How to help anger issues
25 Tips to Manage Your Anger and Feel Calmer
Anger is a normal feeling and can be a positive emotion when it helps you work through issues or problems, whether that’s at work or at home.
However, anger can become problematic if it leads to aggression, outbursts, or even physical altercations.
Anger control is important for helping you avoid saying or doing something you may regret. Before anger escalates, you can use specific strategies for controlling anger.
Here are 25 ways you can control your anger:
1. Count down
Count down (or up) to 10. If you’re really mad, start at 100. In the time it takes you to count, your heart rate will slow, and your anger will likely subside.
2. Take a breather
Your breathing becomes shallower and speeds up as you grow angry. Reverse that trend (and your anger) by taking slow, deep breaths from your nose and exhaling out of your mouth for several moments.
3. Go walk around
Exercise can help calm your nerves and reduce anger. Go for a walk, ride your bike, or hit a few golf balls. Anything that gets your limbs pumping is good for your mind and body.
4. Relax your muscles
Progressive muscle relaxation calls on you to tense and slowly relax various muscle groups in your body, one at a time. As you tense and release, take slow, deliberate breaths.
5. Repeat a mantra
Find a word or phrase that helps you calm down and refocus. Repeat that word again and again to yourself when you’re upset. “Relax,” “Take it easy, and “You’ll be OK” are all good examples.
Neck rolls and shoulder rolls are good examples of nonstrenuous yoga-like movements that can help you control your body and harness your emotions. No fancy equipment required.
7. Mentally escape
Slip into a quiet room, close your eyes, and practice visualizing yourself in a relaxing scene. Focus on details in the imaginary scene: What color is the water? How tall are the mountains? What do the chirping birds sound like? This practice can help you find calm amidst anger.
8. Play some tunes
Let music carry you away from your feelings. Put in earbuds or slip out to your car. Crank up your favorite music and hum, bop, or sashay your anger away.
9. Stop talking
When you’re steamed, you may be tempted to let the angry words fly, but you’re more likely to do harm than good. Pretend your lips are glued shut, just like you did as a kid. This moment without speaking will give you time to collect your thoughts.
10. Take a timeout
Give yourself a break. Sit away from others. In this quiet time, you can process events and return your emotions to neutral. You may even find this time away from others is so helpful you want to schedule it into your daily routine.
11. Take action
Harness your angry energy. Sign a petition. Write a note to an official. Do something good for someone else. Pour your energy and emotions into something that’s healthy and productive.
12. Write in your journal
What you can’t say, perhaps you can write. Jot down what you’re feeling and how you want to respond. Processing it through the written word can help you calm down and reassess the events leading up to your feelings.
13. Find the most immediate solution
You might be angry that your child has once again left their room a mess before going to visit a friend. Shut the door. You can temporarily end your anger by putting it out of your view. Look for similar resolutions in any situations.
14. Rehearse your response
Prevent an outburst by rehearsing what you’re going to say or how you’re going to approach the problem in the future. This rehearsal period gives you time to role-play several possible solutions, too.
15. Picture a stop sign
The universal symbol to stop can help you calm down when you’re angry. It’s a quick way to help you visualize the need to halt yourself, your actions, and walk away from the moment.
16. Change your routine
If your slow commute to work makes you angry before you’ve even had coffee, find a new route. Consider options that may take longer but leave you less upset in the end.
17. Talk to a friend
Don’t stew in the events that made you angry. Help yourself process what happened by talking with a trusted, supportive friend who can possibly provide a new perspective.
Nothing upends a bad mood like a good one. Diffuse your anger by looking for ways to laugh, whether that’s playing with your kids, watching stand-up, or scrolling memes.
19. Practice gratitude
Take a moment to focus on what’s right when everything feels wrong. Realizing how many good things you have in your life can help you neutralize anger and turn around the situation.
20. Set a timer
The first thing that comes to mind when you’re angry likely isn’t the thing you should say. Give yourself a set time before you respond. This time will help you be calmer and more concise.
21. Write a letter
Write a letter or email to the person that made you angry. Then, delete it. Often, expressing your emotions in some form is all you want, even if it’s in something that will never be seen.
22. Imagine forgiving them
Finding the courage to forgive someone who has wronged you takes a lot of emotional skill. If you can’t go that far, you can at least pretend that you’re forgiving them, and you’ll feel your anger slip away.
23. Practice empathy
Try to walk in the other person’s shoes and see the situation from their perspective. When you tell the story or relive the events as they saw it, you may gain a new understanding and become less angry.
24. Express your anger
It’s OK to say how you feel, as long as you handle it in the right way. Ask a trusted friend to help you be accountable to a calm response. Outbursts solve no problems, but mature dialogue can help reduce your stress and ease your anger. It may also prevent future problems.
25. Find a creative channel
Turn your anger into a tangible production. Consider painting, gardening, or writing poetry when you’re upset. Emotions are powerful muses for creative individuals. Use yours to reduce anger.
