“Anybody can become angry – that is easy, but to be angry with the right person and to the right degree and at the right time and for the right purpose, and in the right way – that is not within everybody’s power and is not easy.” – Aristotle
Have you heard of Aristotle or this quote before? Well, this is one of my favourite quotes by Aristotle, and it matches this topic – How to control anger, so well!
I agree with all the words put together in his quote, but I beg to differ when he says – it is not within everybody’s power to change how they get angry. You know why? As per me, it is in everybody’s power to change or know how to control anger. Want to know how? Scroll down for more insight on how to control anger.
Before getting to the main topic, first, let’s make clear what exactly anger means. It is important for you to understand, at first, what you feel when you are angry. Often people mistake other negative and hyper-emotions with anger.
What is Anger?
According to psychologist Charles Spielberger, anger is “an emotional state that varies in intensity from mild irritation to intense fury and rage.” In general terms, anger is just like any other emotion a person might feel. It is normal and healthy to feel angry at times. It is typically triggered by an unpleasant feeling that occurs when we think we are misjudged, mistreated, opposed in our views or opinions, injured, or when something is keeping us from achieving our goals. However, the problem starts when this emotion – anger, gets out of control, and leads to unwanted consequences and you don’t know how to control anger. The cause of these problems could be at your workplace or in your relationship, or generally in the overall quality of your life.
For different people, the intensity of anger also varies differently. For instance, how often does it occur, how long does it last, at what depth do they feel this emotion, it all varies from person to person! Some people might even be comfortable feeling angry because they know it won’t last long for them, or maybe the intensity will not be much. But, some people do not know how to control anger and what to do when they feel the rage, thus leading to unwanted behaviours or consequences. Thus, for them, the big question arises: “How can I manage anger?” or “How to Control Anger?”
How Can I Manage Anger?
If I ask you this question, I am sure your answer would be simple, keep calm and try to suppress the heated emotions. Right?
But let me tell you something, the answer to this question is not that simple. The reason being, suppressing your anger can lead to other problems such as passive-aggressive behaviour, passing cynical comments at others, criticizing everything, and not finding success in any relationship. Thus, if you do not let your anger outward, it will turn inward on yourself, leading to further consequences.
Here are a few tips to help you on how to control anger and manage your emotion better.
1. Sit down and explore the reason behind your anger
Have you ever blasted at your employee, as if he had committed a crime, just because he came to work only 5 minutes late?
A little exaggeration here, but have you? What according to you could be the reason for that? You were super angry just because he was late, or was there some other underlying reason to it? Hence, if you experience your irritation or anger rising, you must take out time, sit by yourself, and ask this question – “What am I always angry about?” Identifying the solution to this will help you to take a constructive decision, help to communicate your anger better, and finally will help you work towards a resolution.
One of the most potent techniques to know the reasons behind your anger is to ask yourself ‘5 times why’. This enables you to get to the root of the reason why you lost your emotional control!
2. Find an alternative to cool yourself down
Like I mentioned before, suppressing your anger is not the solution to your problem. It is better to make a conscious choice to divert your mind into something positive and something that you love to do. Do not suppress the heated energy, but invest it in something productive and constructive. Hence when your anger is rising, or when you anticipate the trigger signs, make sure to deal quickly with it before it goes out of hand.
3. It’s okay to take a step back.
Sometimes we get so engrossed in an argument that the only thing we think of is how to win it, even if we are not making any sense. We just want to win it anyhow! Maybe a matter of ego or pride, isn’t it? But my dear friends, trying to win over an argument will only fuel your anger. Therefore, one of the best things that you can do is to just step away! It is fine to take a step back and let your argument drop. I know that initially it will be difficult, but give it a try, and excuse yourself from an argument to calm you down. If you are thinking this is dodging away from the situation, you are wrong! This means being able to manage and control your emotion – anger – better.
You can also fancy a read to this great article that talks about tricks to help you let go of your anger.
Another question that I often come across is –
Is it Possible to Control Anger?
Honestly, if you would have asked me this question some years ago, my answer would have been a straight NO. But as time passed, I indulged myself more and more in understanding the root cause of my increasing temper and started to work more and more on how to control anger. Over the years, with my constant practice and experience, I can now tell you that YES, it is possible to control your anger. What you have to do is to be consistent in the practice of healthy techniques that help you. These techniques need to help you first to identify your trigger reasons, and secondly to work on your emotional control. Let me give you a few tips on how to control anger!
Techniques on How to Control Anger
1. Take your time out
Whenever you feel your temper is about to rise, and you don’t know how to control anger, just take your time out. You can slip into a quiet room, close your eyes, and take deep breaths. Visualize yourself into a relaxing position and focus on staying calm until your temper is back to normal. If you are a music lover, you can even tune into your favourite song and hum along with it. Music is most definitely a good way to carry away your feelings. If you are not much into music, you can repeat a mantra that helps you calm down and refocus. The basic idea is to simply take your time out.
2. Stretch out and relax your muscles
Few yoga-like movements such as neck rolls and shoulder rolls are good stretch outs to ease your anger. Standing up and stretching your arms is another good move that can help you control and harness your emotions. You can even meditate for a while until your temper is back to normal. These tips are for the scenarios where you immediately want to control your anger. Exercise Yoga as much as possible. Exercise in any form helps to keep your emotions at bay and also improves your overall mental and physical health.
You can also look at our article Vipassana Meditation Techniques for some insights on relaxing and calming your mind.
3. Talk to your closed one’s
Communicating, sharing your problems or grief with your closed ones are good ways to ease out all your tensions. I have personally observed a lot of changes in me after I have started to effectively open up my feelings – be it happiness or sadness. I would strongly recommend to open up and share your thoughts with anyone you feel comfortable with. It will just lighten your mood and heart. It is a nice way to control your anger immediately.
4. Express your anger
Like I mentioned earlier in this article, controlling your anger is different from suppressing it. Therefore, it is okay to say how you feel as long as you say it constructively. If you think you will not be able to handle the heated conversation, you can opt for other ways to express your point. For example – maybe writing a letter or a note to that person, or telling it through somebody else, or maybe just venting it out in front of a mirror or to a trusted friend.
5. Transform your energy
It will be great if you could turn your anger into a tangible production. Whenever you are angry, resort to your hobbies such as painting, gardening, cooking, writing, or whatever makes you happy. Let your emotion muse your creative self.
Alternatively, go out, run, punch a pillow, shout loudly, breathe calmly and deeply, take a cold shower (if possible): use any way that suits you to transform your strong emotional energy (the anger) into motivational energy.
Anger is an emotion that needs a lot of effort to be dealt with. If left unattended, it can damage your life in endless ways. However, it is not impossible to control it. Instead, it is very possible and easy with the right tools, such as patience, perseverance, and conscious efforts.
If these tips don’t help, or if you need extra guidance and attention, consider talking it with your therapist. They will be able to help you better understand the underlying factors that cause you irritation and anger. They will also guide you on how to control anger.
If you have treated your anger differently, but effectively, I would certainly be happy to know about it. Do let us know in the comments section your views on how to control anger.
If you found this article interesting and want to go deeper into this topic, I would suggest you a great book from one of my favourite teacher and healer:
Have a good day and life 🙂