Anger is normal. It is an essential feeling and in today’s world you can’t help but feel it occasionally. You may feel it in traffic when someone pulls out in front of you or at work when your boss is being a jerk for no apparent reason. You can even feel it towards the people you love the most, when they are doing something that you disagree with or are not doing something you think they should be doing. In these types of situations anger is normal and possibly essential for our mental health.
Yet, anger can be a dangerous feeling, if we let it completely control us. Sometimes people will allow their anger to control them. Then this anger will cause them to do some dangerous things. But there are ways you can help to calm yourself.
First, you must allow yourself to feel the anger. By completely suppressing your anger you are doing harm to yourself. Pent up anger can led to many health problems from headaches to heart problems. There is also the problem where the anger just keeps building and building inside you until one day you blow, like a volcano. This is not good for you or the person at the center of your anger. Yet, by the same token, it is not good for you or others to blow up over the smallest of things, to start yelling, to become red in the face, to clench your fists, to tighten every muscle in your body. That is equally bad for your body. Being angry often is not good for your blood pressure. There needs to be a happy medium.
When we are angry our body releases hormones called catecholoamines. These hormones generate energy. That is why we suddenly feel like we have a burst of renewed strength. Then in turn our adrenal organs begin to work overtime which is why we feel on edge. These adrenal organs will continue working overtime as long as we are thinking about the situation that made us angry in the first place. This is why we can stay angry and on edge from hours to days.
So what can you do to calm our angry so it doesn’t last for days? Here are some coping steps to take to try to calm your anger.
1. First, if at all possible, walk away from the situation that is making you angry until you get a better perception on the situation. This falls in the category of the popular count to ten method before reacting plan. By taking a break, sometimes you realize the situation isn’t as bad as you first thought it was.
2. Try not to swear or speak in an extremely negative tone. If you do not sound like you are willing to discuss whatever the situation is that made you angry in the first place, the other person is not going to want to discuss it either. Instead of the two of you having a discussion, you will have an argument, a fight and nothing will be settled, your anger may be instead grow.
3. Listen to what the other person is saying. This sounds easy. But it isn’t when you are angry. When you are angry a lot of times you are too busy hearing your own thoughts to listen to what other people are actually saying.
4. Do not go on the attack with the other person. If you do, the person will do the same and nothing will be accomplished. The goal is to discuss why you are angry and to find a solution.
5. State exactly why you are angry, what you believe the problem is. Be honest. This is not the time for games or trying to back someone into a corner. If you play games, the problem will not be resolved.
6. Tell yourself that you have to remain calm to fix this problem. Take deep soothing breaths; try to allow your heart beat to slow. If your heart is racing, you could be too angry to discuss anything. If the deep breaths don’t work, try visualizing a claming scene. If that doesn’t work, you may have to walk away for a few moments to calm yourself before entering into a conversation.
7. If possible, make a plan before the discussion. Planning what you will say will help you keep you focused and calmer.
8. Always try to think before you react. This is essential in situations like the traffic one. You don’t want to go off chasing the rude driver. You could get hurt and so could other innocent drivers.
9. If your anger issues are strong over one issue, sometimes writing down why you are so angry gives you a new light on the situation.
10. If you none of these methods help you can’t control your anger or worse you feel like the anger is controlling you, it may be time to think about talking to a professional.
Remember some anger is good. But too much anger is dangerous to you and all of those around you.
If you feel like you can’t control it or if you feel like you can’t face your anger, you should see a professional before the anger causes harm to your mental health, your physical health and the health of your relationships.