The bottom line
Anger is a normal emotion that everyone experiences from time to time. However, if you find your anger turns to aggression or outbursts, you need to find healthy ways to deal with anger.
If these tips don’t help, consider talking with your doctor. A mental health specialist or therapist can help you work through underlying factors that may contribute to anger and other emotional issues.
Anger Management - HelpGuide.org
Is your temper hijacking your life? These tips and techniques can help you get anger under control and express your feelings in healthier ways.
Anger is a normal, healthy emotion, neither good nor bad. Like any emotion, it conveys a message, telling you that a situation is upsetting, unjust, or threatening. If your knee-jerk reaction to anger is to explode, however, that message never has a chance to be conveyed. So, while it’s perfectly normal to feel angry when you’ve been mistreated or wronged, anger becomes a problem when you express it in a way that harms yourself or others.
You might think that venting your anger is healthy, that the people around you are too sensitive, that your anger is justified, or that you need to show your fury to get respect. But the truth is that anger is much more likely to have a negative impact on the way people see you, impair your judgment, and get in the way of success.
Effects of anger
Chronic anger that flares up all the time or spirals out of control can have serious consequences for your:
- Physical health. Constantly operating at high levels of stress and anger makes you more susceptible to heart disease, diabetes, a weakened immune system, insomnia, and high blood pressure.
- Mental health. Chronic anger consumes huge amounts of mental energy, and clouds your thinking, making it harder to concentrate or enjoy life. It can also lead to stress, depression, and other mental health problems.
- Career. Constructive criticism, creative differences, and heated debate can be healthy. But lashing out only alienates your colleagues, supervisors, or clients and erodes their respect.
- Relationships. Anger can cause lasting scars in the people you love most and get in the way of friendships and work relationships. Explosive anger makes it hard for others to trust you, speak honestly, or feel comfortable—and is especially damaging to children.
If you have a hot temper, you may feel like it’s out of your hands and there’s little you can do to tame the beast. But you have more control over your anger than you think. With insight about the real reasons for your anger and these anger management tools, you can learn to express your emotions without hurting others and keep your temper from hijacking your life.
|Myths and facts about anger|
| Myth: I shouldn't “hold in” my anger. It's healthy to vent and let it out.|
Fact: While it's true that suppressing and ignoring anger is unhealthy, venting is no better. Anger is not something you have to “let out” in an aggressive way in order to avoid blowing up. In fact, outbursts and tirades only fuel the fire and reinforce your anger problem.
|Myth: Anger, aggression, and intimidation help me earn respect and get what I want.|
Fact: Respect doesn't come from bullying others. People may be afraid of you, but they won't respect you if you can't control yourself or handle opposing viewpoints. Others will be more willing to listen to you and accommodate your needs if you communicate in a respectful way.
| Myth: I can't help myself. Anger isn't something you can control.|
Fact: You can't always control the situation you're in or how it makes you feel, but you can control how you express your anger. And you can communicate your feelings without being verbally or physically abusive. Even if someone is pushing your buttons, you always have a choice about how to respond.
How anger management can help you
Many people think that anger management is about learning to suppress your anger. But never getting angry is not a healthy goal. Anger will come out regardless of how hard you try to tamp it down. The true goal of anger management isn’t to suppress feelings of anger, but rather to understand the message behind the emotion and express it in a healthy way without losing control. When you do, you’ll not only feel better, you’ll also be more likely to get your needs met, be better able to manage conflict in your life, and strengthen your relationships.
Mastering the art of anger management takes work, but the more you practice, the easier it will get. And the payoff is huge. Learning to control your anger and express it appropriately will help you build better relationships, achieve your goals, and lead a healthier, more satisfying life.
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Tip 1: Explore what's really behind your anger
Have you ever gotten into an argument over something silly? Big fights often happen over something small, like a dish left out or being ten minutes late. But there’s usually a bigger issue behind it. If you find your irritation and anger rapidly rising, ask yourself, “What am I really angry about?” Identifying the real source of frustration will help you communicate your anger better, take constructive action, and work towards a resolution.
Is your anger masking other feelings such as embarrassment, insecurity, hurt, shame, or vulnerability? If your knee-jerk response in many situations is anger, it’s likely that your temper is covering up your true feelings. This is especially likely if you grew up in a family where expressing feelings was strongly discouraged. As an adult, you may have a hard time acknowledging feelings other than anger.
Anger can also mask anxiety. When you perceive a threat, either real or imagined, your body activates the “fight or flight” response. In the case of the “fight” response, it can often manifest itself as anger or aggression. To change your response, you need to find out what’s causing you to feel anxious or scared.
Anger problems can stem from what you learned as a child. If you watched others in your family scream, hit each other, or throw things, you might think this is how anger is supposed to be expressed.
Anger can be a symptom of another underlying health problem, such as depression (especially in men), trauma, or chronic stress.
Clues that there's more to your anger than meets the eye
You have a hard time compromising. Is it hard for you to understand other people’s points of view, and even harder to concede a point? If you grew up in a family where anger was out of control, you may remember how the angry person got their way by being the loudest and most demanding. Compromising might bring up scary feelings of failure and vulnerability.
