How to Control Your Anger Before It Controls You
Anger is a normal and healthy emotion, but sometimes it can get out of hand and cause problems in your personal and professional life.
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If you find yourself losing your temper frequently or feeling overwhelmed by anger, you may need some strategies to cope with it better.
In this blog post, we will share some tips on how to control your anger before it controls you.
Here are some quotes about anger management:
- “Speak when you are angry, and you will make the best speech you will ever regret.” —Ambrose Bierce
- “Anger resolves nothing; it only puts up your blood pressure.” —Catherine Pulsifie
- “Controlled anger leads to positive action.” ― Todd Stocker
- “You will not be punished for your anger; you will be punished by your anger.” – Buddha
- “If anger is fire, forgiveness is water. When fire gets out of control, use plenty of water.” – Ronit Baras
- According to a report by the Mental Health Organisation, 32% of people say they have a close friend or family member who has trouble controlling their anger, and 12% say that they have trouble controlling their own anger.
The report also found that 64% of people agree or strongly agree that people in general are getting angrier, and 58% of people wouldn’t know where to seek help if they needed help with an anger problem. Source
- According to a survey by Forbes, more people felt “stressed, sad, angry and worried in 2020 more than at any point in Gallup’s global tracking.”
The survey found that four in 10 adults said they had experienced worry (40%) or stress (40%), and about one in four or more experienced sadness (27%) or anger (24%). The survey concluded that 2020 “officially became the most stressful year in recent history.” Source
What Causes Anger?
Anger is a natural response to perceived threats, injustices, frustrations, or conflicts.
It can help you defend yourself, assert your rights, or express your feelings.
However, anger can also be triggered by unrealistic expectations, negative thoughts, or past experiences that have not been resolved. Some common causes of anger are:
- Hormonal changes
- Alcohol or drug abuse
- Trauma or abuse
According to a study by the American Psychological Association, stress is one of the most common causes of anger in Americans. The study found that 45% of adults reported feeling angry or irritable because of stress in the past month.
Another study by the University of California, Berkeley found that anxiety can also increase anger by making people more sensitive to negative stimuli and less able to regulate their emotions.
Furthermore, a study by the University of Michigan found that depression can also trigger anger by lowering self-esteem and increasing hopelessness.
How Does Anger Affect You?
Anger can have both positive and negative effects on you, depending on how you express it and how often you experience it. Some of the benefits of anger are:
- It can motivate you to take action or solve problems.
- It can boost your self-esteem or confidence.
- It can communicate your needs or boundaries to others.
- It can release tension or emotional pain.
Some of the drawbacks of anger are:
- It can damage your relationships or reputation.
- It can impair your judgment or decision-making.
- It can harm your physical or mental health.
- It can increase your risk of violence or aggression.
A study by Harvard Medical School found that anger can increase the risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and other chronic conditions.
The study also found that anger can impair the immune system and make people more susceptible to infections.
Moreover, a study by Yale University found that anger can affect the brain and reduce cognitive abilities such as memory, attention, and reasoning.
The study also found that anger can increase the levels of cortisol, a stress hormone that can damage brain cells.
How Can You Control Your Anger?
The key to controlling your anger is to recognize the signs of it, understand the reasons behind it, and choose healthy ways to express it. Here are some steps you can take to control your anger before it controls you:
1. Identify the triggers and warning signs of your anger.
The first step to controlling your anger is to know what makes you angry and how you react to it. You can keep a journal or use an app to track your anger episodes and note down the following:
- The situation or event that triggered your anger.
- The thoughts or beliefs that fueled your anger.
- The physical sensations or emotions that accompanied your anger.
- The behavior or actions that resulted from your anger.
By doing this, you can identify the patterns and triggers of your anger and learn to anticipate and avoid them in the future.
2. Practice relaxation techniques and coping skills.
The second step to controlling your anger is to calm yourself down when you feel angry. You can use various relaxation techniques and coping skills to reduce your stress and lower your arousal levels. Some examples are:
- Breathing exercises
- Progressive muscle relaxation
- Listening to music
- Reading a book
- Taking a walk
- Talking to a friend
By doing this, you can prevent your anger from escalating and interfering with your rational thinking.
A study by the University of Massachusetts Medical School found that mindfulness meditation can help reduce anger and aggression by increasing self-awareness and emotional regulation.
The study also found that meditation can lower blood pressure, heart rate, and cortisol levels.
Another study by the University of Pennsylvania found that yoga can also help reduce anger and stress by improving physical and mental well-being.
The study also found that yoga can enhance mood, sleep quality, and immune function.
