Anger is a normal and healthy human emotion and can be a positive thing.
It can also cause problems, so what can you do to cope with your anger better?
Firstly, lets make no bones about it - aggression and violence is destructive. It can ruin relationships and ruin lives. It can get you fired from your job, make your partner leave and have you ostracized by family and friends.
If this is a problem for you, then I recommend you seek help. Get some counselling to explore your behaviours and work to change them.
The really good news is that this behaviour can be changed with anger management if you want to change.
In the meantime, here are 6 things you can do to reduce your anger to a more manageable level to enable you to express yourself in a more healthy way.
Often when we start feeling angry, there are physical symptoms and if we can pick up on them, we might be able to defuse the situation.
When we get angry, our body goes into the primitive 'fight or flight' response because we feel under threat. Some of the physical symptoms are:
Recognise your own 'danger signs', so you can act on them.
When you are aware that you are getting angry, take yourself out of the situation. Either say 'I'm getting angry, so going to take 10 minutes to calm down', or if thats not appropriate find a reason to excuse yourself and give yourself a little space to think. The good old 'count to 10 before you say anything' is still good advice, as it just gives some space in order for you to think.
Doing something physical with literally burn off the adrenalin that is coursing around your body, and therefore automatically calm you down.
If possible take yourself for a quick walk around the block, or even just running up the stairs a couple of times will help. This will help to take the edge off your anger to enable you to express yourself in a more controlled way
Writing is a way to express yourself in a safe way. Sit down and just write about what has happened and how you feel about it.
Then, once you have calmed down a little you will be able to think more clearly about what exactly your anger is about (it isn't always what you think it is).
If you'd like some help getting started on journaling, CLICK HERE
Speak to a friend and have a good old rant!
Let it all out!
My friend and I recently shared a 50 minute car journey and we both ranted to each other the whole time. We ranted, and laughed at how we were ranting. We swore, and complained and let out all of the weeks frustrations until our 'balloon' of anger was deflated.
We then went on to have a great night out.
If you don't have someone you can rant to, write (see above) or possibly phone a helpline/The Samaritans and talk it through with them.
An instant and possibly the most simple relaxation technique of all is - breathe.
When you're stressed, part of the 'fight or flight' response is to take short, shallow breaths, so focusing on your breathing really helps.
Put a hand on your stomach and breathe deeply right down to your stomach so your hand moves with your breath. Just concentrate on the out breath, and breathe deeply and slowly for 5 breaths, repeating the word 'relax' in your mind as you exhale.
So next time you can feel your anger rise and you want to stay in control of it, try these simple anger management tips. Giving yourself a little space may be enough for you to express your anger in a healthy way, rather than you lashing out.
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Jane Travis is a qualified and experienced counsellor and clinical supervisor in the Lincoln area. She has been working at Reflections Counselling Lincoln since 2005. She is also The Happiness Enabler, and runs Lincoln Counsellors Network.