You view different opinions as a personal challenge. Do you believe that your way is always right and get angry when others disagree? If you have a strong need to be in control or a fragile ego, you may interpret other perspectives as a challenge to your authority, rather than simply a different way of looking at things.
You have trouble expressing emotions other than anger. Do you pride yourself on being tough and in control? Do you feel that emotions like fear, guilt, or shame don’t apply to you? Everyone has those emotions so you may be using anger as a cover for them. If you are uncomfortable with different emotions, disconnected, or stuck on an angry one-note response to situations, it’s important to get back in touch with your feelings. HelpGuide’s free Emotional Intelligence Toolkit can help.
While you might feel that you just explode into anger without warning, there are in fact physical warning signs in your body. Becoming aware of your own personal signs that your temper is starting to boil allows you to take steps to manage your anger before it gets out of control.
Pay attention to the way anger feels in your body
- Knots in your stomach
- Clenching your hands or jaw
- Feeling clammy or flushed
- Breathing faster
- Pacing or needing to walk around
- “Seeing red”
- Having trouble concentrating
- Pounding heart
- Tensing your shoulders
Tip 3: Identify your triggers
Stressful events don’t excuse anger, but understanding how these events affect you can help you take control of your environment and avoid unnecessary aggravation. Look at your regular routine and try to identify activities, times of day, people, places, or situations that trigger irritable or angry feelings.
Maybe you get into a fight every time you go out for drinks with a certain group of friends. Or maybe the traffic on your daily commute drives you crazy. When you identify your triggers, think about ways to either avoid them or view the situations differently so they don’t make your blood boil.
Negative thought patterns that can trigger anger
You may think that external factors—the insensitive actions of other people, for example, or frustrating situations—are causing your anger. But anger problems have less to do with what happens to you than how you interpret and think about what happened.
Common negative thinking patterns that trigger and fuel anger include:
- Overgeneralizing. For example, “You ALWAYS interrupt me. You NEVER consider my needs. EVERYONE disrespects me. I NEVER get the credit I deserve.”
- Obsessing over “shoulds” and “musts.” Having a rigid view of the way a situation should or must go and getting angry when reality doesn’t line up with this vision.
- Mind reading and jumping to conclusions. Assuming you “know” what someone else is thinking or feeling—that they intentionally upset you, ignored your wishes, or disrespected you.
- Collecting straws. Looking for things to get upset about, usually while overlooking or blowing past anything positive. Letting these small irritations build and build until you reach the “final straw” and explode, often over something relatively minor.
- Blaming. When anything bad happens or something goes wrong, it’s always someone else’s fault. You tell yourself, “life’s not fair,” or blame others for your problems rather than taking responsibility for your own life.
When you identify the thought patterns that fuel your anger, you can learn to reframe how you think about things. Ask yourself: What’s the evidence that the thought is true? That it’s not true? Is there a more positive, realistic way of looking at a situation? What would I say to a friend who was thinking these things?
Tip 4: Learn ways to cool down quickly
Once you know how to recognize the warning signs that your temper is rising and anticipate your triggers, you can act quickly to deal with your anger before it spins out of control. There are many techniques that can help you cool down and keep your anger in check.
Focus on the physical sensations of anger. While it may seem counterintuitive, tuning into the way your body feels when you’re angry often lessens the emotional intensity of your anger.
Take some deep breaths. Deep, slow breathing helps counteract rising tension. The key is to breathe deeply from the abdomen, getting as much fresh air as possible into your lungs.
Get moving. A brisk walk around the block is a great idea. Physical activity releases pent-up energy so you can approach the situation with a cooler head.
Use your senses. You can use sight, smell, hearing, touch, and taste to quickly relieve stress and cool down. You might try listening to a favorite piece of music, looking at a treasured photo, savoring a cup of tea, or stroking a pet.
Stretch or massage areas of tension. Roll your shoulders if you are tensing them, for example, or gently massage your neck and scalp.
Slowly count to ten. Focus on the counting to let your rational mind catch up with your feelings. If you still feel out of control by the time you reach ten, start counting again.
Give yourself a reality check
When you start getting upset about something, take a moment to think about the situation. Ask yourself:
- How important is it in the grand scheme of things?
- Is it really worth getting angry about it?
- Is it worth ruining the rest of my day?
- Is my response appropriate to the situation?
- Is there anything I can do about it?
- Is taking action worth my time?
Tip 5: Find healthier ways to express your anger
If you’ve decided that the situation is worth getting angry about and there’s something you can do to make it better, the key is to express your feelings in a healthy way. Learning how to resolve conflict in a positive way will help you strengthen your relationships rather than damaging them.
Always fight fair. It’s okay to be upset at someone, but if you don’t fight fair, the relationship will quickly break down. Fighting fair allows you to express your own needs while still respecting others.
Make the relationship your priority. Maintaining and strengthening the relationship, rather than “winning” the argument, should always be your first priority. Respect the other person and their viewpoint.
