There are many ways to control anger so that you don't become angry in the first place, but even the calmest of us lose our patience sometimes. So what do you do when that anger has already developed? How do you release it without hurting others or yourself, emotionally, or physically? Here are some ways to take off the edge.
Calm down. The best thing you can say to piss off an angry person is to tell them.... Before your anger gets the best of you, take it down a notch. The neurological process that triggers anger lasts just two seconds. The rest is up to you. Either the anger response can be amplified, or it can be defused. As soon as you feel angry, do one or a combination of the following to nip the anger in the bud:
- Breathe deeply from your diaphragm. Breathing shallowly from the chest won't help you relax.
- Tell yourself, in a soft voice, to "relax" or "take it easy" as you're breathing deeply.
- Close your eyes and visualize a setting or memory that calms you, like lying in bed, or floating in water.
- Avoid extreme words. Avoid words such as “always” or “never” . “They are alwaysfinding fault with me” or “They never even helped me once before”. These words are usually not true and using them can amplify the anger and cause the situation to worsen.And yes this means the cursing words too
- Avoid the temptation to vent. People are commonly advised to act out their aggression by doing things like screaming into a pillow, or hitting a punching bag. This is called catharsis, and recent studies suggest that it actually fuels hostility, rather than minimize it. Avoid any of the following suggestions:
- Kicking a ball into a tree or shed, pretending it's the person you are really mad at.
- Throwing something hard, like ice cubes, at a wall that cannot be damaged by them, like tiles in the shower or a brick wall outside.
- Throwing a fit (without anyone else around).
- Lighten up. Many times, when we look back at what we were angry about, it really is ridiculous and silly, even though we certainly didn't see it that way at the time! Injecting a little bit of humor into your perspective (after that initial wave of anger has passed) can help you break out of your angry mood.
- 10 funny counts - Forget about the old fashioned “count to 10 you are fine” talk. Use the 10 funny counts instead. When you are angry, just count“1 funny clown, 2 funny pigs, 3 funny bananas, 4 funny red noses, 5 funny short giraffes, 6 funny looking nerds…" etc. Our brain works better with pictures, and when you say something funny, you will tend to imagine it in the mind.
- Do a comical impression of yourself when you get angry. Throw your hands up in the air, shake them wildly, and go "GRRRRRRRRRRRR".
- Do something that makes it impossible to take yourself seriously. Do a pirouette (who can feel angry while spinning around?) or a silly dance, like the chicken dance or themacarena.
- Redirect the angry energy. Anger is often an energizing emotion (because of the hormones that are released) and that physical energy has to go somewhere! The most constructive way to redirect that energy is to tire yourself out with exercise. Run, jump rope, do jumping jacks, or do push-ups until you're too exhausted to feel angry anymore.
- 5Work it out. This is the most important step. Once the anger has subsided, don't just completely forget about it. Whatever made you angry will probably make you angry again, unless you address and resolve it when you're calm. More importantly, any residual anger can turn inward and manifest itself in hypertension, high blood pressure, or depression. It may also return as passive-aggressive behavior (getting back at people indirectly; you might not even realize you're doing it) or you may start to become a cynical and bitter person overall. So take this opportunity to understand yourself, and be proactive.
- If your anger is related to a specific person:
- If your anger is related to circumstances you can't control, like actions by people you don't know, or a canceled flight:
- Be Optimistic
- Be Thankful
- Be Laid Back
- If your anger is caused by thoughts about the past or future (anxiety, worries, grudges, etc.):
- Give yourself a time-out! Arguing with someone? Is the situation getting out of hand? Most likely, both of you are not too calm and in the right mind to talk about anything. Ask for a time out, take whatever time off you feel that is appropriate and bring yourself to a level where you are calm and relax before you talk about anything. When you ask for a time out, be sure to let the person know that you still want to converse with them, and tell them you will schedule a meeting to further discuss the issue.
- Keep a book on recording your anger. Find out the patterns and triggers that lead you to feel angry. Once you identify the problem, you can then find a solution.
- Remember that anger is usually about misplaced expectations: you expected a person to act one way and they did something else. Or you expected one outcome from a situation, and the result was a very different outcome. When you put it in perspective, anger becomes much easier to deal with. So what it boils down to, deal with people or situations without expectations of behavior or outcome and you will generally avoid the anger (and disappointment) to begin with.
- To help relieve the urge to break or hurt something, identify something that cannot be hurt or broken if thrown, then throw it repeatedly on the floor.
- It may also be nice to keep a journal. At least you can tell them stuff and they can't talk back!
- If your anger is related to a specific person: