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Tips for Controlling Your Anger Before it Controls You

Anger, like any other emotion, is normal. We’ve all have felt anger, whether it’s a brief outburst or a full-fledged outrage, and everyone has their triggers: traffic jams, poor working conditions, money—the list goes on. The trouble arises when anger escalates the point no longer being in control of how its managed., Uncontrolled rage can have a negative impact on your health, work, relationships, and overall quality of life.

Understanding how the brain works lays the groundwork for effective anger management. Anger commonly activates this almond-shaped part of the brain called the amygdala. Emotions, specifically fear, anxiety and anger, are associated with this area. Aggression also impairs the prefrontal cortex’s ability to think logically before acting.

Angry woman shouting looking at camera
Anger outbursts or aggressive behavior, for example, can be interpreted as the amygdala taking over the prefrontal cortex.

Anger Management Techniques

Cognitive-behavioral interventions are effective for improving anger management according to research. These interventions entail altering your thinking and behavior. They are predicated on the idea that your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors are all linked.

Emotions can be fed or diminished by thoughts, and as a result, behaviors follow suit. You can change the way you think if you want to shift your emotional state away from anger. Without fuel, the fire within you will die down and you will have more control over the expression of your anger.

Evaluate Triggers

Take inventory of the things that make you feel the emotion of anger if you have a habit of losing your temper. While blame others or external circumstances for your inability to maintain your cool isn’t the best way to go, understanding what causes your rage can help you plan accordingly.

You may want to decide to structure your day differently to assist you in better managing your stress. Alternatively, practicing anger management techniques before encountering what are normally distressing situations. These actions can help you lengthen your fuse, which means that a single frustrating episode will be less likely to set you off.

Recognize Warning Signs

Some can feel the anger hitting right away going from calm to angry in a heartbeat, although there are still likely red flags that your anger is building. Detecting it early can help you take action before your anger reaches a boiling point. Consider the physical symptoms of anger you are experiencing. Perhaps your heart rate has increased or your face has become hot. Or perhaps you begin to clench your fists. Some cognitive changes may also occur. Perhaps your mind is racing or you are “seeing red.”

By recognizing your warning signs, you can take immediate action and avoid doing or saying things that will lead to bigger problems. Pay attention to how you’re feeling and you’ll improve your ability to spot warning signs.

Speak to a Friend

It can be beneficial to talk to someone who you can express your feelings to and who you know can also calm you down.

Complaining about your boss, describing all the reasons you dislike someone, or complaining about all of the injustices you encounter can all add fuel to the fire. One common misconception is that you must express your rage to feel better. But studies show you don’t need to “get your anger out.” For example, breaking things when you’re angry can make you even angrier. Therefore, it is important to use this coping skill with caution.

Similarly, if you’re talking to a friend, make sure you’re working on a solution or reducing your anger rather than just venting it. Instead, you may discover that talking about something other than the situation that is making you angry is the best way to employ this strategy.

Get Moving

Anger provides a surge of energy. Physical activity is one of the best ways to put that surge to good use. Working out, whether it’s a brisk walk or a trip to the gym, can help you get rid of stress. Regular exercise also aids in decompression. Aerobic activity reduces stress, which may help you cope with frustration better. Exercise also allows you to clear your mind, and you might find that after a long run or a tough workout, you have a better understanding of what was bothering you.