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January 5, 2012

5 Ways to Control Your Anger

Anger is a normal and healthy emotion, but expressing it in a constructive way can be a challenge for some people. Everyone feels angry and acts in ways he or she regrets from time to time. But for some people, feelings of anger manifest as risky or out-of-control behaviors like recurrent, heated arguments with co-workers, family, and friends or as physical violence. For people like this, learning anger management skills can be life altering. Anger management generally refers to learning how to recognize when one is becoming angry and then taking action to deal with the situation in a healthy way. One of the most tried and true anger management techniques is to take a time-out from the situation. This could involve taking a physical break from the source of tension or it could mean simply counting to ten before responding to it. During this time-out, it can help to engage in relaxation techniques like breathing deeply from the diaphragm, perhaps counting to 3 during the inhale, holding the breath then, for a count of 3, and then exhaling to a count of 3. Many people also find it helps to repeat a soothing phrase, such as Take it easy, or slow down. Another great way to deal with anger is to find humor in a tense situation. For example, if you want to call someone a dirt bag, try instead, to literally picture them as a bag of dirt. The idea of a bag of dirt making rude phone calls or driving recklessly may just be ridiculous enough to help cool your anger. Or, you may find that putting yourself in anothers shoes helps you gain a different, more understanding perspective on the situation. Once you acknowledge your anger, it often helps to discuss it. When doing so, make a point to use I statements, which helps you avoid placing blame. For example, instead of saying: Youre always late! try saying, Im upset that youre late. Similarly, practice good listening skills, which can help improve communication and ease future tension between two people. And, remember that anger management is NOT ignoring or suppressing your feelings. Rather, its the ability to EXPRESS your anger in assertive, but mature and non-destructive ways. If, however, you feel that you cant control your emotions using these self-help steps or if your anger is negatively affecting your relationships seek help with a mental health professional!

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Last Updated:
December 20, 2012