Anger Management: It’s All the Rage

Anger is a normal, healthy emotion. But when uncontrolled, anger can damage your health and relationships. Learning how to manage your anger can have lifelong benefits for you and those you love.  

In most instances you can’t completely avoid people or situations that spike your anger. But you can learn to control your reactions.

Steps to Alleviate Your Anger

In most instances you can’t completely avoid people or situations that spike your anger. But you can learn to control your reactions. These practices have proven effective for many:

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  • Step away. When a discussion or situation becomes heated, don’t jump to conclusions. Slow down and organize your thoughts before responding. Step away to give yourself time to develop a calm and rational response. 
  • Practice relaxation. Find a class or video to show you how – or talk with your health care provider for recommendations. Try these simple techniques to help diffuse a simmering rage:
    • Breathe deeply while softly reciting a calming word or phrase.
    • Picture in your mind a place or activity you find relaxing.
    • Slowly stretch to calm your muscles and your mind.
    • Exercise. A short walk or other activity can release pent-up energy.
  • Know and avoid your triggers. Pay attention to what makes you angry. Is it a person, topic of discussion, or work situation? Once you know your triggers, teach yourself to avoid them. If you can’t completely avoid a trigger, decide how you can react to it in a calmer manner. Refuse to participate in discussions that you know will trigger your anger. Walk away from situations you know will set you off. Ask yourself if a situation warrants your angry outburst and the uncomfortable feelings that may follow.
  • Change the way you view the situation. Things may seem worse than they really are. Ask yourself if you’re being reasonable. Forgetting your wallet is an inconvenience, but it isn’t the end of the world. Keep in mind that the world is not out to get you. A balanced perspective is best. 
  • Let it go. Don’t keep rehashing a circumstance that made you angry. Instead, take a deep breath and let it go. 

When Should You Seek Help?

If you’re unable to control your anger with the techniques above, or if your anger is jeopardizing your job or relationships, share your concerns with your health care provider and seek professional help and counseling.

Seeking help is not a sign of weakness, but a sign that you want to enhance your life and relationships. Whether the help you seek is in group sessions or one-on-one, you’ll learn you aren’t alone. Many people have anger issues and are working to overcome them.

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