Learning to control anger is a challenge for everyone at times. Anger Awareness Week was developed to raise awareness of the causes of anger and highlight healthier ways in which individuals can control their behaviour and express their anger. See our five steps towardds controlling your anger below.
1. Recognise your anger Anger can have an enormous effect on your body. Your heart may start thumping, you may feel a sense of tension and as if somebody has pushed a button and you are no longer in control. Physical activity can provide an outlet for these emotions and can actually stimulate chemicals in the brain which make you feel happier and more relaxed.
2. Accept responsibility for your anger It is important to realise the anger you feel is your own emotion and not something someone else has inflicted upon you. It is easy to criticise or place the blame at someone else’s door, which might only serve to increase tension, so it is best to use ‘I’ statements when describing the problem. Be respectful and specific. For example, say, "I'm upset that you left the table without offering to help with the dishes," instead of, "You never do any housework".
3. Think rationally Think about why you feel angry, what your vulnerabilities are and how you can resolve the issue at hand. If your partner is always late for dinner every night then perhaps scheduling meals later in the evening might help. Remind yourself that anger won't fix anything, and might only make it worse.
4. Take time out In the heat of the moment, it’s easy to say something you’ll later regret. So when you are feeling angry, take a few moments to collect your thoughts, breathe deeply, practise relaxation or count to ten, and allow others in the situation to do the same. Slowing down can defuse your temper and will enable you to think more rationally. If you remain in the situation which is causing you to be angry then it is more likely to escalate out of control.
5. Express yourself Once you are calm and thinking clearly, express your feelings verbally in an assertive but non-confrontational way. If you state your concerns and needs clearly and directly without hurting or controlling others, you can inform them of precisely what upset you. This will help them to understand and also give them the opportunity to address these issues. Another person’s view can often give a new perspective on the problem and prevent feelings of resentment or anger towards them in the future.