20 Ways to Rein in Your Anger
Anger is natural and is a healthy emotion. But anger takes a toll on your health and relationships. If you deal with anger positively you can be a master of yourself and your circumstances.
What happens when you see red?
Do you get angry when someone breaks the line? Do you feel discriminated against by your boss in office? Do you lose your temper when your child does not cooperate or when you find out your relative is spreading rumors about you?
You are not alone. Everyone gets angry when they are frustrated and feel a sense of unfairness, injustice, discrimination, loss or pain.
However, anger kicks up our ‘survival mode’ and triggers physiological changes in our body to prepare for fight or flight, thereby stimulating adrenalin. Our physical responses to prolonged anger, stress and holding grudges affect our heart, immune system, digestion, hormonal balance and in women, the reproductive organs. Anger clouds our judgment and impels us to make regretful decisions.
- The time-tested approach of counting slowly up to ten or removing yourself from the situation helps soothe frayed nerves.
- Relaxation technics perform wonders. Practice deep-breathing, imagine a pleasant scene or place and repeat calming words or phrases like, “Take it easy.”
- Listening to your favorite music; music is known to have a soothing effect.
- Read a book, do yoga or engage your mind in Sudoku, crosswords and activities you like.
- Exercises like walking, working out, dancing and swimming release endorphins that make you feel good.
- Take time out and let the anger pass by distracting yourself. You could indulge in your favorite pastime, go shopping or watch a movie or sitcom.
- Keep a journal. Write down what triggered your temper, how you dealt with it and the reactions that ensued.
- Adopt an action-oriented and problem-solving approach. If you get angry with your boss for upbraiding you when you reach late, try to wake up early and reach office on time.
- Set a goal for yourself and work towards it. This will change your focus from anger to achieving the goal.
- Change your mindset. Shed any negative outlook and try to look at the issue from another perspective.
- Don’t play victim and blame others. Don’t ask ‘why me’, but ‘what now’.
- Adopt a humorous attitude and learn to look at the funny side of things.
- Remind yourself that the situation is temporary and will not matter later.
- Switch from an emotional to rational state and figure out how to fix the problem. Rationalize, focus on the issue rather than on people. Holding grudges, bitterness and resentment will lead to an outburst when there is a trigger. Forget old arguments and grudges and move on.
- Recognize your triggers and avoid people, places and situations that put you off.
- Take ‘me’ time in ‘my space’ and relax. Add your favorite scent, music and soothing lights and savor the solitude with a smile.
- If you are not a morning person and tend to start the day with a sulk, try out stretching. It is good for your muscles and has a calming effect.
- Change your surroundings, rearrange and redecorate your house with your favorite stuff.
- Discuss your feelings with your partner or a close friend who understands you.
- If you get angry frequently or harbor resentment or grudges, it is time to seek professional help. Cognitive behavioral therapy can help put things in perspective.