Anger is something we all struggle with at times. There’s no escaping traffic, politics, financial issues, or misunderstandings. But, if frustrations run wild, they can cause major problems.
If you get irritated, it doesn’t mean you’re a terrible person. It can be a natural reaction. It’s normal to argue with people you care about the most.
My husband and I bicker sometimes, but we end it on good terms. It’s beneficial to learn how to stay calm during stressful situations. Furthermore, it might save your relationship or job. But don’t worry; if anger has become an issue, you can defeat it.
What causes anger?
“Hating clouds the mind. It gets in the way of strategy. Leaders cannot afford to hate.”
— Nelson Mandela
Anger can be genetic, but for the most part, it’s a learned behavior that can worsen over time. People get upset for many reasons, but it’s primarily because of how they interpret situations. Someone might get angry if they feel someone mistreated or disrespected them. Otherwise, they feel threatened or upset if things don’t happen how they wanted.
They aren’t awful people; they just learned to react that way and decided to continue.
Not to mention, some children know they can get anything they want if they throw a fit. Unfortunately, it can become a default response they bring into adulthood.
However, the real world won’t respond like their parents and give them what they want.
When is anger a problem?
“You are the first victim of your anger.”
— D. Muthukrishnan
It’s okay to get angry in some situations, but it’s destructive to blow up for every minor annoyance. Over time, anger issues can get worse and become an obstacle.
Regardless, if you do or don’t have anger problems, it’s beneficial to control your emotions during stressful times.
Anger has become a major problem if you often experience the following:
- Violence or putting your hands on anyone while angry.
- You yell several times per week, or people tell you that you’re yelling even though you didn’t realize it.
- You frequently feel overwhelmed by intense rage.
- People have told you that you’ve got an anger problem.
- You have public temper tantrums.
- Punching walls or breaking things.
- Threatening people.
The risks of not taming anger
“When anger rises, think of the consequences.”
Myriads of long-term health problems and other issues come from anger.
Here are a few problems that it can create:
- Anger causes headaches, stomach issues, high blood pressure, depression, and anxiety.
- If you have a meltdown at work, you can get fired and struggle to find another job.
- Possible jail time.
- Yelling (verbal abuse) can cause long-term mental damage to your children or spouse.
- Guilt or shame from taking things out on those you love.
- Breaking things and then needing to replace them.
As you can see, it’s not worth it to hold on to anger. It’s much better to learn how to respond to frustrating situations with composure.
Anger is not a sign of strength
“All ferocity is born from weakness.”
A confident person doesn’t need to hide behind anger. Furthermore, they don’t let petty things bother them.
Some people think that their eruption of emotions makes them intimidating. But in reality, it’s a colossal sign of weakness.
Luckily, they can unlearn this destructive habit and live a more carefree, happy life.
Ways to tame your anger:
1. Take a minute before speaking
“No one heals himself by wounding another.”
When people get fueled with fury, they can say some horrific things that they can’t erase. Afterward, they wish they hadn’t said those things, and they don’t even truly feel that way.
Take some time to figure out what you’re going to say. When anger gets out of control, it takes over the ability to think straight. So, strive to remain calm.
2. Look out for the signs of anger brewing
“Be aware of whom the anger is hurting. Usually it’s yourself first and foremost. I now mostly feel sorry for angry people.”
— Naval Ravikant
Learning the signs of your temper starting to boil can help you overpower it before things get crazy. It’s much easier to handle an impending outburst than trying to stop it after it’s running rampant.
Anger starts small and builds up from there, so it can be hard to notice.
Your body reacts first, and your mind soon follows. So, if you have some of the following physical symptoms, take action because your temper is about to erupt.
Anger warning signs:
- Your heart speeds up.
- You have racing thoughts and can’t think clearly.
- You’re breathing faster and more shallow.
- Muscle tension and shaking.
- Feeling hot and sweating.
- Your face is turning red or pale.
When you notice the signs, remember to use the following tips.
3. Take a walk
“The greatest win is walking away and choosing not to engage in drama and toxic energy at all.”
― Lalah Delia
A little exercise and fresh air could be what you needed. It will calm you down and clear your mind. Chances are you won’t be mad afterward. Releasing some pent-up energy helps too.
4. Avoid activities, situations, or people that trigger your anger
“Take responsibility of your own happiness, never put it in other people’s hands.”
— Roy T. Bennett
Take a moment to list everything that infuriates you daily. For instance, maybe social media propaganda aggravates you? Or could it be a relative or friend that always pushes your buttons?
Avoid the extra stress and at least take a break from whatever or whoever makes you mad.
Some people or places are unavoidable, like those you live with and your workplace. Focus on improving those vital, daily relationships first and foremost.
When you realize what irritates you to the point of blowing up, you can steer clear of them.
5. Don’t blame the other person for everything
“Blame is the coward’s solution to his fear of accountability.”
— Craig D. Lounsbrough
Some people think they’re innocent in any conflict, and it’s always someone else’s fault. So, they feel that their problems aren’t in their control; the other person should fix them.
Feeling powerless and helpless breeds rage because you have to rely on others. They caused it, so they must rescue you and solve everything. But that never happens.
Take back control of life by taking responsibility for it.
