Anger is a natural human response, just like any emotion. Everyone gets upset sometimes, but if it seems as though irrational ire is affecting work, relationships, and health, consider these six simple solutions to common anger management issues.
Problem: Reactions are immediate and heated.
Solution: Wait about 5-10 seconds before responding. After a moment to breathe, be sure to really listen to what the other person said. Then, once a certain amount of calmness has returned, choose the words to express the reasons for being upset rather than letting knee-jerk reactions dictate any responses.
Problem: Needing to win an argument.
Solution: Relationships with people are more important than winning an argument. Words are powerful, and despite the old adage, they can hurt. Consider how the relationship with this person will be affected by what is said, and whether it’s really worth it to say something out of anger. Remember to build bridges with conversation rather than walls.
Problem: Feeling physically strained or ill due to anger.
Solution: These are normal reactions to anger. Anger triggers a fight-or-flight response to drastically increase adrenaline levels. Common symptoms are upset stomach, rapid breathing, sweaty palms, or tension. Pay attention to your body. Try going for a brisk walk or jog, taking a warm bath, stretching or massaging out tension, and taking deep breaths.
Problem: Finding things to be angry about.
Solution: With the bad comes the good. Find the positive aspects of a situation (there are positives!). Put anger into context: In five years, will this issue still matter? If not, it might not be worth getting angry about.
Problem: Taking personal offense to others’ comments.
Solution: Most of the time, people are not intentionally trying to hurt others. They may have differing opinions, but it is rarely a personal attack. Instead of getting upset, try to start a conversation. Focus on “I” statements – “I feel disappointed because I worked hard on that project” rather than “You are always so critical of me.” Forgive people for their mistakes to help dissipate anger.
Problem: Getting upset over every minor issue or exploding when it’s ‘the last straw.’
Solution: When it seems as though there’s no real reason for getting angry, it could be a sign that there are deeper reasons for being upset. Deep, perpetual anger is often grounded in an event of the past. Take time to understand the real reasons, and then talk to someone about it or write it in a private journal.