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Anger Management: 5 Tips to Control Your Temper

Feeling angry is a normal emotion that everyone experiences from time to time. It is a natural response to situations that you perceive as threatening, frustrating, or unjust.

Anger can be a healthy emotion when it is expressed in a constructive way, but it can also have negative consequences when expressed in a destructive or harmful way.

Chronic or intense anger can also have negative effects on your physical and mental health. Understanding how you experience anger and learning ways to manage and express the emotion in a healthy and constructive way is important for your overall well-being.

Read on to learn more about anger and how you can control angry responses using anger management techniques.

What is Anger?

Anger is a natural emotion characterised by feelings of displeasure, frustration, annoyance, or hostility towards a perceived threat, injustice, or wrongdoing. It is often accompanied by physical sensations such as increased heart rate, muscle tension, and elevated blood pressure.

Anger can be expressed in different ways, including verbally (e.g., shouting, criticising, or threatening), physically (e.g., hitting or throwing objects), or passively (e.g., withdrawing or giving someone the silent treatment).

While anger is a normal and healthy emotion, it can become an issue if it is not managed appropriately and leads to destructive behaviour or harm to yourself or others.

Why Do You Feel Angry?

Anger can be caused by a variety of factors, and the triggers for anger can be different for each person. Some common causes are frustration, injustice, fear, disrespect, betrayal, trauma, and certain mental health conditions.

  • Frustration – When things don’t go as planned or when obstacles arise, it can lead you to feel frustrated, which can trigger anger.
  • Injustice – Witnessing or experiencing injustice or unfair treatment can be a trigger.
  • Fear – Fear of harm or threat can also trigger anger as a protective response.
  • Disrespect – Being disrespected, belittled, or insulted can be a trigger.
  • Betrayal – When someone breaks your trust or acts in a way that is perceived as disloyal, it can lead to feelings of anger.
  • Trauma: Past experiences of trauma or abuse can cause anger as a response to feeling powerless or violated.
  • Mental health conditions – Mental health conditions such as depression, anxiety, and personality disorders can cause heightened emotional reactions, including anger.

    What may be a trigger for you may not be for another person, and the way in which anger is expressed can also vary widely between individuals.

    Underlying Mental Health Issues Which Can Contribute to Anger

    There are a range of underlying issues which can also contribute to anger. Among the most common mental health related issues are stress, trauma, depression and anxiety.

    If you experience high levels of stress for example, it can often be difficult to regulate your emotions which in turn can lead to anger. Finding ways to manage stress, such as through exercise or relaxation techniques, can help reduce your anger.

    Similarly, depression can cause irritability, frustration, and a general lack of motivation, which can lead to anger. Treating depression through therapy and medication can help you better regulate your emotions and reduce anger.

    Like depression, anxiety can also lead to irritability and frustration, which can manifest as anger. Learning techniques to manage anxiety, such as deep breathing or meditation, can help reduce anger.

    Additionally, past traumatic experiences, such as abuse or neglect, can leave individuals with unresolved emotions which can trigger angry outbursts.

    Why Some People Get Angrier Than Others

    Anger is a complex emotion. While some people may be more prone to anger due to factors such as genetics, their upbringing, personality traits, stress, or mental health issues, there are also many other factors that can contribute to how an individual may experience anger.

    Among the most common factors influencing how intensely you may experience anger are:

    • Genetics: Research has shown that genetics can play a role in determining a person’s temperament and emotional regulation. Some people may be born with a predisposition to be more easily triggered or prone to anger.
    • Environment: Growing up in an environment where anger is common or not well-managed can lead to poor coping mechanisms. For example, if a person grows up with parents who frequently yell or use physical aggression to express their anger, they may learn to model this behaviour and have difficulty regulating their own anger as adults.
    • Personality: Certain personality traits, such as impulsivity or a tendency towards negativity, can contribute to increased anger. People with these traits may be more likely to react quickly and intensely to situations that trigger their anger.
    • Stress: People who experience high levels of stress on a regular basis may be more prone to anger. Stressful situations can trigger the body’s fight-or-flight response, which can lead to increased aggression and anger.
    • Mental health: Mental health conditions such as anxiety, depression, or bipolar disorder can increase the risk of anger. These conditions can affect a person’s emotional regulation and make it harder for them to control their anger.

    Understanding the root of your anger is an important step in developing effective anger management strategies.

    What is Anger Management?

    Anger management is the process of learning and implementing strategies to control and manage your anger in a constructive way. The goal of anger management is not to eliminate anger but to understand and regulate the emotion so that it can be expressed in a healthy and productive manner.

    Anger management techniques may include cognitive-behavioural therapy, relaxation techniques, mindfulness, and communication skills training. These techniques can help you identify the triggers of your anger, change negative thought patterns, and learn how to communicate needs effectively without resorting to aggression or violence.

    The process of anger management may also involve identifying and addressing underlying issues that contribute to anger, such as stress, anxiety, depression, or trauma. In some cases, medication may also be recommended as part of an overall treatment plan.

    In general, anger management can help you develop healthier coping mechanisms and improve your relationships and quality of life.

    5 Ways You Can Self Manage Your Anger

    If you feel yourself getting angry, there are techniques you can try to stop yourself losing control and becoming violent or abusive.

    Regularly practicing these techniques can also help you to build long-term healthy coping mechanisms for staying in control.

    Here are five ways you can self-manage anger:

    1. Deep breathing: When you feel anger building, take a few deep breaths. Inhale slowly through your nose and exhale slowly through your mouth. This can help you calm down and think more clearly before reacting.
    2. Exercise: Physical activity can be a great way to release tension and reduce anger. Going for a walk or run, practicing yoga, or hitting a punching bag can all help you channel your anger in a healthy way.
    3. Communication: Learning how to communicate your feelings effectively can help reduce anger. Practice using “I” statements to express how you feel without blaming others. For example, instead of saying “You always make me angry,” try saying “I feel frustrated when this happens.”
    4. Relaxation techniques: Practicing relaxation techniques, such as meditation or progressive muscle relaxation, can help you manage stress and reduce anger. These techniques can help you learn to recognise when you’re feeling tense and relax your body and mind.
    5. Time-out: Sometimes the best way to manage anger is to take a break from the situation. If you feel yourself getting angry, take a step back and give yourself time to calm down before responding. This can help you avoid saying or doing something you might regret later.

    If you continue to find it difficult to control your anger and it is interfering with your daily life or relationships, consider seeking professional help.

    How Psychologists Treat Anger Issues

    Psychologists can use a variety of treatment approaches to help you manage your anger, depending on your specific circumstances. Common treatments for anger include:

    1. Cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT): CBT is a type of therapy that helps identify and change negative thought patterns and behaviours that contribute to anger. This approach focuses on teaching skills such as relaxation techniques, communication skills and problem-solving strategies.
    2. Anger management therapy: This type of therapy is specifically designed to help individuals learn how to manage and regulate their anger. Anger management therapy can include individual or group sessions and may use a combination of techniques such as cognitive-behavioural therapy, relaxation techniques and communication skills training.
    3. Mindfulness-based therapies: Mindfulness-based therapies, such as mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) or mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT), can help individuals learn to be more aware of their thoughts and emotions, and develop more compassionate and accepting attitudes towards themselves and others.

    Find Out More

    If you feel that your anger is getting out of control or you would like to know more about anger management treatments, talk to our team.

    Our psychologists can help find the underlying root of your problem and work with you to achieve a manageable solution.