If your anger feels persistent & coping strategies aren’t working, it could be beneficial to discuss your anger with a professional or support groups.
Anger is a natural human emotion, but hanging onto anger will leave you frustrated and upset, and can even contribute to chronic illnesses like hypertension, heart disease, ulcers, and bowel diseases. Learning to acknowledge the anger you’re feeling, understand what it’s trying to tell you, and find a way to release it is key to emotional intelligence, so today we’ve got strategies for learning to let go of anger.
Don’t ignore anger when it shows up
Be honest with yourself; you’re upset. Admit that you are angry and acknowledge that it’s totally normal to experience this emotion. Once we let ourselves feel that strong emotion, we become ready to release it.
Write it down
Doing a written reflection on your emotions can help you root out the cause of your anger and come to terms with it. Sometimes we use anger as a mask for other more painful emotions. Journaling can help you figure out if your anger is actually masking sadness or disappointment. Start writing and you may be surprised with what you uncover.
Look at the situation objectively
A recent study found that adopting a third-person perspective on a situation can help reduce aggressive behavior, negative self-talk, and anger. Analyze the situation as if you were independent of it and evaluate your actions as a neutral observer. This can help you gain perspective on the issue and remove some of the emotional tension from your response.
Pinpoint your triggers
So what exactly made you angry?
Sometimes it’s not the exact situation that got you inflamed, but rather the meaning behind it. Perhaps your partner simply forgot something at the grocery store, but if you get especially angry when you feel you are not being listened to, this small act can bring up disproportionate anger. Try to pinpoint these triggers so you can be more aware of them in future situations.
Take some personal time
Anger can feel so overwhelming at times that it’s best to just take a moment to yourself to take deep breaths, collect your thoughts, calm your mind, and come back to the situation with a clearer head. Meditation has been shown to be incredibly effective for managing anger, so try clearing your headspace for a better perspective. You might find that simply removing yourself from the situation helps to greatly reduce your anger.
Sweat it out
Oftentimes, anger can feel almost more physical than emotional. Workout your anger through an exercise to physically metabolize some of the rage you’re feeling.
Seek out healthy distractions
Focusing on something else is a great anger-reliever. Snuggling a pet, taking a walk, playing a game, or reading a book are great ways to distract your mind and remind yourself that in the grand scheme of things, there are so many more important things than the instance that provoked your anger.
Talk it out
Once you’ve calmed yourself and taken some time to get perspective on the issue, it can be valuable to talk it out. If the anger spurred from something someone else did, explain why it upset you and try to find common ground to avoid the situation from repeating itself in the future. If your anger came from circumstances beyond your control such as reading an inflammatory headline or witnessing injustices in your community, reach out to a friend or family member who may also share your concern and discuss how the incident made you feel and potential solutions to the problem.
Consider chatting with a professional
If your anger feels persistent or overwhelming and common coping strategies aren’t working, it could be beneficial to discuss your anger with a professional or seek out support groups.