10 Proven Methods for Anger Management – Why You May Feel Angry and How to Control Your Anger to Prevent It from Controlling You
(Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase. For more information about this please read the Affiliate Disclosure.)
Last Updated on
We all experience anger, but in some cases our anger becomes misdirected or extreme.
Those are the times when we need to utilize the tools for anger management...
Today we'll discuss 10 proven ways to control your anger:
But first, let's dive into the subject a bit...
Do you feel angry all the time, or that you have no control of your anger?
Do the littlest inconveniences send you on Godzilla-type rampages?
You feel it bubbling in your belly, and before you can stop yourself, you're screaming at your child, your teenager, your spouse or partner.
You're engulfed in uncontrolled anger.
Or maybe you're not a yeller.
Maybe you find yourself snapping at your BFF, snidely responding to a co-worker, giving a scathing “dressing down” to your assistant or condescendingly responding to your adult child.
Perhaps anger brings on the waterworks, which as women frustrates us even more because then we feel weak for crying.
So you become a blubbering mess and even angrier because you're stuck crying in the ladies room.
It could be that on occasion you've found yourself driving to work when someone swerves or cuts you off in traffic.
Before you know it, you're yelling, calling names and saying (really) unkind things about the offender.
Or in another instance, you violently “gesture” at a young driver who took your intended parking spot at the local grocery store or shopping center.
Or maybe you “just lose it” because at work you didn't get the credit you felt was deserved for a project on which you worked so hard.
Granted in the course of your experience, you may have reason to be displeased, unhappy or even upset about something.
But in hindsight, you may realize that the situation did not warrant you erupting like a roided out wrestling superstar.
Afterwards, you feel bad or ashamed or even sad because your reaction was an unnecessary outpouring of emotion and drama.
That is a situation which calls for anger management.
You are not alone in having angry (ugly) outbursts.
A lot of us feel angry over any number of things.
Just ask a coworker, your neighbor or the fabulous tech at the local salon, and they can probably tell you a thing or two that gets their blood boiling.
Anger can present itself in different ways, and it rarely makes us feel all warm and fuzzy.
We have to learn to control our anger, especially if it results in inappropriate emotional or physical outbursts.
Because one, we don't want to go around having inappropriate outbursts all the time.
And two, when we're in a state of anger it's difficult for us to think clearly, to articulate our thoughts, feelings or problem or communicate in a way that is most likely to resolve our problem or issue.
And if we don't solve the problem, it will happen again and again and again.
That's why it's necessary to learn anger management.
Even so, we have to crawl before we can walk.
And, the first step to managing our anger is identifying its reason and source.
That means asking yourself some tough questions.
What we might find when we dig into it is that the anger we experience in a given circumstance may be masking an entirely different issue than the one we find we're addressing.
And if that is indeed the case, we must deal with that underlying issue in order to heal; to rid ourselves of anger.
What Problems or Emotions Is Your Anger Masking?
There have been many studies on anger, the reasons for it and how to overcome it.
One of the fundamental tasks required to manage or to overcome anger, is to identify the root of it.
You have to understand the source of anger in order to know how to deal with it.
Here are three emotions that your anger might mask:
Anger Management for Adults: Emotions Your Anger May Mask
Insecurity- Do you and your partner fight because you feel ignored or that you are not being heard?
It may be that you have unresolved issues rooted in feelings of abandonment or insecurity with the relationship that are causing you to be angry.
Take an honest look at how you feel and why you feel the way you do and communicate it healthily within your relationship.
In this case, the solution may be as simple a setting aside specific time, for example scheduling lunch together, or a “date night” with your partner, where the two of you have time and opportunity to reconnect and focus solely on each other to strengthen your relationship and help you to feel more secure in it.
Anxiety- As women and especially for those of us who are moms, our anxiety can be through the roof.
In our roles as mothers, we want to provide and protect our families 24/7, and it is simply an impossible task to accomplish.
