Anger is a completely human reaction. Even the most placid person with the patience of a saint would have felt angry at least once in their lives. Biologically, the emotion affects all of us in similar ways. Our heart rates speed up, our hormonal levels go completely out of whack, which wrecks our skin in the long run, and our blood pressure starts skyrocketing. The only difference is how anyone chooses to act on it. Do we express or conceal our anger, calm ourselves down, or perhaps some combination of these options? How do we manage our rage while minimising any possibility of damage? Read on to find out.
Breathe Through It
Ever heard of something called mindful breathing? The simple act of focusing on our breathing can help us gain control of our emotions, including anger. Instead of allowing rage to control you, turn your focus on the ebb and flow of your breath. Whenever you’re angry, your body will release hormones that are typically referred to as stress hormones, including noradrenaline. Paying attention to your breathing allows you to gain control of the release of noradrenaline, thus easing any signs of distress caused by anger. A steadier release of noradrenaline also helps sharpen your ability to focus, allowing you to concentrate on the things that matter, instead of flying off the handle.
Find Realistic Solutions
We often feel anger in response to a distressing problem. That’s why one way to effectively deal with any bursts of anger is to redirect any spikes of energy into formulating realistic solutions, rather than continue to dwell on the source of irritation. For instance, if you often feel irrationally angry whenever a colleague chews noisily, consider moving your workspace elsewhere. You could also invest in a good pair of earphones that are capable of blocking out the noise.
Note Down Triggers
Noting down moments of anger in written form is a great long-term strategy, especially if you’ve been struggling with this for quite some time. At times, forcing ourselves to think of a solution while we’re angry can feel quite impossible. That’s why expressing our thoughts in written form in a secure place might work; doing so allows you to vent without consequence. It can be a secure note app on your smartphone, for instance. Don’t censor yourself here. Allow yourself to acknowledge your emotions and the cause of your anger. Later, when you’re in a much clearer mindset, read through these notes, identify the most common triggers, and come up with realistic solutions so that you’re able to react in a diplomatic way in future.
Remove Yourself From The Danger Zone
If possible, physically remove yourself from the cause of your towering rage or even the mildest of irritations. Doing so prevents you from doing something you might regret later. This can be very useful if you feel yourself on the verge of lashing out at someone. Often, in our anger, we can be prone to hurting others without truly meaning it, which can end up causing friction that might be difficult to mend. Instead of allowing your negative feelings to accumulate, take a short walk to calm yourself down until you’re certain that you’ve got a much better handle on your emotions.
Defuse With Humour
Another way to deal with anger is to defuse it with humour. Watch a few funny cat clips until the feeling begins to subside or perhaps select scenes from one of your favourite sitcoms. If you’ve got a funny friend, engage them in a short conversation as long as they’re not busy. Laughter is more powerful than most people realise. You can even use it as a healthy means to unwind after a long, hard day’s work.
Channel It Into Exercise
Exercising is also a fantastic way of dealing with anger. When we exercise, our body releases happy hormones known as endorphins, which are able to directly counter the biological effects of anger and distress. Endorphins work by elevating your mood and acting as a natural painkiller, literally easing your rage from within. If a full-blown workout isn’t possible, consider replacing it with a fifteen-minute walk instead. As long as the activity gets you moving long enough, you should be able to feel the release of endorphins beginning to take effect.
Consult A Counsellor
If all else fails, consider consulting a counsellor who is able to offer realistic solutions and guide you through them until you’re able to respond to them on your own. Besides acting as a listening ear, you might be surprised by how helpful it can be to be able to talk to someone who can assess the situation from an external perspective, without any emotional stake. A trusted confidante who’s not afraid to offer his or her honest opinion could also do the trick.