In your day to day life you will experience a broad spectrum of emotion that is beyond your moment-to-moment comprehension. For example, merely walking outside can make you feel inexplicably happy. Someone cutting you off in traffic can make you frustrated. A friend forgetting your lunch date can make you sad. Now all of these emotions have momentary effects on your life but some of them, like anger, seem to roil below the surface. Did you know that according to a study done by the Harvard School of Medicine, 8% of adolescents suffer from an intermittent explosive disorder? This disorder entails the raw deluge of anger. Anger can lead to many terrible consequences, least of all the casual suffering of the person wielding it. Let’s take a look at some common anger symptoms and ways that you can learn how to control anger yourself.
What Is Anger?
We discussed briefly the way that emotions can come and go from your point of attention with little regard to your choice in the matter. Emotions are just raw experiences rendered in a way that our brain can understand. Nice things make us happy, bad things make us sad, and so many things can make us angry. Anger itself is a common emotion experienced all throughout life. Much like happiness, anger can be felt in varying degrees of intensity. Your little brother knocking over your toy won’t induce the same sort of rage as a good friend making moves on your significant other. With so much room for gray areas how can we understand the way that anger affects us, in order to control it? Instead of asking how to control your anger, first ask how to understand it. The simplest way to control your anger is to comprehend how it affects you on these three, key levels.
- Physical Response
When you are angry you feel like you are on fire. Blood rushes to your face, your heart beat starts to escalate, and often times you will start to subconsciously clench your muscles. This is your ‘fight or flight’ kicking into gear.
- Mental Response
Now that your body is reacting your mind will begin to change too. You will lose your normal calm and collected point of view on things. Instead we might start to believe that we are justified in doing something brash. We might start to feel proud or deserving and that life is unfair. At this point we begin to rationalize the anger that we are feeling so as to allow the next link in the chain.
- Behavioral Response
With our mind and body gushing with anger we now begin to act in a way that will show the world our true feelings. We will raise our voice, slam doors, stomp around the house, or even begin to get physical with the object of our anger. In extreme cases this anger can turn to violence which can lead down a dark and unsettling path.
What Are Common Anger Manifestations?
Though anger is a universal emotion it does not necessarily afflict people in the same way. In fact, the kind of anger that you may experience will have little to do with that of someone else. The reason is simple: anger exists in several different types. Let’s go ahead and look at the ways that anger can present itself in your day-to-day life. After we find out the ways that anger exists we will then be able to learn how to control anger issues entirely.
- Chronic Anger
If you live with chronic anger then you are probably always fatigued and ‘frayed’ around the edges. Your anger becomes a little black ball in the pit of your stomach that you carry with yourself everywhere you go. Anger becomes a state of being, not a flash of emotion.
- Volatile Anger
Explosive anger is something we briefly touched upon earlier in this paper but it is worth looking at again. If you suffer from volatile anger then you likely will experience the occasional moment of explosive, larger than normal, violent anger. This is the sort of anger that causes you to slam a door or throw a vase.
- Self Inflicted Anger
This sort of anger can sometimes be confused for simple guilt. Self inflicted anger involves inwardly directing your problems and dealing with them yourself. It may sound healthier than the alternatives, but it is not.
- Overwhelming Anger
This sort of anger is caused by an influx of life experiences, all attacking you at once. You become inundated with responsibilities and problems and quickly begin to feel like you are suffocating. When you are hit with this anger it is impossible to feel like you’ll ever get away.
How Do You Control Your Anger?
By the time that you are asking yourself, ‘How do I control my anger?’ the odds are pretty good that you’ve lost your cool before. Nobody wants to be afraid of their temper. Being upset and all ‘heated’ is unenjoyable and can lead to a host of health problems, much less the social implications involved in being ‘the angry one’. That is why so many people, every single day, want to know the way as to how to control anger outbursts. Let’s look at some common techniques that you can employ in order to learn how to control anger related outbursts.
- Deep Breathing
It’s easy to look at meditation as a hokey way to deal with your problems but it is popular for a reason. Simply learning how to relax by following deep breathing techniques can quickly erase the question of, ‘How can I control my anger?’ from your mind. To do this simply breathe deeply from your diaphragm and then exhale it while picturing something that is peaceful to you. Repeat this until you are calm.
- Change The Way You Think
When you are angry you are prone to flying into bouts of hyperbole. It is easy to say, “I will never talk to him again!” when you are in the throes of anger, but it doesn’t really solve anything. Often times this hyperbole will merely push you even further into your hysteria. So the next time you are angry and feeling like you are about to get out of control, just slow down. Instead of using hyperbolic language defer to logic. Focus on the end point of the conversation and don’t spend time trying to be the loudest or meanest person in the room. This is particularly useful when you need to know how to control anger with kids around.
- Remove Yourself From The Situation
While this is not a clear cut step to fixing your anger, it will still help you to cope. For people that need to know how to control anger in a relationship, sometimes the best thing you can do is walk away. Remove yourself from whatever is triggering your anger and then let yourself cool down. Once that ‘red’ leaves your eyes you will be able to focus on the problem at hand. It’s not a solution but it is definitely a way to cope.
- Seek Psychological Help
You aren’t Tony Soprano and so there is no reason for you to fear going to get help from a mental wellness coach. Psychologists are uniquely trained to help you address your anger problems, find their root cause, and then summarily fix them with you. A good psychologist will change the way that you live your life and so they are definitely worth consulting.
- Focus On Communication
Anger is nothing more than an outward sign of your minds inability to communicate in a healthy way. Through anger you will obfuscate your intentions, upset your loved ones, and ultimately hurt yourself. So when you are upset and you feel the onset of anger, make sure to focus on what you want to say. Slow down your speech. Focus on your words and where you want them to take you in the conversation.
You Can Move Past Your Anger
No matter what presents itself as the root cause of your anger problems, be it frustration with life or your children, you can move past them. Anger is a temporary experience in the long road of life and it is something that you should be able to grow around in order to alleviate. So instead of asking for the best ways how to control my anger, instead look for ways to completely remove that anger from your life.