There are things we have control over (or what we think we have control over), but many more elements in our lives and those of our families over which we have no possible control.
And our attempts at control of the uncontrollable can often cause anxiety.
For example, many of us work, take care of the household and the kids (or grandkids). Mornings can feel like a circus.
You're trying to get ready for the day and your seven year old decides to dump milk all over the kitchen floor 10 minutes before you have to have said seven year old at school.
So you flip your lid, yell about the mess and cause them to cry.
Realistically speaking though, spilled milk is not a big deal.
In fact it may be the smallest problem you have to solve all day.
The solution: clean it up and move on.
But when your mind is racing forward, and you're anxious about all the things that you have to do that day (or even in the next few hours), it can seem in your mind that this milk mess throws the whole day off track.
So, you freak out and become a rage monster not because of any particular thing, but as a result of anxiety you're harboring over things of which you may have little or no control.
Disappointment - Sometimes we cover our disappointment with anger.
Maybe you're angry about a situation where a friend or partner failed to “be there” for you or support you in some way when you depended upon them.
But instead of having an adult conversation about it (that would mean you initiating a discussion with said person, and you speaking up about how it made you feel), you hang onto the hurt and disappointment keeping it all bottled up inside.
As another example, maybe you didn't get a promotion you thought you deserved, so you lash out focusing anger toward company management or your supervisor.
These are both examples of situations in which your angry behavior is masking disappointed feelings and emotions. And it's quite possible your anger isn't even warranted.
In the example given above, it's possible there was a valid reason you didn't receive the work promotion.
But without having first inquired (in a non-combative way) why you were passed up for advancement, you may never have the true answer to that question.
If you discovered the problem is that you're skills are not being valued where you are, then maybe it's time to go elsewhere.
But it's usually never a good idea to lose your cool at work or badmouth your current employer.
Becoming angry doesn't often help your overall situation or aid you in collecting information you may need to help improve your circumstance.
After all that we've discussed about anger to this point, the good news is that there is anger management.
There are tools and techniques available to you that when put to use, may help you to successfully control your anger. We've listed a few simple tips below.
How to Tame Your Temper
Here are 10 ways to help you release your anger in a healthy way.
When you start to feel your body begin to change, increased heartbeat, heavy breathing, flushed cheeks, tensing muscles, take a minute and breathe.
Focus on each breath, maybe close your eyes and count to ten.
This helps to slow the physiological changes that occur in your body with anger and at the same time gives your mind a chance to slow the flow of your thoughts and focus.
2. Calm yourself, then express your issue, challenge, point of view or frustration.
I have actually had to stand in front of my boss, breathe deeply while (slowly) counting to ten (silently in my head), and then taking another deep breath to calm myself before attempting to discuss a work related matter that was extremely upsetting to me.
By doing so, I avoided saying something I would later regret, I was able to maintain my professional composure, very clearly articulate the problem and the assistance I required.
The result was that my boss was able to hear me, understand the issue, respect the way in which I was presenting the problem and determine a course of action to effectively resolve the situation.
It's been my experience that when you have a problem whether it's with another person or involves getting the assistance of another to help resolve it, people have to be able to hear and understand you.
But they can't effectively hear or understand you when you're having a fit of temper and the level of your voice and your physical actions and behavior is a complete distraction.
Calm down so that you can communicate effectively and in a way in which the others involved can willingly receive your communication.
3. Think before you speak.
Often times in the heat of anger, our mouths runs faster than our brains, and before we know what's happened, we say something we definitely shouldn't.
Think about what you're about to say. Is it relevant to the discussion you're having and the issue with which you're dealing in that specific moment?
Is what you're about to say going to contribute to resolving the problem in a way that's helpful and beneficial?
If the answer is no, then don't say it.
4. Don't jump to conclusions.
Make certain to avoid the temptation of assuming that you know what others think, feel or how they'll behave and then jumping to conclusions based on your assumptions.
