometimes this group mentality leads to acts such as vandalism and physical violence. The virtue of the cause is used as justification for inappropriate behaviour.
This type of moral indignation is a manifestation of vanity and pride. The cause itself may be worthy of attention. But an angry reaction indicates that the importance of the issue has become secondary to your wanting everyone to know where you stand and the groups you have decided to align with.
Don’t become an “injustice collector”, the most dire issues are usually more complex than a first glance indicates. If you want to convince someone to come over to your side of the argument, you should first understand the issue from the opposite point of view to yours. Every story has two sides and every possible solution has unintended consequences that you didn’t realise would occur.
What Happens If You Bottle Up Your Anger?
You can bottle up your anger in two ways, suppression or repression. Suppression is a voluntary conscious decision to ignore your anger, whereas repression is a subconscious mechanism your mind uses for protection where your subconscious mind blocks thoughts and impulses.
Both lead to the energy of anger being stored in your body which causes harmful results, such as lower immune function, depression, resentment, stress and even hypertension. All of these effects can lead to you having a lower life expectancy than you would if you could learn to let go of anger. So if you want to live longer, learn to overcome any anger issues you may have.
Remember the previous example of the pressure cooker. If you are feeling resentment and anger all of the time, it may well be time to seek professional help.
Anger can take a toll on your health. Techniques such as mindfulness, meditation and even progressive muscle relaxation can help. Although these techniques are rarely used in the heat of battle, that can prove useful and make you feel calmer in general.
Some Anger Quotes for When You Feel Angry.
I have selected a few quotes about anger that illustrate the points we have shared in this article. Please go through them and allow them to sink into your consciousness. You may want to use them as affirmations in your journey to overcome your anger. We all have things and people that push our buttons, one of my favourite quotes is the first one listed by the Dalai Lama:
“If you think that you have reached enlightenment, go and visit your in-laws for the weekend.”– Dalai Lama.
“When anger rises, think of the consequences.”– Confucius.
“A man who has not passed through the inferno of his passions has never overcome them.”– Carl Jung.
“Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned.”
“He who angers you conquers you.”– Elizabeth Kenny.
“Anger is an acid that can do more harm to the vessel in which it is stored than to anything on which it is poured.”– Mark Twain.
Letting Go of Your Anger with Anger Management Strategies.
Learning how to let go can be confusing, because many of the guides on how to let go include telling you to let go. This is like asking how to drive a car and getting the answer “Just drive it”.
One of the ideas that you need to understand is that emotion is energy. When you hold on to an emotion such as anger, it sits in your body and affects your frequency of vibration. The longer you hold onto your anger and push it down inside your heart, the more it will fight to come to the surface. In time, your angry mood becomes a habit and if not dealt with effectively, your anger becomes who you are.
Steps to Letting Go of Anger.
The first step to letting go is to acknowledge how you feel and allow it to be felt wherever you feel it in your body. Just sit quietly and become aware of how you feel. Just observe the sensations and allow them to be.
You may experience strong emotions in this stage. That is good; it means your emotions are coming to the surface. Crying can contribute to the process, so don’t hold back any tears you feel the need to shed a few.
As you sit quietly and focus on your feelings of anger, don’t try to make them right or wrong, just let them be without analysing them.
After a while, the feelings of anger will start to fade in intensity. Once this starts to happen, don’t try to hold onto them just observe without judging.
The Power of Forgiveness.
Once the feelings have passed it is time to forgive. Forgive yourself first, then the other person or situation that brought about your anger. Forgiveness breaks the energetic links between you and the person causing your anger and allows the people and situations involved to show up differently in your life.
Forgiveness is not the same as excusing inappropriate behaviour. Just because you forgive someone, it does not mean acceptance of the way they acted. You are releasing yourself from the situation for your own benefit, not theirs. That person will have to live with the consequences of their acts and learn their lesson on their own.
When to Seek Professional Help.
For deep seated long term anger issues you may have to repeat this process several times until you are satisfied that your anger is released and you have let go.
If you struggle to let go, you may have to call on the assistance of a professional. Hypnosis is a good modality for dealing with anger issues. Many clients of mine with anger issues have seen positive results from hypnosis.
If you decide to try the method described above, please share any success stories in the comments or contact the author directly. I would love to hear of your success, by sharing your story; you may just be the inspiration for someone else to overcome their anger.
Frequently Asked Questions About Ways to Control Your Anger.