Focus on the present. Once you are in the heat of arguing, it’s easy to start throwing past grievances into the mix. Rather than looking to the past and assigning blame, focus on what you can do in the present to solve the problem.
Be willing to forgive. Resolving conflict is impossible if you’re unwilling or unable to forgive. Resolution lies in releasing the urge to punish, which can never compensate for our losses and only adds to our injury by further depleting and draining our lives.
Take five if things get too heated. If your anger starts to spiral out of control, remove yourself from the situation for a few minutes or for as long as it takes you to cool down.
Know when to let something go. If you can’t come to an agreement, agree to disagree. It takes two people to keep an argument going. If a conflict is going nowhere, you can choose to disengage and move on.
Tip 6: Stay calm by taking care of yourself
Taking care of your overall mental and physical well-being can help ease tension and diffuse anger problems.
Manage stress. If your stress levels are through the roof, you’re more likely to struggle controlling your temper. Try practicing relaxation techniques such as mindfulness meditation, progressive muscle relaxation, or deep breathing. You’ll feel calmer and more in control of your emotions.
Talk to someone you trust. Nothing eases stress more effectively than chatting face-to-face with a friend or loved one. The person doesn’t have to provide answers, they just need to be a good listener. But talking about your feelings and seeking a different perspective on a situation is not the same as venting. Simply venting your anger at someone will only fuel your temper and reinforce your anger problem.
Get enough sleep. A lack of sleep can exacerbate negative thoughts and leave you feeling agitated and short-tempered. Try to get seven to nine hours of good quality sleep.
Exercise regularly. It’s an effective way to burn-off tension and ease stress, and it can leave you feeling more relaxed and positive throughout the day. Aim for at least 30 minutes on most days, broken up into shorter periods if that’s easier.
Be smart about alcohol and drugs. They lower your inhibitions and can make it even harder to control your anger. Even consuming too much caffeine can make you more irritable and prone to anger.
Tip 7: Use humor to relieve tension
When things get tense, humor and playfulness can help you lighten the mood, smooth over differences, reframe problems, and keep things in perspective. When you feel yourself getting angry in a situation, try using a little lighthearted humor. It can allow you to get your point across without getting the other person’s defenses up or hurting their feelings.
However, it’s important that you laugh with the other person, not at them. Avoid sarcasm, mean-spirited humor. If in doubt, start by using self-deprecating humor. We all love people who are able to gently poke fun at their own failings. After all, we’re all flawed and we all make mistakes.
So, if you’ve made a mistake at work or you’ve just spilled coffee over yourself, instead of getting angry or picking a fight, try making a joke about it. Even if the joke falls flat or comes out wrong, the only person you risk offending is yourself.
When humor and play are used to reduce tension and anger, a potential conflict can even become an opportunity for greater connection and intimacy.
Tip 8: Recognize if you need professional help
If, despite putting these previous anger management techniques into practice, your anger is still spiraling out of control, or if you’re getting into trouble with the law or hurting others, you need more help.
Anger management classes allow you to meet others coping with the same struggles and learn tips and techniques for managing your anger.
Therapy, either group or individual, can be a great way to explore the reasons behind your anger and identify triggers. Therapy can also provide a safe place to practice new skills for expressing anger.
Anger isn’t the real problem in an abusive relationship
Despite what many believe, domestic violence and abuse does not happen due to the abuser’s loss of control over their temper. Rather, it’s a deliberate choice to control another person. If you are abusive towards your spouse or partner, know that you need specialized treatment, not regular anger management classes.
Authors: Melinda Smith, M.A. and Jeanne Segal, Ph.D.