That is why communication even when you're in the middle of a disagreement with someone (and really especially so) is so important.
Allow the other person the opportunity to make her side known (how she sees and feels about the situation) by letting her speak (without interruption) and listening to what she has to say.
5. If calming down doesn't work, try to find a way to (constructively) release your anger.
*Go for a walk or a run and relieve your pent up emotions through physical activity. A nice walk or jog will help your body to physically release pent up stress, and at the same time it can help to clear your mind, allow you to identify what is upsetting you so much and to think of a possible solution to your situation.
*Go into your bedroom, shut the door, grab a pillow and scream into it. Sounds really dramatic and stupid, but it can be an effective form of release.
*Grab a pen and paper, or a keyboard and get those emotions out. Just start scribbling down whatever you're feeling at that moment. Don't judge your writing or the emotions. There's no right or wrong in this exercise. It's simply a means to release and get your thoughts and emotions out of your system.
6. Put things in perspective.
Ask yourself the question, is the thing you're angry about something that's going to matter or make a difference in your life one way or another next week, next month, a year from now, in five years?
Many of us are guilty of failing to value and prioritize the things that truly matter in our lives.
We allow ourselves to become preoccupied with thoughts, feelings, behavior and actions that may seem to matter greatly “in the moment”, but in truth have nothing to do with where we want to be in life or what we envision for our lives.
Try putting things in their proper perspective.
Remember, no problem or circumstance lasts forever, and if it is not a life or death situation, you always have a chance to change it.
If you need to address something important or significant in your life, don't waste time with anger.
Be about the business of getting to the root of the issue or problem, and then working to find a viable solution to it and move on.
7. Avoid placing blame on or criticizing others.
When you're angry, blaming others or criticizing them is an easy way to project the responsibility for the problem onto them and allow you to then feel justified in your anger toward them or over the situation in which you find yourself.
By making them the focus, you're conveniently relieved of any responsibility to thoughtfully and objectively examine the situation to determine the “real” basis of the issue and any part you may have played in contributing to the problem.
Instead of becoming angry and finding fault with others to justify your anger, try looking beyond their actions or even their words to get to the real nexus of the situation and beginning to figure out how it can be corrected or repaired.
8. Take responsibility for your own actions.
Ladies, as painful as it may be to hear, there are times when the thing that has riled your anger is your own fault.
If you leave home 15 minutes before an appointment that's an easy 25 minutes across town, it's not the fault of the driver of the car in front of you who is driving too slowly that you're late.
If you've failed to communicate to your boss your expectation that you would advance from your current position, and you never initiated a discussion with her to work together on a plan to make that happen, you can't be upset, angry or blame her for not considering you for the new (advanced) position.
And the fact that it makes your blood boil every time you ask your husband to take out the trash because he doesn't take it out before you ask, isn't necessarily his fault.
His routine is this: as soon as you ask, he takes out the trash. No hesitation. No complaint. In his mind, he's done a good thing. He's completed the task promptly and properly.
However, in all of the years prior to your (what now looks like a cra-crazy) outburst, you never communicated to him that your expectation was that he take out the trash without you asking him to do it.
And so there is a problem...
If you repeatedly find yourself in situations where you are constantly frustrated by others; their behaviors, their actions or inactions, take a look at how you may have contributed to the problem.
If you've failed to communicate your position, what you want, need or the boundaries of what is acceptable before a problem arises, then you cannot be angry at the other party for failing to meet your expectations; expectations that they didn't know or didn't fully understand.
Take responsibility for your part in relationships and your interactions with others to avoid problematic situations that will cause you to become angry.
9. Use your voice. Learn to say "no", and "yes".
At this point in my life, there are untold thousands of problems and situations I could have avoided by saying “no” when I should have.
Too many instances when I was afraid of disappointing others, hurting people's feelings, being “rude”, seeming selfish and the list goes on.
