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What makes you angry? For parents it might be a child who just won’t listen. For teachers it’s the kids in the back of the class who insist on acting up, talking back disrespectfully and disrupting the entire classroom. Private business owners often have to deal with demanding customers, and in the corporate world it could be co-workers that don’t do their share of the daily work. When things aren’t working out the way you expect or want, it’s natural to get angry. The emotion helps us to motivate and confront the situation head on to try and resolve it rather than just letting it go. Those that are able to manage their anger generally wait until they’ve calmed down to deal with the situation and have a reasonable conversation about it. For example, you might be really angry about being passed up for a promotion. The appropriate way to respond would be to make an appointment to speak with your boss and then come prepared to have a respectful discussion about why you deserve it. A person without anger management skills might instead storm into the boss’s office and make unfair demands. In some situations, angry outbursts might win you the battle but over the long term this behavior is debilitating and ineffective. It weakens your relationships with friends, family and co-worker, causes health issues and decreases your problem solving abilities.

The first step in getting your anger under control is to become aware of what triggers it and what your behavioral cues are. Specifically, before someone goes into a rage there are generally some physical signs which include:

  • Sweating
  • Increased heart rate
  • Heavy breathing
  • Clenched jaws
  • Grinding of the teeth
  • Becoming red in the face or feeling hot
  • Getting a headache
  • Shaking
  • Feeling a stomach coming on

Behaviorally you also might:

  • Become abrasive
  • Raise your voice
  • Glare at the other person
  • Start crying
  • Get serious but sarcastic
  • Crave alcohol or drugs to help you calm down
  • Pace
  • Become impatient and unable to listen
  • Shout hurtful words

Before letting these feelings overcome you, realize you are about to lose it and walk away. Change your environment and do not respond. Take a short walk, get some water, step out into the fresh air and gather yourself. Think about the big picture and consider whether this is really as big of a deal as you are making it out to be. Play out the best and worst case scenarios in your head to help you get perspective on the situation. Take deep breaths to help you calm down. Then brainstorm potential solutions to discuss once you have relaxed. Also, changing your thoughts from extremes like always and never and replacing them with a more optimistic thought pattern will help overcome an angry outburst.

If you are open to investing the time and energy into learning basic anger management skills, you will find yourself in a happier, less anxious state of mind. Going to an anger management class, taking one online, reading a good anger management book or engaging in one-to-one therapy are some suggestions to help you start the process.

Tags: controlling anger
Anger Management