In life, anger is inevitable.
No matter how calm you are, you’re eventually going to find yourself in a situation that stokes the embers in your heart and puts your patience to the absolute test.
While anger is a natural emotional response to stressful circumstances, improperly handling this emotion can have dire consequences.
Mismanaged anger can result in job loss, chronic stress, strained relationships, and even heart disease, so it’s in your best interest to rein it in and calm yourself before your rage spirals out of control.
Whether you’re dealing with a bad breakup, a lousy boss, an obnoxious family member, or something else entirely, managing your anger is a straightforward process, and calming yourself always has better consequences than succumbing to it.
If you want to learn how to effectively manage your anger, then check out these six crucial steps to calming your anger backed by expert guidance.
Looking for more proven ways to feel Good? Learn how to stop feeling miserable with these 5 habits that extremely happy people do every single day!
6 Helpful Steps to Calming Anger (Backed by Science!)
1. Remove Yourself From the Situation.
If you’re engaged in a conflict and are in the same location as the source of your anger, then you may just want to leave.
Try as you might, you probably won’t get the desired outcome by sticking around. If the conflict has already escalated, then it may escalate even more as passions run high.
When you’re angry, it’s easy to say something without thinking. In most situations, saying or doing the wrong thing will have some pretty bad consequences.
If possible, try to use de-escalation techniques to calm the situation, but if you can’t, leaving is a perfectly valid option.
According to the Tasmanian Department of Health at ambulance.tas.gov.au, you can usually tell if your de-escalation techniques are working within three minutes, so if you don’t see a change, then you should just create as much distance as possible.
Sometimes, completely leaving a situation is not an option. If you get into an argument with a coworker, then you might not be able to leave the office entirely. In a situation like that, just try to work within the limitations imposed on you.
At the very least, you can go back to your cubicle and try to tune the other person out.
While it may be frustrating, and you may feel like you have somehow lost the conflict, you can lose a lot more by exploding at someone out of anger and saying something that you’d regret later.
According to a scientific research article at ncbi.nlm.nih.gov, controlled breathing techniques quickly change how your central nervous system functions, increasing comfort and relaxation while decreasing stress and anger.
Breathing is one of the easiest things that you can do; you’ve been doing it for your entire life, so you’re probably quite good at it. Your technique doesn’t even need to be that fancy to work.
Simply breathe in for a couple of seconds, hold it, then breathe out for a second or two. It’s that easy. As long as you’re focused on your breathing, you won’t be thinking about the things that make you angry, making it much easier to calm down.
Once you’ve calmed down, you can approach your triggers with a more rational mindset. It may seem cliché or unbelievably simple, but it’s been scientifically proven as an effective anger management technique.
The things that anger you may make you feel like you don’t have control over your life.
Such feelings can seriously damage your self-esteem, and they can easily cause severe distress. No matter what, you have to remember that you have value.
There are plenty of things to be happy about, and your problems aren’t the end of the world. One of the best ways that you can deal with stress, anger, and other negative emotions is by practicing self-affirmation.
According to psychologist David Creswell at cmu.edu, self-affirmation increases your ability to solve complex problems.
With an enhanced ability to solve problems, you can more come up with a solution to address the underlying causes of your anger.
4. Know What Can and Can’t Be Changed.
You’re strong and capable, but that doesn’t mean that you have complete control over everything in your life.
While this fact may be distressing, it’s something that you simply have to accept. If you’re too focused on the things that can’t be changed, then you won’t put any effort into the things that can be changed.
At huffpost.com, Marie Darling Montero, an experienced psychotherapist, much of your suffering is determined by your perceived control over the situation.
She explains that someone who feels like outside factors control her life will be much less likely to recover from an emotional experience than someone who feels like she is in charge.
Are you angry because someone is disrespecting you, or are you angry because you’re letting that person disrespect you?
When you understand what can and can’t be controlled in your life, you’re in a better position to address your problems, so try examining your sources of anger to get a better idea of the role you play in them.
5. Channel Your Energy.
You’re not going to accomplish much by just sitting around and focusing on what makes you angry.
While it’s good to ponder your emotions constructively, you have to use your energy in other ways too.
One of the best ways to channel anger, stress, and other negative emotions is to engage in a hobby.
At headtohealth.gov.au, the Australian Department of Health recommends music, athletics, art, and other endeavors that engage your mind or body to relieve stress and negativity.
According to a psychological study at frontiersin.org, reflecting on your negative emotions can have a profound effect on how you deal with them, but it’s a double-edged sword.
If you simply focus on how terrible your situation is, then you’ll only feel worse. You accomplish nothing by feeling sorry for yourself or riling yourself up for no reason.
To deal with the sources of your anger, you need to take a close look at the situation. Try to pick it apart. If you had an argument with someone, then try to figure out what you could have done differently.
You don’t control the other party, so there’s no point in focusing on what they could have done differently.
This doesn’t mean that you should come to a conclusion where you blame yourself for the conflict or let people walk all over you.
The point of reflecting on the source of your anger is to try to figure out how you could have contributed a better outcome so that you’re better prepared to handle a similar situation in the future.
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