Anger as an emotion is neither good nor bad. Anger is just a messenger. Anger can provide energy and motivate you to action. However by itself has never solved a problem.
The problem with anger rests on how you respond to the message. In the ideal situation, you want to harness that energy for finding constructive solutions to the problem. But when seeing red, that can be hard to do!
Try using these strategies to short-circuit your anger before it gets out of hand.
- Know your physical signs of anger. There can be several physical signs, know yours whether it is a faster heart rate, sudden heat, tense muscles/jaw, or a knot in the stomach. When you learn your signs, you’ll be better prepared to interrupt an escalation when starting to feel irritated, frustrated, or annoyed.
- Take a time out. Try to remove yourself from the situation when you can. Take a walk around the block or at least to the bathroom or the back porch. You might also be able to counteract the fight-or-flight response with slow, deep breathing.
- Get some exercise. Burn off the anger adrenaline by moving around. A walk is great! Or put on some music and dance!
- Focus on your senses. Focus on your body sensations, which can reduce the intensity of your emotions. What are you seeing? Smelling? How does your body feel?
- Count to ten. If you can’t create physical distance, at least give your mind some time to catch up to your emotions. Count to ten before saying or doing something you will regret later.
Wait to seek solutions when you are calm. There is no need to bury your anger but let it chill for a bit. The conversation and solutions you explore later will be much more fruitful if you do.
Always seek professional help if you feel your anger is out of control. Don’t let the destructive side of anger make things worse.