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Simple Ways To Manage Your Anger

Of all human emotions, anger may be one of the most vicious. Anger can cause you to turn hostile and violent: saying things you’ll later regret, even causing physical harm to people you care about. Anger can also cause you to be self-destructive. When a person is not equipped in ways of expressing anger assertively, it’s not unusual to see anger transformed inwards, resulting to depression, hypertension and even passive-aggression. But anger is a normal emotion --- and it’s not a wrong emotion. Anger is a natural instinct against perceived threat or loss. In fact, some anger reactions can be appropriate. If someone caused you injustice, isn’t it just reasonable to feel some degree of rage? The important thing is that you’re able to control anger, instead of letting anger control you.

Below are simple ways you can keep anger from becoming acid that corrodes your life:

Acknowledge your anger. This may seem like common sense, but you’d be surprised at how many people would rather repress their anger than admit it to themselves. Some of us live with the misconception that expressing anger makes us “uneducated” and “unsophisticated,” but there’s a huge difference between assertiveness and aggressiveness. You don’t have to announce your anger to everyone in the world, but at the very least you must be comfortable in saying “I am angry” even to yourself. Admitting anger is the first step to controlling it --- after all, you can’t manage what you don’t concede exists!

Know your anger “warning signs.” Identify what signals your anger --- it’s different for every person. When you know what symptoms to watch out for, you can nip negative anger reactions in the bud, and take yourself away from your anger trigger until you’ve had time to calm down. Symptoms of anger can be physiological, emotional, cognitive and behavioral. For example, some people experience anger as sweating and tremors in the hand, others as obsession or thinking vengeful thoughts. And then there are those who feel anger as irritability, numbness and raising of one’s voice.

Use self-talk to calm down. Once you recognize that you’re angry, it’s now time to deliberately employ some stress management techniques. Anger is an automatic crisis reaction; you need a moment to relax so it doesn’t overwhelm you. The old “Count 1 to 10” may be cliché, but it still works. Or you can do some self-talk to get yourself into a state of calm. For example, you can tell yourself: “Breathe deep, this may not be as bad as it seems.” Or you can say something aimed to empower your ability to cope, e.g. “I am a person capable of managing this situation.”

Blow steam in positive ways. At times you just have to get it out! And for as long as you don’t hurt yourself or hurt other people, any way of blowing off steam is acceptable. You can do some scream therapy; go to your rooftop and scream your heart out until you feel the anger go away. Or go to the gym and hit that punching bag or push-up mat. If you’re more the verbally intelligent type, then consider getting your anger out on paper by writing in a journal. Anger is one of those things better out than in.

Lastly, learn communication skills that can help you recover control. As mentioned, anger can be justified. Which is why it’s important we deal with conflicts like adults capable of diplomacy. Assertively communicate your anger, tell the other person what you feel, why you feel that way and what is the effect of your feeling on you. Actively listen to the other person’s side of the story. Practice conflict managements skills, such as bargaining and negotiating. Come up with win-win solutions. At best, your mature way of handling yourself can produce a viable solution to your disagreement. At worst, you learn what not to do, and who not to deal with.

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