Trauma- and Stressor-Related Disorders. (2013). In Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. American Psychiatric Association. https://doi.org/10.1176/appi.books.9780890425787.x07_Trauma_and_Stressor_Related_Disorders
Williams, Riccardo. “Anger as a Basic Emotion and Its Role in Personality Building and Pathological Growth: The Neuroscientific, Developmental and Clinical Perspectives.” Frontiers in Psychology 8 (November 7, 2017): 1950. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2017.01950
Staicu, ML, and M Cuţov. “Anger and Health Risk Behaviors.” Journal of Medicine and Life 3, no. 4 (November 15, 2010): 372–75. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3019061/
Ba, Al Ubaidi, and Al Ubaidi Ba. “Control Excessive Anger before It Controls Your Life.” Accessed November 17, 2021. https://doi.org/10.23937/2469-5793/1510088
Zarshenas, Ladan, Mehdi Baneshi, Farkhondeh Sharif, and Ebrahim Moghimi Sarani. “Anger Management in Substance Abuse Based on Cognitive Behavioral Therapy: An Interventional Study. ” BMC Psychiatry 17, no. 1 (November 23, 2017): 375. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12888-017-1511-z
Nasir, Rohany, and Norisham Abd Ghani. “Behavioral and Emotional Effects of Anger Expression and Anger Management among Adolescents.” Procedia – Social and Behavioral Sciences, 2nd World Conference on Psychology and Sociology, PSYSOC 2013, 27-29 November 2013, Brussels, Belgium, 140 (August 22, 2014): 565–69. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.sbspro.2014.04.471
Bodenmann, Guy, Nathalie Meuwly, Thomas N. Bradbury, Simone Gmelch, and Thomas Ledermann. “Stress, Anger, and Verbal Aggression in Intimate Relationships: Moderating Effects of Individual and Dyadic Coping.” Journal of Social and Personal Relationships 27, no. 3 (May 1, 2010): 408–24. https://doi.org/10.1177/0265407510361616
Fehr, Beverley, Mark Baldwin, Lois Collins, Suzanne Patterson, and Riva Benditt. “Anger in Close Relationships: An Interpersonal Script Analysis.” 25, no. 3 (March 1, 1999): 299–312. https://doi.org/10.1177/0146167299025003003
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Controlling Anger Before it Controls You – Origins of excessive anger, tips on coping, and when to seek more help. (American Psychological Association)
What Your Anger May Be Hiding – Reasons behind excessive anger. (Psychology Today)
Anger and Trauma – How anger should be treated when it's a symptom of PTSD. (National Center for PTSD)
When You Love an Angry Person – Tips on fighting fair, ways to approach a loved one, and when to seek more help. (Get Your Angries Out)
Last updated: December 5, 2022
How to help your child cope with anger
In my work as a school counselor, I most often encounter a tendency to increase aggression and anger in almost all children. Whether we dare to admit it or not, the constant pressure to depict violence on television, in video games, on the Internet, in films, in music, and in our newspapers, is harming our children. As a result, too many children become insensitive to violence and begin to believe that anger is the only way to solve problems. nine0003
Although this may be considered bad news, there is good news: you can learn not only violence, but also calmness! Here are six secrets that will help your child learn a calmer, more constructive way to express their anger. These ideas have been presented in my consultations to hundreds of parents, and the response has been positive: they are simple methods, and if applied consistently, they will work. Teaching our children these techniques is the best way to prevent the aggressive behavior that so many children suffer from today. Here are six ideas to get you started. nine0003
1. Be calm. The best way to teach your child how to deal constructively with anger is to show him your own example. After all, you yourself learned to calm down, not by reading about it in a book, but by seeing how others do it. So use this annoying experience as "lessons in place" to teach your child to calm down.
For example, let's say your auto repair shop calls you and tells you that the cost of repairing your car will double. You are annoyed by this message, but your child is standing nearby, who is watching you carefully. Gather as much calmness as you can and use this situation as an object lesson in anger management: "I'm so angry right now," you say calmly to your child. "The body shop just doubled the cost of fixing my car." And after that, a calming solution is offered: "We need to take a walk in order to recover." It is your example that the child will copy. nine0003
2. Get out and calm down. One of the most difficult aspects of parenting has to do with children directing their anger at you. If you're not careful, you'll find that their anger will fuel your emotions that you didn't know you had. Be careful: anger is contagious. It is best to establish a rule in your house from the very beginning: "In this house we solve problems when we are calm and in control." And then steadily follow this rule.
Here is an example of how you can use this. The next time your child gets angry and demands a quick solution, you can say, "I need a break. Let's talk about this later," and then calmly walk out without responding to the child's reaction. A mother came to me for counseling and told me that the only way for her to leave was to lock herself in the closet. The child continued to scream and kick the door, but she did not come out until he calmed down. It took several times to apply this approach, so that it dawned on the child that she was talking seriously. From that moment on, the child understood that his mother would discuss the problem with him only when he was calm and able to keep his feelings under control. nine0003
3. Build a vocabulary of words that describe feelings. Many children show anger only because they simply do not know how to express their irritation in another way. Kicking, screaming, swearing, hitting or throwing things may be the only way they know how to express their feelings. It is pointless to ask a child, "Tell me how you feel right now?", as he may not know the right words to describe his feelings. To help him verbally express his anger, create a list of words that describe feelings by asking him, "Let's think of all the words we can use to tell the other person we're really angry," and write down his ideas. nine0003
For example, you could use words such as "anger", "fierce", "irritation", "fury", "discontent", "rage". Write them down on a card, hang it on the wall, and try to use them. When your child gets angry, use these words so he can apply them in real life. "Looks like you're really angry. Do you want to talk about it?" Or "You look annoyed. Would you like to tell me what happened?" Keep adding new emotion words to this list each time such a new word appears in these "learning moments" throughout the day. nine0003
