More than any other emotion, anger can have a serious impact on health long term as well as create tension on a daily basis. It immediately affects both us and those around us physically and emotionally.
A sudden outburst of anger will sap energy for the rest of the day and on into the night. There is also damage to relationships, particularly within marriages and kids growing up in this environment.
Anger is a natural emotion experienced by all of us, and feeling angry is normal and healthy. When your anger becomes explosive, volatile and hurtful, however, then it’s time to change how you express your anger so that it no longer takes control of your emotions. Here are 5 tips to help you express your anger in more productive ways.
1. Identify the physical response of your anger. Do your fists clench? Do you grit your teeth? Does your heart rate speed up? Do your muscles tense up? Becoming aware of your body’s physical reactions when you become angry is the first step in helping you manage your anger.
2. Walk away until you calm down. Once you learn how your body reacts physically, you can then take a time out and walk away until you are able to calm down and express yourself when you are no longer so emotionally heated. If you are angry with someone, let them know why you are walking away: to help you calm down before speaking to them because you don’t want to say or do anything that might be hurtful.
3. Count to 10. Yes, this really can help. Counting to 10 slowly is another way to help calm your body’s physical response to anger.
4. Express your thoughts in a non-aggressive Manner. Once you have cooled down, express your feelings in an assertive way, making sure not to make any hurtful statements.
Focus only on the behavior that has angered you without directly accusing the person of the behavior. For example, make “I feel” statements such as “I feel angry when I’m ignored” or “I feel hurt when someone yells at me.”
5. Expressing your anger through writing how you feel in a journal can be quite cathartic. It can help you release any pent up anger you may be experiencing without letting your emotions get the best of you.
It’s okay to become angry. How you express your anger is what’s important. By utilizing some of these tools, you will learn how to take control of your anger while expressing how you feel in more healthy and fruitful ways.
If these steps still feel you leaving out of control of your emotions, find someone to talk to. Professional counselling can help you identify the reasons why you feel out of control and can give you a fully tailored plan suited to you personally to help you regain control over your reactions.
For help and more information on feelings of anger and strategies to overcome it, visit: www.mind.org.uk