Whether a passing frustration or full-blown rage, anger is an emotion we've all experienced on occasion.
And you may be happy to know that anger is a normal, even healthy emotion. However, if you're not careful, anger can easily take over your entire being, bringing destruction to your relationships and landing a bit hit on your quality of life. That's because this powerful emotion causes biological and physiological changes in your body. When anger shows up, your blood pressure rises, your heart rate goes up, and your adrenaline increases.
There are many reasons people become angry. These reasons range from frustration at another person (such as an unruly child or your boss) to an unwanted event (such as a traffic jam or lost remote control) to your own personal problems (such as relationship issues or difficulty completing a task).
Just as anger comes about via many causes, it is also expressed in different forms, though not all are healthy. Suppressing your feelings can lead to self-destructive behaviors including passive-aggressive behavior, cynicism, over-eating, or drinking. On the other end of the spectrum, ranting and raving to express anger is destructive in other ways. Read on to find out healthy ways to deal with anger and to control your reactions.
When you feel anger coming on and are worried you'll blow your top, quietly excuse yourself from the situation and leave the scene. Perhaps step outside to get some fresh air. Talk a walk around the block and breath deeply as you go. If possible, get out in nature where it is quiet and peaceful. If nothing else, sit in a locked bathroom for a few minutes by yourself. Stay away from the situation until you feel your breathing and heart rate return to normal. This will help to calm your nerves and prepare you to rationally deal with the issue.
A healthy way to deal with pent up anger and frustration is to work it out by exercising. Instead of letting your anger get you down, put your anger-generated adrenaline to good use and get some heart-healthy exercise. Take a run, go to the gym, or turn on some loud music and dance. Make sure you are not exercising just to distract yourself from the problem and merely suppress your anger. Instead, use the time to release your anger and improve your mood.
Writing down your emotions is a healthy way to deal with angry emotions by clarifying what you are feeling and releasing anger. Keep your notes to yourself in a place no one else can read them. It may be helpful to write down a list of people you feel anger towards and why you feel the way you do. Remember, this is private and no one will ever read it. You can also try writing a letter to whomever you're angry with. Write down whatever is on your mind and be as honest and angry as you want. Then take the letter and either tear it up or burn it.
Find a trustworthy friend who is a good listener. Explain your situation and tell them what you are feeling. If your anger is having a negative impact on your relationships, it may be time to consider talking with a psychologist or professional therapist. A professional will be able to help shed light on what may be the underlying triggers of your anger. With this knowledge, you'll be armed with the tools necessary to cause those triggers to lose their power. A therapist will also help you develop strategies for changing your thinking patterns and negative behaviors.