Anger is a natural and normal emotion that can help us identify underlying issues and indicate an opportunity for problem resolution.  Just like pain, anger is a signal to take better care of yourself. While becoming angry in response to a confrontational person or unfair situation every once in a while is a normal part of life, having routine outbursts of uncontrollable anger can seriously affect your quality of life.  Even for people who are not necessarily struggling with anger issues, anger management techniques can improve outcomes in tense situations and prevent negative emotions from affecting your health. Next time you find yourself feeling angry or overwhelmed with frustration, try using these strategies to manage your emotions.  

Identify Your Triggers

If you would like to lessen the amount and severity of anger episodes in your life, start by paying close attention to what people, places, and circumstances usually ignite your frustration.  You may not be able to completely avoid these triggering situations, nor should you seek to eliminate everything that makes you slightly agitated, but you can begin to plan accordingly. For example, if you find yourself arriving at work in an irritable mood most days because you spent too much time in traffic worried you would be late, it might be worth it to leave the house an hour earlier and enjoy a stress-free drive to work with far less traffic.  You may also want to use your knowledge of your personal triggers to practice anger management techniques, such as deep breathing, to calm yourself in advance of potentially frustrating situations.  

Notice the Physical Signs of Your Anger

Just as with any intense emotion, anger creates physical reactions in the body.  These symptoms may be what clued you in on your anger problem, or you may still be entirely unaware of them.  Paying attention to the physical signs of oncoming anger, as well as how you feel during and after an episode of rage, can help you to stop anger in its tracks or recover from an outburst as well as possible.  While the connection between body and mind is different for every individual, some common warning signs of rising anger are feeing hot, rapid heartrate, shaking, and clenched fists. Training yourself to notice your body’s physical reaction to triggering situations can help you to consciously change directions when you find yourself headed down a destructive path.

Walk Away

Stepping away from a heated situation is always an option when you are working on controlling your anger.  If you find yourself in a tense conversation and you feel you are close to your breaking point, explain to the other person involved that you need to take a time out and calm down before continuing the discussion.  This method can sometimes irritate or even anger the other individual, but it is a better choice than yelling, becoming destructive, or saying something you will regret.  

Find a Healthy Distraction

When we become extremely angry with a person or situation, we tend to replay events in our minds, both real and imagined, stirring up more emotions and making it difficult to think logically.  The best strategy for taking your mind off consuming emotions is to look for a healthy distraction. The best distractions are physical or creative because these activities root us in the present moment and make it nearly impossible to dwell on other issues.  Try going on a run or doing a bit of art therapy to channel your thoughts and feelings into a healthy outlet. You may even find you are able to problem-solve more efficiently once you clear your mind.  

Discover the Source of Your Emotions

When you want to eliminate problematic anger from your life, the best course of action often involves professional help.  This might mean anger management classes or talk therapy, but discovering the underlying reasons for your anger is the only way to gain control of your thoughts and actions.  Living with constant anger can increase your risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes, as well as damage your career and relationships. Professional counseling can help you determine if your anger stems from past trauma, unresolved emotional issues, mental illness, or an unhealthy situation that needs changing.  Anger is often a defense mechanism to prevent you from being vulnerable to pain in relationships, or a response to severe anxiety. Decoding your emotions can allow you to work towards creating a happier, more peaceful life for yourself and those around you.

Many people who struggle with anger issues turn to drugs or alcohol to cope with their emotions, which ultimately worsens mental and physical wellbeing, and may lead to addiction.  If you or someone you love is struggling with addiction and mental illness, a quality treatment program can provide you with strategies for maintaining long-term sobriety. At Renewal Lodge by Burning Tree, you will find a team of compassionate, knowledgeable professionals ready to coach each client through the 12-steps and beyond.  By structuring treatment to fit individual needs, including the identification of co-occurring disorders, Burning Tree facilitates an environment of healing and holistic wellness. Here, our clients tackle their addictions head-on and harness the power to restructure their lives through high accountability and life skills that foster lasting sobriety.  We specialize in treatment for the chronic relapser and believe that with the right tools, you can put an end to the cycle of addiction. For more information on how we can help, call us now at 866-287-2877.