- 8 ways to deal with anger
- 2. Work out why you’re angry
- 3. Write it down
- 4. Count to 100
- 5. Press pause
- 6. Move your body
- 7. Talk to someone
- 8. Take time to relax
- How Cognitive Behavior Therapy Helps Anger Management
- Aggression Hypothesis
- Adaptive Anger
- Anger Treatment
- Cognitive-behavior Therapy
- Anger Symptoms
- About this New York Psychologist
8 ways to deal with anger
First up, anger isn’t a ‘bad’ emotion. It can actually help you to be honest or to stand up for something you believe in. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with feeling angry. What matters is how you cope with and express your anger.
If you learn anger management skills, you’ll look less this…
and more this…
We’re not guaranteeing you won’t still be in a bad mood, but you’ll be less ly to act in a way you might regret.
Here are our tips for the best way to control your anger.
If you can recognise when you’re starting to feel angry, you’ll be in a good place to try some of our tips before you get really worked up or lash out. You can then try a few of the strategies below. Some warning signs are:
- pounding heart
- gritting your teeth
- tight chest
- raising your voice
- being snappy or defensive
- temporarily losing your sense of humour
- getting a ‘flash’ of a bad mood
- being overly critical of someone
- feeling argumentative.
2. Work out why you’re angry
There’s lots of reasons why you might be angry. It’s a normal or understandable response in some situations, such as when you or someone else is being treated unfairly. If you’re not sure why you’ve just snapped at someone, though, think back through your day and try to pinpoint what set you off.
Some other reasons why you might be feeling angry include:
- you’re under a lot of pressure
- you’re experiencing bodily or hormonal changes that cause mood swings
- you’re frustrated with how your life is going.
If you work on first recognising and then dealing with your anger, it won’t have such a damaging effect on your relationships, body, mind and emotions.
3. Write it down
Sometimes, writing stuff down can help you work out why you’re feeling angry and how you might be able to deal with it. It’ll also help you to put things in perspective.
4. Count to 100
This one seems pretty basic, but it works. Thinking about something other than what’s making you upset for 100 seconds can help you avoid blowing a fuse. It gives you a chance to gather yourself and your thoughts before you do anything else.
5. Press pause
When you feel angry about something, it’s almost impossible to deal with the situation in a productive or helpful way. If you feel yourself losing your cool, just walk away from the situation for a while. You’ll deal with it better when everyone, yourself included, is feeling calmer.
6. Move your body
Exercise is an awesome way to let off steam. You could take a walk around the block, go for a run, or do something really high-energy boxing.
7. Talk to someone
Talking to someone you trust about how you’re feeling can take a weight off your shoulders as well as your mind. That could be a trusted adult, friend or family member. You could even give the ReachOut forums a go, and talk with other young people who get how you’re feeling.
If your anger is getting control, consider seeing a mental health professional. Watch our video to find out why talking helps.
8. Take time to relax
If you know what helps you to relax, you’ll find it really useful whenever you’re feeling angry. Take some time out to do something you enjoy, whether that’s walking in the park, reading a book or listening to music. You could also try an app ReachOut Breathe or Smiling Mind to help you relax.
How Cognitive Behavior Therapy Helps Anger Management
Anger is typically considered to be a negative feeling. This means, most people, most of the time, attempt to prevent feeling this way or would to turn down the intensity, or shorten its length. But, un other negative feelings, e.g.
, guilt, sadness, anxiety, and disgust, some people report positive aspects of their anger. Anger often gives people a sense of righteousness, and is often referred to as a moral emotion. It is often related to themes (or values) of morality, justice, fairness, and respect.
But, it can also be triggered by other emotional material and have less to do with morality. At times, an individual may not realize there is a connection between anger and another emotion. For example, it may feel much better to be angry at a loved one then to feel the hurt associated with rejection.
Early aggression theories proposed that mounting frustration could lead to aggression, and it seems ly anger would mediate this relationship.