4. Make a calming poster. There are dozens of ways to help kids calm down when they get irritated. Unfortunately, many children are not given the opportunity to think about these possibilities. That is why they have problems. After all, the only behavior they know is the wrong way to express their own displeasure. Therefore, talk to your child about more acceptable "substitutes" for this behavior. You can make a great poster by listing them on it. Here are a few ideas fourth graders thought of: go away, think of a calming place, listen to music, hit a pillow, draw, talk to someone, sing a song. After the child chooses the "calming" method, encourage him to use the same strategy every time he gets angry. nine0003
5. Identify signs of early detection of anger. Explain to your child that we all have signals in our bodies that warn us when we get angry. We need to listen to these signals, as they keep us out of trouble. Then, help your child recognize what specific warning signals are telling them that they are getting angry. For example, "I speak louder, my cheeks start to burn, I clench my fists, my heart beats faster, my lips dry, I breathe faster." Once your child is aware of these signals, point them out at the first sign of irritation. "Look, it looks like you're starting to lose control," or "Your fists are clenched. Don't you think you're starting to get angry?" The more we help children learn to recognize these early signs of impending anger, the better they will be able to calm themselves. The appearance of the first signals is the time when the anger management strategy is most effective. Anger develops very quickly, and if you wait for the child to "melt", then it is too late to try to calm him down later. nine0003
6. Teach your child anger management strategies. A very effective strategy for helping a child calm down is called "3 + 10". You can even write this formula on large sheets of paper and hang them around your house. Then explain to the child how to use this formula. "As soon as you feel like your body is sending you a warning signal that you're starting to lose control, do two things. First, take three deep, slow breaths into your belly. That's a 3. Then count to ten silently. It'll be 10. Together, it's 3+10 and it will help you calm down." It is necessary at the same time to show the child how to take deep and slow breaths. nine0003
Teaching children how to deal successfully with their anger is not an easy task, especially if they have previously used only aggressive display of their own irritation. Experts say that learning a new behavior requires at least 21 days of repetition. Based on this, I can recommend the following. Choose one technique that should be most successful for your child and use it every day for 21 days. Your child is much more likely to actually learn a new technique as they try to use it over and over again, which is how we learn new experiences. It is also the best way to deal with violence and help our children live more successful, peaceful lives. nine0013 -----------------
author: Michele Borba
How can you help yourself deal with anger?
Our anger, both overt and covert, is meant to convey something important to those around us. But he pushes them away. We sincerely want to be heard and understood, but we get the opposite result. In whatever form we express aggression, it interferes with building effective communication.
WHERE DOES ANGER COME FROM?nine0002 Anger is a force that motivates a person to act. To fight a tiger or a mammoth, you need to get really angry. Initially, anger was given to man so that he could get angry, go hunting and feed himself, and maybe conquer the world. Anger is the force that motivates a person to act.
Now we do not observe mammoths on the streets, but we communicate with other people every day. And we keep getting angry. So where does it come from?
The first reason is exhaustion. When an organism lacks resources, a person rises in search of them and at the same time tries to save himself by driving away all potential competitors. Therefore, lack of sleep, pain, even poor nutrition can easily become the cause of anger. In adults, an imbalance of fat in the body increases irritability, and in children, a large amount of sugar increases excitability.
The second reason is the frustration of the need to be accepted. When a person feels that there is no place for his interests, his opinion in the family or at work, that he lacks support and love, he accumulates aggression. Most often, such situations arise with people who do not know how to express it; we will talk about them below. nine0003
The third reason is not understanding why the other person behaves the way they do. Why is your partner rude every time you try to find out where he is now? Why does a five-year-old child not sit quietly in the theater, but throw his arms and legs at his neighbor? An adult believes that his partner is just nervous, and the child does not respect other people's boundaries. In fact, it may turn out that the partner had a controlling mother, and he still perceives questions as a violation of his freedom, and an emotionally immature child is so fond of the performance that he cannot control himself. nine0003
The fourth reason is the need for protection. When a child screams in the street and the mother cannot do anything, she becomes angry. First of all, the fact that she is losing control, and everyone sees it. Protection may be needed from pain, sadness, disappointment - in general, from all difficult emotions that threaten psychological security.
The fifth cause of anger is a threat to self-esteem. Sometimes a feeling of guilt arises because of the behavior of a loved one. “I am a bad mother” if the child screams and falls, if he is silent and plays the tablet, if he eats a lot, if he eats little... This situation makes you try to be good all the time and do everything right. It is especially difficult for perfectionists, that is, those who had the “be good” mindset in childhood in response to parental demands. The result is repressed aggression, more guilt and more anger. nine0003
There are situations from which an adult explodes. The reaction is not always adequate to the situation - the one who caused the outburst of anger thinks to himself: "What did I say? .." In fact, he, without knowing it, pressed the "red button". Each person has their own content of these buttons, but globally they are divided into two types.
1. Last straw
Suppose a mother gives all her time to her child. She plays with full dedication, eats dinner in five minutes, does not close the door to the toilet, hardly sleeps... Or, conversely, she spends 10 hours a day at work, barely has time to play with the child in the evening, and also cooks soup, cleans the floor, reads a book on how to communicate with a child ... And finally, the husband says something about an unwashed plate. Can you imagine the reaction? Explosion! The problem, of course, is not in the plate. When a person holds back emotions for too long, anything can be the last straw. nine0003
What to do with it: not to sacrifice everything for the sake of one area of life, but to do exactly as much as possible; track irritation and fatigue at the very beginning; talk about it to relatives and carry out prevention (“make children a happy mother”) until the glass overflows.
