Keeping a cool head in the face of frustration, anger, and conflict can be challenging. Fortunately, with a little self-awareness and practice, you can learn to manage your anger more effectively. Acknowledging your feelings as soon as they arise allows you to deal with them more effectively instead of letting them build up into something that’s harder to handle. And by practicing stress-reduction techniques such as meditation or yoga on a regular basis, you can also take advantage of their calming effects whenever needed. Below are some useful tips on how to deal with your anger so that it doesn’t get the better of you.
Don’t beat yourself up when you lose your temper.
Many people have the mistaken belief that if they’re angry, they should be “angry all the time.” But when someone is truly angry, they’re not thinking straight and they probably wouldn’t act in a rational or helpful way even if they were. So, you shouldn’t “feel bad” or “be sorry” if you lose your temper, you should simply acknowledge that you did and apologize to the other person. Be honest with yourself about how often you lose your temper and what situations tend to trigger it. The more you understand about yourself, the less likely you are to make the same mistakes in the future.
Exercise helps boost serotonin.
Studies have found that regular aerobic exercise (i.e. exercising for an hour or more twice a week) increases blood levels of the “happy” neurotransmitter serotonin. Exercise is particularly effective in boosting serotonin levels when you are under stress. If you’re feeling particularly angry or upset, exercising can help to calm you down because it increases your mood-elevating serotonin levels.
Seek a specialist.
If you have an anger management issue, it’s a good idea to seek anger management specialist. You may have an underlying medical condition (such as a mood disorder), a past trauma (e.g. abuse), an alcohol or drug problem, or another issue that’s triggering your anger. This is particularly the case if you feel that you’re unable to control your anger and if you often get into arguments. If you and your partner are arguing frequently, it could be that one or both of you has a hidden anger problem and needs to seek help for it. If you’re arguing with your family and friends, it could be that you feel overwhelmed or under stress and don’t know how to express your feelings.
Doing stress-reduction techniques like meditation, visualization, or exercise on a regular basis can calm you down and help to relieve the stress that could be contributing to your anger. It can also help you to recognize when you are feeling stressed in the first place so that you can take more effective action. A good strategy is not to get frustrated if you’re not able to deal with your anger immediately. Try to engage with the situation as best you can and then, when you’re able to, you can think about how best to deal with it. If you’re talking to a particularly frustrating person, try to learn from the experience, and, when you’re next able to, you can reflect on how you’re feeling and what you’re thinking.