“Anger is an acid that can do more harm to the vessel in which it is stored than to anything on which it is poured.”
This famous quote by Mark Twain clearly highlights how anger can cause damage in your life.
Anger is a normal, healthy emotion. It’s not always negative, as it can help you know when you’ve been hurt or when a situation needs to change.
However, if you find it difficult to keep your anger under control, it can take a toll on your personal and professional life.
Keeping your temper in check can be challenging. But using simple anger management tips and little changes here and there can help you stay in control.
Here are the top 10 ways to tame your anger.
1. Use Mindfulness Meditation
During an episode of anger, you can practice mindfulness meditation, an age-old relaxation technique to calm your mind and body.
To practice mindfulness meditation, sit comfortably and focus on your breathing in a way that your mind’s attention comes to the present. This needs to be done without letting your mind drift to concerns about the past or future.
A 2015 study published in Frontiers in Psychology reports that by practicing mindfulness, individuals can learn to maintain a relaxed mind and can experience a significant reduction of anger (trait) levels, internal expression of anger, state anxiety and depression.
2. Practice Deep Breathing
By practicing controlled breathing, you can help soothe feelings of anger. Deep, controlled breathing slows your heart rate, stabilizes your blood pressure and relaxes your body.
This relaxation technique only takes a few minutes, doesn’t require special equipment and can be used anytime when you are angry or stressed. Deep breathing will effectively calm you down and help you think more clearly.
- Lie down and make yourself comfortable. Loosen any tight or uncomfortable clothing.
- Place your hand on your abdomen.
- Inhale slowly through your nose and try to keep your abdomen relaxed as you inhale.
- Hold this breath for a few seconds.
- Breathe out slowly through your mouth.
- Repeat this process until you feel that you’ve regained control over your anger.
3. Try Progressive Muscle Relaxation
Progressive muscle relaxation is another helpful technique to control your anger. In this relaxation technique, you focus on tensing and relaxing particular muscle groups in your body. This in turn distracts you from your feelings of anger.
Also, it reduces anxiety and tension, which can help alleviate angry feelings. Moreover, it helps you enjoy sound sleep when your thoughts are racing out of control.
- Sit in a quiet place and make yourself comfortable.
- Focus on a particular muscle group.
- While inhaling deeply and slowly, squeeze the muscle group as hard as you can.
- Maintain that tension for 5 seconds.
- Exhale and quickly release the tension in the muscle group.
- Relax for about 15 seconds.
- Then, move on to another muscle group.
- Continue until you feel relaxed.
4. Use a Stress Ball
A stress ball can help you deal with an immediate episode of anger. As a stress ball prompts you to squeeze and release a group of muscles, it can give you some of the benefits of progressive muscle relaxation more immediately.
After repeatedly squeezing the stress ball, your hand and arm will begin to ache and signal your brain to releases endorphins. This is a chemical that the body uses to relieve stress.
Also, a stress ball keeps you distracted from what you were originally upset about.
The next time you find yourself getting angry, just sit down and squeeze a stress ball while taking deep breaths to relieve your anger and stress faster.
5. Count to 10
This is an age-old trick that gives you time to cool down, so you can think more clearly and overcome the impulse to lash out at others when you are angry.
When angry, count to 10 or more before you speak. This simple method works because it emphasizes the two key elements of anger management – time and distraction.
A 2015 study published in the Journal of Applied Social Psychology found that the count-to-10 method can help reduce aggression, but only in certain circumstances.
6. Take a Walk
When you’re feeling angry, some mild exercise like walking can help a lot. Experts recommend taking a walk immediately after an upsetting experience to help you manage your anger.
When you go for a walk, your body releases endorphins; the natural “feel-good” chemicals that make you feel more positive and happy.
Also, walking distracts your mind, which helps dampen the extremity of your emotional reaction.
Whenever you feel your anger escalating, go for a brisk walk. Along with walking, some other forms of exercise that can help control your anger include running, jogging, cycling, swimming and dancing.
7. Use Humor
Humor can help defuse anger or rage. In fact, humor can always be relied upon to help unknot a tense situation.
First of all, it takes your mind off of the reason you are angry. Secondly, it can help you get a more balanced perspective, so that you can think positively.
When it comes to humor, you can also use your imagination. For instance, if you are angry at someone and you want to call him a “douche bag,” just imagine what it would look like if the person literally was a douche bag.
Another option is to look at silly or cute videos online to help lighten your mood.
However, when using humor to tame anger, don’t try to just “laugh off” your problems and don’t give in to harsh, sarcastic humor.
8. Listen to Music
Listening to soothing and calming music can release tension and reduce feelings of anger.
Music also works as an excellent distraction technique that can help you release your anger. However, loud music can increase your frustration level and make your negative feelings more intense. So, listen to some slow and calm music.
The next time you are angry, close your eyes, put on your headphones and start listening to your favorite music. It will take your mind to a whole different world.
9. Repeat a Calming Phrase
When you’re on the brink of an outburst of anger, slowly repeat a calming word or phrase to calm yourself.
For instance, you can repeat words like “relax” or “take it easy.” Repeat the calming phrase to yourself while also breathing deeply. Doing this will help you in three ways.
First of all, when you say calming phrases repeatedly, it sends signals that cause your mind and body to relax. Secondly, it distracts you from the situation that is making you feel stressed. Lastly, the deep breathing along with the recitation of the phrases will help tame your anger.
10. Don’t Hold a Grudge
Forgiveness is a powerful tool for controlling your anger.
When someone you care about hurts you, you can hold on to anger, resentment and thoughts of revenge. But when you do this, you are allowing anger and other negative feelings to crowd out positive feelings. This can make you feel suffocated in the long run.
However, if you can forgive the person who angered you, you can look forward to continuing a good relationship with the person.
Forgiveness is something you must believe in, and practice it during situations that can make you angry.
- Always think before you speak to prevent sudden outbursts of anger.
- Once you’re calm, express your anger or frustration in an assertive manner.
- Instead of focusing on what made you angry, try to resolve the issue at hand.
- To avoid criticizing or placing blame when you are angry, use “I” statements to describe the problem.
- Discuss your feelings with a friend to get a different perspective on the situation.
- Approach situations with flexibility and be logical.
- Be as direct and clear as possible about your desires and needs.
- If needed, see a therapist to help you work through any underlying feelings and issues behind your anger.