I've said “yes” so too times and later regretted it; sometimes regretting it as the word was coming from my lips because I immediately knew I was agreeing or committing to something I did not want, didn't wish to do or want to be involved in.
Put your “big girl” panties on.
Act like the adult you are.
Stop saying “yes” to things you're certain you don't want to say yes to.
In the end, those yes's will most likely make you miserable, and often they'll make you plenty resentful and angry (not angry at yourself of course, where blame should be squarely placed, but at others).
This is unnecessary anger you can prevent happening.
By the same token, if you want to say “yes”, do it. Stop worrying about what others will say, what they're opinions of you will be; what they will think of you.
Turning down opportunities to do the things you truly desire to do, or to have the things you want in your life makes you unfairly resentful of others and angry.
It's up to you to have the guts to say “yes” to what you want or what you believe is best for your life, even if others think you should say “no”.
You should be confident and satisfied in your decision, and not be angry with others because you failed to make a decision or said no to something you truly desire.
10. Don't take yourself so seriously.
When you're angry, it helps to back away and review a situation objectively.
In doing so, you sometimes realize just how ridiculous the entire situation (or your anger) is.
Sometimes we can get all worked up over things simply when our pride or ego has been bruised, or we get embarrassed.
And when we take a moment to actually consider the situation, we realize that nothing else about the situation really matters.
At times, it's better to laugh at your own expense, get over a thing and let go of anger than to magnify a situation (and possibly damage relationships) over ego.
Not All Anger is Created Equal
Some anger issues are incredibly toxic, harmful, hurtful and may mask other emotions.
But not all anger is bad.
Sometimes anger is actually good. In some instances, it can be the only thing that has the power to propel us forward in life or to move us into different areas of life that without having become angry, we would not have entered or experienced.
Anger can be used to fuel the fire of change.
Righteous anger, anger over injustice or mistreatment (real, not imagined), is a good thing as long as you don't become stuck or mired in the anger.
Something has to come after the anger.
That is currently most evident in the #metoo movement today.
Women are using their voices and teaching others that it is okay to be angry, when anger is a natural response to being harmed or suffering injustice.
And they're demonstrating that a constructive way of coping with the anger is speaking up and enacting change so that others do not have to suffer the same injustices.
While anger can destroy peace of mind or sense of well being, it can also be used constructively in the context of shared stories and experiences to help right wrongs and heal emotional wounds.
Uncovering the truths surrounding your anger may take time, and it often requires work on your part, but it is important work to do.
And dealing with anger may take more than just yourself.
If that's the case, know that it is okay to ask for help and support, whether that's talking to a trusted friend, or seeking professional help.
We often do not place enough value on our emotional well-being, but it is immensely important.
Anger is an emotion and so it is a natural part of our human experience.
And as with any other emotion, it's not all bad. It is simply a part of who we are as human beings.
But you can't be rooted in anger and be a healthy, happy or productive person.
You can't allow anger to overtake you; to color or to overshadow your life.
Today we've discussed 10 proven ways to control your anger:
2. Calm Yourself
3. Think Before You Speak
4. Avoid Jumping To Conclusions
5. Release Your Anger
6. Put Things In Their Proper Perspective
7. Avoid Blaming and Criticizing
8. Take Responsibility
9. Learn To Say "No"
10. Don't Take Yourself Too Seriously
Learning anger management, learning to harness and control your anger puts you in the driver's position.
It puts you in control, not over what happens to you, because there is no controlling that, but over how you react to your circumstances.
And controlling your reaction allows you to have some control over how those circumstances affect your life. And when possible, to avoid being angry.
Kimberly Clay is the founder and creative force behind What She Say. She’s a business professional, writer and editor who’s been creating and managing digital content for nearly twenty years. Her work is now focused in the areas of self-improvement and personal development, and she is passionate about helping other individuals, especially women, to find a path for living their best life.