Q. What is anger management?
A. Anger management refers to the process of learning how to control and manage feelings of anger in a healthy way. It involves understanding anger as a normal emotion and developing strategies to express and deal with anger effectively.
Q. Why is it important to control anger?
A. Learning how to control anger is crucial. This is because uncontrolled anger can take a toll on your mental and physical health, relationships, and overall well-being. It helps you maintain a sense of control. It also reduces the risk of aggressive behavior. As a result, it enables you to handle challenging situations without hurting yourself or others.
Q. How can I manage my anger?
A. To manage anger, you can learn anger management tips and techniques. These strategies help you recognize and understand your anger. Also they allow you to express anger in a healthy way, and find constructive ways to deal with it. Through anger management, you can gain control over your emotions and respond to triggering situations more effectively.
Q. What are some anger management strategies I can use?
A. There are various anger management strategies you can employ to control your anger. Some techniques include:
- Deep breathing exercises,
- Progressive muscle relaxation,
- Counting to 10 before responding,
- Finding healthy outlets for your anger (such as exercise or journaling),
- Seeking support from friends or family members,
- Considering anger management therapy or counseling.
Q. How do I know if I have an anger problem?
A. If you frequently feel your anger escalating, have difficulty staying calm, or experience frequent outbursts of uncontrolled anger; you may have an anger problem. Other signs include:
- Feeling intense anger over minor irritations,
- Struggling to deal with anger without losing control
- Experiencing negative consequences in your relationships or daily life due to anger.
Q. What are the causes of anger?
A. Anger can be triggered by various factors, including:
- Feeling threatened or disrespected,
- Experiencing injustice or unfairness,
- Having unmet expectations.
Personal issues, such as low self-esteem, past trauma, or mental health issues, can also contribute to feelings of anger.
Q. Can anger management tips really help me control my anger?
A. Anger management tips and techniques have been proven effective in helping individuals learn how to control their anger. By implementing these strategies, you can:
- Develop healthier coping mechanisms,
- Improve your emotional regulation skills,
- Reduce the frequency and intensity of anger episodes.
Q. Is anger a normal emotion?
A. Anger is a normal emotion that everyone experiences from time to time. It serves as a natural response to certain situations or perceived threats. However, it is important to understand that while anger is a normal emotion, the way you express and deal with it can vary greatly among individuals.
Q. How can anger management help with my mental health?
A. Learning to control anger can have a positive impact on your mental health. It allows you to express your anger in a healthy way, reducing the risk of internalizing negative feelings or developing resentment. Managing anger can also lower stress levels, improve overall emotional well-being, and contribute to better relationships.
Q. Are there any anger management exercises I can try?
A. There are several anger management exercises you can try to help you control your anger.
These may include:
- Deep breathing exercises,
- Visualization techniques,
- Practicing mindfulness,
- Journaling your feelings,
- Engaging in physical activities like yoga or sports.
These exercises can provide outlets for anger and help redirect your focus in a more positive direction.
Remember, if you continue to struggle with anger or if it significantly interferes with your daily life, it may be beneficial to seek professional help from a therapist or counselor specializing in anger management techniques.
Last Words on How to Stay Calm and Control Anger.
Anger can be a perfectly normal reaction to events that trigger you. If you can let it pass without inappropriate outbursts, which you will inevitably regret, you will have done well.
Once you can recognise your anger and pause to let it pass, after acknowledging it and observing it. You will have mastered your anger.
Be kind and patient with yourself and don’t be afraid to ask for help if you get overwhelmed. Our modern world is a difficult place to live without frustration and things not going the way you want.
Just remember that finding a solution to the problem at hand is something that all involved benefit from. You dont have to engage in win lose solutions. Anger is about control and the fear of losing control. You cant control everything in life, trying to will end in tears, so choose differently.
Determine to have the day you want to have, allow yourself to be mistaken or just plain wrong sometimes, that is what makes you such a special human being. You can be wrong and still learn to make new and different choices.
Above all, forgive yourself and stop being so hard on yourself. Just remember none of us arrived here with an instruction manual, we are all just trying to figure out this wonderful gift of life and experience.
Just keep moving forward and be the best that you can be.
With love as always
Richard H Morris.
Nothing in this post should be interpreted as any form of professional advice. The content herein is provided for information and entertainment purposes only, and merely reflects the research done and opinions expressed by the Author. We do make use of affiliate links in our content, should you decide to buy something through one of our links we will receive a commission at no additional cost to the Purchaser.