2. Sore callus
Suppose a person had a father who kept track of what time the child came home, controlled whether the light in the bathroom was turned off, whether the closet was tidied up, whether the dishes were washed. Or the mother constantly read the diary, interfered in relationships with peers, aggressively invaded life. Or already in adulthood, the previous partner terrorized with calls. Therefore, past experience can be included in new relationships. nine0003
"Listen, maybe you should leave the meeting earlier than the rest, because you'll be walking down a dark street?" the partner asks. "What are you telling me? But why should I always do everything as you said?" - A sudden explosion occurs.
The red button can be an emotionally charged experience from any period of life when a person has experienced and suppressed anger.
What to do about it : monitor your emotions at the level of irritation, talk with your partner about your feelings and what causes irritation; regard such questions as a desire to take care of you; let your loved ones take care of you. nine0003
LADDER OF ANGER
Both an adult and a child can find themselves in a situation where sparks are already flying, a scream or even a fight begins. Sometimes it is not clear how a calm situation turned into this one.
What's going on? Anger does not appear immediately, but goes through several stages before reaching a peak. This can be represented as a ladder . It all starts in the emotional comfort zone , where it is calm and nothing disturbs. This is a different situation for every person. nine0003
You should think about when this state occurs for you: when you are lying on the sofa with a book, walking in the park, playing with a child, being at work.
At the next stage, irritation occurs . Someone said something wrong, did something wrong, everything does not go according to plan - and the person starts to boil. In this state, you can still think and understand what caused the irritation.
Here it is important to notice the first notes of irritation until they escalated into uncontrollable aggression.
An emotional outburst occurs at the last step. There is no control in it: a person is no longer aware of what is happening to him, cannot analyze his behavior, does not want to stop and "turns on" himself.
Do you remember the slogan: “It is better to prevent a fire than to put it out”? When you are already at the last step, only the automatic mechanism for getting out of the current situation will work. For example, run out of the room shouting: "That's it, I can't take it anymore" and take a breath. But this does not solve the problem globally. Therefore, you should develop a mechanism for how to deal with irritation in the previous stage, and then you simply will not reach the peak of uncontrollable anger. nine0003
WHAT WILL HAPPEN IF ANGER IS NOT EXPRESSED?
Have you ever met people who have difficulty expressing anger?
The problem is that this emotion still arises, but it is expressed inadequately: it either blows up a person inconsistently with the situation, or hides and makes itself felt in the form of passive aggression.
Unfortunately, this is a very common story: in our culture, the open expression of strong emotions is taboo, we are taught from childhood "not to be angry." People who do not know how to be angry, as a rule, are captured by their childhood conflicts. They cannot talk about their needs and adequately defend their position, they are internally irritated with themselves and others that they do not succeed. nine0003
Sometimes they don't even realize that they feel anger and can't do anything about it. The problem is that this emotion still arises, but it is expressed inadequately: it either blows up a person inconsistently with the situation, or hides and makes itself felt in the form of passive aggression. Let's say a person gets a job. At first he shows himself well, but over time he begins to sabotage everything. And his boss is a fool, and the tasks are not according to his standards, and his colleagues do everything wrong. As a result, a person is fired or leaves on his own, and the cycle begins anew. At the same time, he can become a domestic tyrant: find fault with the fact that the dishes are not washed, slippers are not right, the child is naughty. Emotional and physical rejection between spouses (unwillingness to talk, listen, make love) also speaks of passive aggression. In children, it can manifest itself through poor grades or refusal to eat, that is, neglect of what is important to parents. What's happening? A person cannot express his anger directly, so he begins to do things that will anger others and lead to a break in relations. nine0003
If you see a person who constantly blames others , believes that everyone around is fools, this is a person with suppressed anger. In childhood, he could not be angry, especially at his parents, and he unconsciously "acts out" in adulthood.
It is worth remembering that anger is an emotion, it will arise in any case. And it depends only on us how it will be expressed in behavior and how it will affect our relations with others.
HOW TO HELP YOURSELF MANAGE ANGER? nine0003
It is imperative to express anger, and it is preferable to do it constructively. Such a skill improves life, makes a person a more integral personality and allows you to build harmonious relationships with others. So how can you help yourself deal with anger?
1. Learn to recognize irritation in yourself before it develops into anger
First, before looking for the deep psychosomatic causes of irritation and anger, we recommend checking hormones, assessing the state of your body and counting how many hours a day you sleep. Remember that the first cause of anger is the exhaustion of the body. Allow yourself to take a break from the daily routine, arrange with family members to help you with this. nine0003
Second, analyze past experience. What makes you angry and angry? If you have already found your pain points, try to notice them in different situations.