A newer theory, Berkowitz’s Neoassociationistic Model, reformulates Dollard and Doob’s Frustration-Aggression Hypothesis. He proposes negative affect (emotions) all accumulate, and once a threshold is reached, aggression is ly to occur.
This would mean that even anxiety, guilt, and embarrassment could precipitate anger and aggression. This is somewhat counter-intuitive since these emotions are typically associated with withdrawal and escape behavioral tendencies.
This also means that the act of anger/aggression may have less to do with the target than previous aversive interactions or issues. In these cases, the emotional expression (i.e., the motor behavior associated with the anger episode) may be “misplaced.
” Misplaced anger may be perceived by both the target and the actor as disproportionate to the apparent trigger.
Anger, anxiety, may feel uncomfortable, but can be associated with adaptive behaviors or unhealthy consequences, the same way fear, and the related constructs of anxiety and panic are.
For example, anger can alert people that an injustice is being committed, or that someone is taking advantage of him or her. On a larger scale, it may lead groups of people to organize and motivate them to take action in favor or social change.
Examples of this could be Mothers Against Drunk Driving (M.A.D.D.), protestors of a war, or unfair law. But, fear, if anger becomes intense, lasts for long periods of time, or leads to unhealthy (risky) behaviors (e.g.
, domestic violence, child-abuse, drinking, drug use, or road rage), it can become very self-defeating and even lead to medical problems (e.g., heart attacks, strokes, high blood pressure, gastrointestinal problems, binge eating, etc.).
Anger can be successfully treated with a number of cognitive-behavioral techniques (CBT) in an anger management program. Components of cognitive-behavior therapy have been studied more than other psychotherapies, and have proven to be effective.
In as little as 8-12 weeks, many techniques have shown promising results.
Cognitive restructuring, problem solving, relaxation training, communication skills, and combinations of these techniques have reduced both the experience of anger and many of the associated behaviors.
Cognitive-behavior therapy (CBT) is a form of treatment that focuses on alleviating current symptoms by addressing current causes of the problem(s).
Specifically, it is the theory that emotional problems are the result of the combination of situations and people’s beliefs about these events.
Thoughts about how other people should behave, how mistreated I was when I was younger, the amount of respect I should be given, how frequently people should be polite and fair, etc.
The common model for conceptualizing this idea is Albert Ellis’ ABC model, where “A” stands for Activating Events, “B” stands for Beliefs, and “C” stands for Consequences.
Activating events (A’s), are anything real or imagined that activates our belief system (B’s) and results in an emotional consequence (C). Emotional Consequences (Ce’s), set the stage for behavioral consequences (Cb’s).
If you bumped by someone with a backpack while walking on the sidewalk, that could be an A. You may then believe (B), “He should watch where he is going, and at a minimum apologize.” The combination of this activating event (A) and belief (B), may result in anger, and an emotional consequence (C).
Anger symptoms vary and cross many domains. Symptom domains for anger include physiological, cognitive, and behavioral.
These symptoms may result in detrimental effects in the family, love life, medical profile, or work life of a person.
They may also lead to more risky behaviors resulting in serious physical threat and even legal problems (e.g., assault and battery, reckless driving, drug possession charges).
Physiological symptoms can include rapid heart rate, palpitations, perspiration, shaking muscles, urges to hit others.
Cognitive symptoms may include difficulties concentrating, remembering, rumination about events, or revenge fantasies.
Behavioral symptoms could be severe, as in the case of physical altercations, reckless driving, or alcohol consumption, or mild procrastination or small accidents.
When left untreated there is mounting evidence that these symptoms over time wreak havoc on our physical bodies and lead to medical problems.
Surges in blood pressure, frequent activation of the nervous and endocrine systems, and tendencies to neglect self-care put angry individuals at risk for all kinds of problems.
Certain types of anger can predict all-cause-mortality and reliably predict heart disease as well as blood pressure and cholesterol do.
About this New York Psychologist