3. Challenge your negative thoughts and beliefs.
The third step to controlling your anger is to change the way you think about the situation that made you angry. You can use cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) techniques to challenge your negative thoughts and beliefs and replace them with more realistic and positive ones. Some examples are:
- Identifying cognitive distortions such as overgeneralizing, personalizing, blaming, or catastrophizing.
- Testing the evidence for and against your thoughts and beliefs.
- Considering alternative explanations or perspectives for the situation.
- Using positive affirmations or self-talk to boost your mood and confidence.
By doing this, you can reduce the intensity and frequency of your anger and improve your emotional regulation.
A study by the University of Oxford found that CBT can help reduce anger and aggression by modifying dysfunctional cognitions and behaviors. The study also found that CBT can improve social skills, problem-solving skills, and coping skills.
Another study by the University of Texas at Austin found that CBT can also help reduce depression and anxiety by increasing positive emotions and self-esteem.
4. Express your anger in constructive ways.
The fourth step to controlling your anger is to communicate your feelings and needs in a respectful and assertive way. You can use effective communication skills such as active listening, empathy, feedback, and negotiation to express your anger in constructive ways. Some examples are:
- Using “I” statements instead of “you” statements to avoid blaming or accusing others.
- Stating the facts instead of opinions or judgments to avoid exaggerating or misinterpreting the situation.
- Describing the impact instead of the intention of the behavior to avoid assuming or attacking the motives of others.
- Requesting a change instead of demanding or threatening one to avoid creating resistance or hostility.
By doing this, you can resolve conflicts, enhance relationships, and achieve win-win outcomes.
Anger is a normal and healthy emotion that can help you cope with challenges and achieve goals.
However, if you let it control you, it can cause problems in your personal and professional life. Therefore, it is important to learn how to control your anger before it controls you.
By following the steps above, you can manage your anger effectively and improve your well-being.
To inspire you further, here are some examples of celebrities who have struggled with anger issues and how they overcame them:
- Russell Brand: The comedian and actor has admitted that he used to have a problem with anger and violence, but he learned to control it through meditation, yoga, and therapy. He has also become an advocate for mental health awareness and social justice causes.
- Serena Williams: The tennis star was fined and suspended for losing her temper and verbally abusing a lineswoman during a match in 2009, but she apologized and worked on her anger management skills. She has also become one of the most successful and influential athletes in history.
- Mel Gibson: The actor and director was widely criticized for his racist and sexist rant against a police officer in 2006, but he sought treatment for his alcohol addiction and anger issues. He has also made a comeback in his career with several acclaimed films
If you are looking for some books to help you control your anger and live a happier life, you might want to check out these top five best selling books on anger management.
- These books are written by experts and authors who have extensive knowledge and experience in dealing with anger issues.
- They offer practical advice, insights, and exercises to help you understand your anger, identify your triggers, and express your emotions in healthy and constructive ways.
Whether you are a man or a woman, whether you are in a relationship or not, whether you are religious or not, you will find something useful and inspiring in these books.
1. Anger Management Workbook for Men:Take Control of Your Anger and Master Your Emotions by Aaron Karmin.
This book is designed for men who want to learn how to handle their anger in a healthy way.
It offers practical exercises, strategies, and tips to help men understand their anger, identify their triggers, and express their emotions constructively. It also helps men build self-confidence, self-respect, and self-control.
2. The Dance of Anger:A Woman’s Guide to Changing the Patterns of Intimate Relationships by Harriet Lerner.
This book is written for women who want to improve their relationships by changing the way they deal with anger. It shows how anger can be a powerful tool for personal growth and transformation, rather than a source of conflict and resentment.
It also teaches women how to communicate their needs and boundaries effectively, without losing themselves or their partners.
3. Anger: Wisdom for Cooling the Flames by Thich Nhat Hanh.
This book is written by a renowned Buddhist monk and peace activist who offers a spiritual perspective on anger management.
He explains how anger is rooted in ignorance, fear, and suffering, and how it can be transformed into compassion, understanding, and healing.
He also provides meditation techniques, mindfulness practices, and anecdotes to help readers calm their minds and hearts.
4. Why Does He Do That?: Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men by Lundy Bancroft.
This book is written for women who are in abusive or violent relationships with angry and controlling men.
It exposes the myths and realities of abusive behavior, and reveals the hidden motives and tactics of abusive men.
It also offers advice on how to protect oneself, seek help, and heal from the trauma.
5. Don’t Bite the Hook: Finding Freedom from Anger, Resentment, and Other Destructive Emotions by Pema Chödrön.
This book is written by a popular Buddhist teacher and author who teaches how to avoid getting hooked by negative emotions that cause suffering and pain.
She uses humor, stories, and wisdom to illustrate how to recognize and respond to emotional triggers, rather than react impulsively or defensively.
She also shows how to cultivate a compassionate attitude towards oneself and others.