Sometimes we all get a little grumpy. Whether it’s school, work, friends, family, or ourselves, there’s reason to just lose it every so often. We just have to blow our tops, I suppose. I’ve been told plenty of times to seek therapy or deal with my anger problems, so I gathered some experts to weigh in and judge my practical tips to eradicate anger. Here are some Anger Management tips we devised in the process.
WHAT DO YOU MEAN THE DEBIT MACHINE ISN’T WORKING?!?!
Just admit you’re angry; if to no one else, at least admit it to yourself. Hiding behind other adjectives, such as bothered, agitated, irritated, upset, mad, frustrated etc.—they all mean the same thing. Whatever you call the emotion, it’s the same thing—you’re not happy. It’s okay to be down every so often (depression is a real thing), but if negative feelings are motivating you rather than de-motivating you, you’re angry. It’s okay—we’ve all been there. In fact, we see it nearly every day in the most public place we visit each day: the road.
“Studies have shown the aggression on the road is usually, like bullying, misplaced aggression,” says Walter Meyer, a public speaker who focuses on bullying. “Drivers get behind the wheel already upset about a fight with their spouse or boss and someone cutting them off in traffic is the final straw, but not the casus belli.” The quicker you admit your anger, the quicker you can dissipate frustration by accepting your anger before going out into public.
Accepting that you’re angry puts you in a powerful position—by accepting your anger, you’re essentially identifying as your angry self and taking responsibility for your choices and actions with that anger. When you accept your anger, you look in the mirror and understand that you’re the person that’s acting angry, and everyone else is responding to your anger. You are your own god and the creator of your own world, so your anger really is your own problem to deal with, no matter what you’ve convinced yourself of otherwise.
It’s important to make a decision. According to Dr. Steven B. Gordon, Ph.D., the Executive Director of Behavior Therapy Associates, the best way to do this is to “sort the action as away/toward what you care about.” In doing this, we force ourselves to make our decisions (even when angry) base on a healthy goal.
What is it you truly care about? Do you care more about hurting that other person or improving yourself or helping people you actually care about? Which is it? Because you can’t dedicate your time and energy to both.
“Perhaps recite a nursery rhyme (Not out loud unless you really want to weird out the person you’re dealing with). Or name the Seven Dwarfs,” offers Barry Maher, author of Filling the Glass: The Skeptic’s Guide to Positive Thinking in Business. “It doesn’t matter if you remember correctly. Just the act of dredging up something from memory will tend to short circuit that rush of anger and make it much easier to control yourself.”
Yogis and meditation experts agree—keeping your mind off your problems is the key to creatively avoiding negative feelings such as anger. If you want to learn more about putting your mind over matters, here’s a great Lifehack about meditation for beginners.
Speaking of yoga, walking and other exercises (especially stretches and bends) are a great way to unlock your core and relieve the stresses causing anger. Whatever it is you choose to do, go burn off some steam.
“My kids constantly leave their shoes on the floor when they walk in the door so everyone trips on them,” offers yogi Danielle Diamond, the founder of Xen Strength. “This used to drive me crazy, and set me off into a rant about how irresponsible they are, blah blah blah…Meditation and yoga teach us to stop and pause—to mind the gap, per se—between action and reaction before we say or do something stupid.
Paula Anderson, LPC, LCPC at PACE Consulting offers a different point of view. “Change scenery,” she says. “Go to a different room to remove yourself from the person that you’re angry towards.”
Removing yourself from the source of anger is useful in both a short-term and long-term resolution. If a particular person is constantly creating anger, it may be necessary for you to permanently relocate yourself to dissipate the anger. Otherwise, you can also have the other person removed.
Anger is energy; you need to recycle that energy into something more productive. Remember those mottos from the recycling PSAs? Reduce your anger, recycle it into something more positive, and reuse it for something more productive. As for the situation that caused the anger?
“When you’ve cooled down enough to maintain your self-control, re-engage the situation—if you now think it’s worth it,” suggests Gina Binder, M.A., a Resident in Counseling.
If you’re angry at a specific person, the best thing to do is to smile, especially at them. People who hate you will hate to see you smiling, and everyone else will look up to you. Either way, a smile a day does more to keep doctors away than a sugary-sweet apple ever could. Smile like you mean it, if not to make yourself happy, then to annoy everyone else.
Although it’s common to think immediately of calming down, Michelle Morton offers my favorite take on the subject of dealing with anger: a temper tantrum.
“Sometimes we all need to give ourselves permission to do the things we are ‘not supposed to do,'” screams Morton. “No one said you should go to the store, throw yourself down on the floor and kick and scream, but it is okay to go somewhere and give yourself a few minutes to come unglued!”
The Mayo Clinic has a great guide online to managing your temper; in it, you’ll find tips to rapidly reducing anger in the middle of highly tense situations. There are two types of anger, and both must be addressed and dealt with separately.
Short-term anger is the collection of all those trigger moments that started you on the path toward being angry. Long-term anger refers to all the actions you take (and happy moments you reject) because you’re being driven by anger.
Calming techniques work well when addressing anger triggers, but for long term anger issues, you’ll need to adjust your ways of thinking.
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