Anger is a completely normal, usually healthy, human emotion.
But it’s unhealthy when it flares up all the time or spirals out of control. It can lead to problems at work, in your personal relationships, and in the overall quality of your life.
Anger can make you feel as though you’re at the mercy of an unpredictable and powerful emotion.
The goal of anger management is to reduce both your emotional feelings and the physiological arousal that anger causes.
You can’t get rid of, or avoid, the things or the people that enrage you, nor can you change them, but you can learn to control your reactions.
The good news is that getting anger under control is easier than you think. With insight into the real reasons for your anger and these anger management tools, you can learn to keep your temper from hijacking your life.
The consequences of out-of-control anger
- Out-of-control anger Hurts your physical health: Constantly operating at high levels of stress and anger makes you more susceptible to heart disease, diabetes, a weakened immune system, insomnia, and high blood pressure.
- Out-of-control anger hurts your career: Constructive criticism, creative differences, and heated debate can be healthy. But lashing out only alienates your colleagues, supervisors, or clients and erodes their respect.
- Out-of-control anger hurts your mental health: Chronic anger consumes huge amounts of mental energy, and clouds your thinking, making it harder to concentrate or enjoy life. It can also lead to stress, depression, and other mental health problems.
- Out-of-control anger hurts your relationships with others: It causes lasting scars in the people you love most and gets in the way of friendships and work relationships. Explosive anger makes it hard for others to trust you, speak honestly, or feel comfortable—and is especially damaging to children.
Consider these anger management tips to keep your emotions in check.
1. Think before you speak
Angry people tend to jump to—and act on—conclusions and some of those conclusions could be very inaccurate.
The first thing to do if you’re in a heated discussion is to slow down and think through your responses. In the heat of the moment, it’s easy to say something you’ll later regret.
Don’t say the first thing that comes into your head, take a few moments to collect your thoughts before saying anything — and allow others involved in the situation to do the same.
2. Express your anger once you’re calm
If you decided that the situation is worth getting angry about and there’s something you can do to make it better, the key is to express your feelings in a healthy way.
As soon as you’re thinking clearly, express your frustration in an assertive but non-confrontational way. State your concerns and needs clearly and directly, without hurting others or trying to control them.