Anger is a very important emotion that we experience as humans. When it is used effectively, it alerts us that something is wrong in our environment.
Sometimes there is a misperception that we need to avoid feeling angry as much as possible. This is not true. Anger is a natural emotion and our response is much more important than the fact that we experienced it.
However, there may be times when it comes up more frequently or intensely for people than they would like. When this happens, we may find ourselves doing or saying things we regret. Some people may even feel as if they are ‘addicted’ to getting angry.
GENERAL COPING STRATEGIES FOR ANGER
As with any emotion, there is often something that triggers the feeling of anger. Some common triggers are believing someone is disrespecting you, having issues with technology, performing poorly on exams, or feeling embarrassed in a social situation.
It is important for you to determine what your personal triggers are. One way you can do this is to think back at some of the more recent times that you became very angry and try to notice if there are any similarities with those situations.
We are constantly narrating our personal experience and are often not accurate to what exactly is taking place. The tone of our narration, which is based on many factors, can directly influence our emotions.
For example, if we are running late and there is unexpected traffic, we might tell ourselves “Really? Of all days, I get traffic today!?”
And simply having that thought can lead to feeling angry, meaning that it is based on your interpretation of the events as opposed to the actual event. Self talk can play an important role in how we experience our emotions, so please feel free to check out our page dedicated to it.
Do you have difficulty focusing? Do you clench your fists? Does your voice raise? Any mental, physical, or behavioral response that you have can help you learn more about your anger process. It can also let you know if you are starting to get angry, but did not realize it yet.
For example, you find yourself clenching your teeth when you are angry. After not having a friend respond to a text message, you notice that you are beginning to clench your teeth. You had not yet realized that you were beginning to feel angry, but this gives you a chance to reflect on what you are thinking and feeling.
When we become angry, our emotions become flooded and it gets difficult to focus. As a result, we may say or do things we regret and may not have done if we were able to think clearly. Taking a temporary break and removing yourself from the situation can be very difficult, but it can significantly reduce the chance that you do something you regret.
This can be as simple as excusing yourself and going to the restroom to put cold water on your face. Once you feel like you have more of a clear head, you can return to the situation. If you remain very angry, it may be helpful to remove yourself longer if possible.
Similar to identifying triggers, you can rate your anger on a scale of 1-10. You may notice that 1-4 are manageable, but once you are at 5 or higher, you escalate. Noting what number you have can help you identify what strategy to use to calm down.
You may also notice that there are certain situations where you are an ‘8’ when you believe it does not warrant that response.
For example, you rate your anger an ‘8’ after your roommate leaves very dirty dishes in the sink. While you did not approve of their actions, you are surprised that you got so angry. You reflect on your response and think it comes down to believing you were disrespected, which is a big trigger for you.
When we feel very angry, we can have difficulty focusing. To help us feel more calm, using deep breathing can significantly help us. Go to our page here to learn more about deep breathing. You may also clink on our popular mental health apps section to learn about some apps to can help you relax as well.
THREE COPING STRATEGIES FOR ANGER TO TRY TODAY
- If you are curious if your anger may be related to anxiety, depression, or other mental health concerns, you may find it helpful to take one of our 8 mental health screening tools.
You may find some of these other sections helpful to learn more about your relationship with anger:
Explore our popular mental health apps section to see if there is an app that can support you