6. Avoid cognitive distortions
“Some things torment us more than they ought; some torment us before they ought; and others torment us when they ought not torment us at all.”
Destructive mental habits can skew your outlook. They can make the world seem much worse than it is.
It’s best to avoid these cognitive distortions:
Catastrophizing is the habit of blowing small things out of proportion. Thus, making everyday life stressful and irritating. Not to mention, it’ll cause others to tip-toe around you. Any tiny inconvenience might cause you to blow up in anger.
Overgeneralizing happens when others say “you always” or “you never.” However, people don’t “always” or “never” do things. This mindset puts your loved ones in a negative light that they can’t escape. If they mess up a couple of times, then in your mind, they are always doing something wrong.
One of the worst things you can do is obsess about everything the other person has done wrong.
You’ll cement in your mind a hostile version of them, even though they really aren’t that appalling.
Try remembering the nice things they’ve done and pointing them out to them. Let them know how much you like it when they do those things.
They’ll probably do them more often.
So, practice noticing and pointing out the times when people do good.
You might find that they aren’t as bad as you thought.
7. Don’t dwell on negativity
Don’t only think about what’s wrong in the world and your life. Watching or reading too many news stories can make it seem like everything is on a downward spiral. Try adding positive stories and optimistic things to read.
Only consuming negativity will affect how you see the world.
8. Let go of your need to be “right”
“One’s anger is one’s greatest enemy and one’s calmness is one’s protection.”
— Sathya Sai Baba
Often we’re harshest to those we love, and sometimes it’s a fight for who’s right. It’s self-sabotage to tear apart your most valued relationships to prove a point.
Even if you are right, it’s not going to help if you flip out at them until they agree. The main thing they’ll realize is that you’re a jerk.
You choose your battles, but life is much better without pointless wars.
9. Hunger and fatigue can cause anger
“When pain, misery, or anger happen, it is time to look within you, not around you.”
Feeling hungry or tired are common reasons why people lose their tempers. They ensure that controlling your emotions is much more of a challenge.
Furthermore, hunger and fatigue both drain your ability to think rationally.
Anger does the same thing, so throw that in the mix, and you’ll really be irrational and out of control.
Therefore, eat something, get some rest, and calm down before jumping into a discussion.
10. Be calm and tell them how you feel
“Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves.”
— Carl Jung
Learning how to be assertive rather than aggressive pays endless benefits. Often people will blow up in hysterics because they don’t know how to express their feelings.
Or they were taught not to show emotions. But, holding in your feelings won’t make them disappear. Instead, they’ll build up until they burst out of you in an eruption of wrath.
Ask yourself what you’re feeling and why.
If you react with assertiveness instead of fury, you’ll solve the problem and not create a new one. For example, if you’re feeling ignored, you’d let that person know that you want to spend some time together.
Maybe they hurt your feelings in some way, or you wish they would clean up after themselves?.
Whatever it is that’s bothering you, don’t beat around the bush about it. They can’t read your mind. Be calm and tell them how you’re feeling.
11. Don’t disregard how other’s feel
No one’s feelings are wrong. So, if someone says you did something that upset them, don’t go on the defense.
It’s okay; you made a mistake. There are no perfect humans. As a result, we sometimes act in ways that hurt others. So, listen to the other person and imagine if you were in their shoes.
12. Give up any excuses to hold onto anger
“Another person will not hurt you without your cooperation. You are hurt the moment you believe yourself to be.”
We like the familiar, even if it’s detrimental. As a result, some people will tell themselves stories, so they don’t have to change. For instance, if someone thought their anger problem was genetic because their parent had a temper. So, they believe there’s nothing they can do to change it.
But that’s not true. You can replace your old reactions with calm confidence.
Because habits aren’t permanent unless you tell yourself they are.
13. Look for the solution to the problem
“The smarter you get, the more you realize anger is not worth it.”
— Maxime Lagacé
Don’t fight about things that won’t fix anything. Ask yourself what the other person wants from you. It might be a simple apology, acknowledgment, or some help with something.
Be quick to forgive them and yourself for the argument. Then you can both move on and have a great day.
14. Break free from the victim mindset
“Hatred is a public and shameless demonstration of inferiority complex.”
— Paulo Coelho
Thinking that your life isn’t fair and the world is against you is no way to live.
But it’s another learned behavior that you can overcome. Start taking responsibility for your life and strive always to improve your situation.
15. Admit that you made a mistake
“When pain, misery, or anger happen, it is time to look within you, not around you.”
There are always two sides to an argument. What role did you play? Remind yourself that it’s okay to make mistakes. It doesn’t mean you’re a horrible person.
Ask yourself, “Would blowing up on this person and losing them be worth it?”
Chances are you want them in your life and would not want them to give up on you, whether they’re your significant other, boss, friend, or relative.
Be strong and let them know you messed up and you’re sorry.
That way, you skip right past the argument and straight to the solution.
In short, with practice, you can control your anger. Learn the symptoms of it brewing up so you can stop it before it goes wild.
Over time you can conquer anger and be someone who others love being around. You can be the person who never gets their feathers ruffled.
Besides, getting angry all the time will make you miserable, and it tears down your health. It’s always better to be stoic and collected in any situation.
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