Anger is a normal feeling and there is absolutely nothing wrong with feeling angry. What matters is how you cope with and express your anger. If you find your anger turns to aggression or outbursts, you need to find healthy ways to deal with it.
Before anger escalates, you can use specific strategies for controlling anger:
1. Recognize Warning Signs
Think about the physical warning signs of anger that you experience. Perhaps your heart beats faster or your face feels hot. Or maybe you begin to clench your fists and your body is becoming tense. By recognizing your warning signs, you have the opportunity to take immediate action and prevent yourself from doing or saying things that create bigger problems.
2. Count down
Count down (or up) to 10. If you’re really mad, start at 100. In the time it takes you to count, your heart rate will slow, and your anger will likely subside.
3. Relax your muscles
Progressive muscle relaxation calls on you to tense and slowly relax various muscle groups in your body, one at a time. As you tense and release, take slow, deliberate breaths.
4. Step away
When you cannot quiet your thoughts, a change of scenery – even just going into the next room or stepping outside for five minutes – can disrupt the track that your mind is on.
5. 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 like boxing.
The goal with anger is to own the moment so this emotion does not own you. Then you can mindfully respond rather than simply react.
Mental Health Counselor Intern