2. Allow yourself to feel
Despite children's attitudes, there are no good and bad emotions. Feeling and expressing is normal. Moreover, anger, resentment, sadness and anger are due to the characteristics of the human body. If you completely deny negative emotions and try to pretend that you have a solid positive, problems ensue. As soon as you admit to yourself what you are really experiencing and allow yourself to be with it, the feeling of guilt will go away. This means that anger will not accumulate, risking erupting at the most unfortunate moment. nine0003
It is important to convey to children the right to feel. They understand how parents allow themselves and others to express emotions, even if they have never been spoken to about it. Access to anger must be open: if an adult learns this first, then a child can follow him.
3. Take responsibility
Of course, your relationship with anger was formed in childhood, in your family of origin. Then you still didn’t know how to deal with difficult emotions. But now you are an adult and you can take matters into your own hands. Admit to yourself: you are not angry and angry because someone else is bad and does everything wrong. You experience this emotion because you yourself wanted it. nine0003
It is important and necessary to investigate the causes, but this is not a reason to say to relatives: "Tolerate my unconstructive anger until I deal with this" . As an adult, you yourself build relationships with others and with yourself. By accepting this responsibility, you get the opportunity to talk about yourself, about your feelings. Not "you are not a good person, you do not pay attention to me and the child", but "I feel lonely if I do not spend enough time with you." The second option sounds different, doesn't it? nine0003
Do not accumulate anger in yourself. You are responsible for expressing it while maintaining the relationship.
4. Speak in words
When people first enter into relationships, they rub against each other, including at home. At this point, it is important to find out and talk about your pain points that you already know about. As you get to know each other, there will be more and more discoveries, and it is important not to forget to discuss them constructively.
Without dialogue, irritation will accumulate like a snowball, and eventually result in a scandal. So we recommend taking measures in advance and agreeing with each other, but not blaming, but first of all talking about yourself. nine0003
By the way, a parent can talk about his anger to his children. True, it is important not to do this too often and take into account age. If the child is overloaded with his feelings, he may consider himself responsible for the mood and condition of the parent.
5. Emotional relaxation
Run, squat, close yourself in a room and forcefully paint a sheet of paper, hit a pillow, shout in the forest... Any activity connected with the body helps to express aggression. In the long term, rest more often and change activities. nine0003
6. Give yourself first aid when you are angry
When a person is in a difficult condition, it is important for him to connect his body, emotions and thoughts. This helps to pull yourself together and start behaving constructively.
► Ask yourself: "What do I feel in my body?" Answer it: trembling at the fingertips, heartbeat, etc. Concentrate on this.
► Next question: "What are my emotions?" I am angry, offended, annoyed, my self-esteem is hurt ... Track the emotion, name it.
► Last question: "What am I thinking?" For example, I think that the situation is terrible, that I constantly get here, this is the 15th time that I explode this week.
After answering all the questions, you will connect the body, emotions and thoughts. Despite the fact that nothing seems to have changed, you, as a person, will come into balance, from which it is easier to perform other actions. For example, talk. nine0003
7. Help a loved one who can't handle his anger
One child once asked: "Why is dad allowed to yell at us, but I can't?" If you understand that reproaches and ignoring only aggravate the situation, it's time to help your loved ones.
For a partner who came home from work and started yelling at a child, you can, for example, say:
- I see that you are tired and therefore you lose your temper. You find it hard to bear imperfection, that the dishes are not clean enough, or that the child is not well-behaved. nine0066
This should be said without irony, but sincerely, trying to understand how hard it really is for a person. For a child observing the situation, this option will also serve as a good example. And your partner will probably not be able to verbalize his anger right away, but he will feel better.
8. Admit your mistakes
What to do if you break loose, get angry with a child, and then feel guilty? Honestly ask for forgiveness:nine0002 - Forgive me. Sometimes I can't control my emotions, I don't want to do this, it's unpleasant for me, and you are not worthy of such treatment. Nobody deserves to be yelled at, I ask your forgiveness.
This is a very valuable experience for a child, unless, of course, repeating apologies five times a day. It is good because, firstly, the child sees: the parent is not God, he can make mistakes, which means that the child does not have to be perfect. Second, there is an understanding: a person can correct a mistake, apologize and improve relations. Thirdly, the child understands that the relationship with him is significant for the parent, his feelings are important, and he is ready for dialogue.
By the way, this scheme also works with a partner.
9. Go to a psychologist, psychotherapist
As a rule, you play emotionally difficult situations from childhood in a circle: find partners who look like parents, change one authoritarian boss for another, etc. You do this to deal with an old problem in an adult way, but use the old ways - and again it doesn't work. Psychotherapy helps to get to the bottom of frustrated emotions and develop new mechanisms that will help get out of the vicious circle. nine0003
So let's summarize:
There are no good and bad emotions. Each of them has a specific function, including anger. Healthy aggression helps protect yourself and defend your interests, while unhealthy destroys relationships.
Our way of dealing with anger begins in childhood, when we do not yet know how to deal with difficult emotions. Many adults then go around in circles, repeating scenarios of communication with parents in the family and at work, and try to replay past experiences. The advantage of being an adult is that we can consciously learn to express anger in a constructive way and teach it to our children. nine0003
As much as we would like to be "positive" all the time, anger sometimes arises and needs to be expressed.