Do you struggle to control your anger?
Have you said or done things to hurt people that you love during an argument?
Do you shout at others, break things or punch objects when you lose your temper?
If you have answered "Yes" to any of these questions, then you are in not alone.
Anger is a normal human emotion that everyone experiences from time to time.
However, it's important to deal with your anger in an appropriate way so that you don't hurt yourself or others around you. In this blog, I will share with you six easy tips to control your anger!
Tip 1: Your thoughts create your anger, not the other person
This tip is one of the most powerful secrets of anger management.
To help understand how your thoughts create your anger, imagine that you are driving your car and another car cuts in front of you closely.
If you are like many people in this situation you may immediately get angry-and maybe shout at the other driver, make rude gestures or tailgate the other car.
In this situation, did the other driver cause your anger?
Many people answer “Yes” to this question.
After all they say, if the other driver didn't cut in front of me, I wouldn't have gotten angry!
This however, is a faulty way of thinking.
In reality it is your thoughts, not the other driver who causes your anger.
If another driver cuts in front of you while you are driving, you could choose to think:
“I'm happy he missed me” or “He must have not seen me”.
These thoughts would not have led you to becoming angry. Instead you would have probably stayed calm, relaxed and happy.
This idea also applies to any other situation.
It is always your thoughts, not the events that happen to you that creates your anger.
"It is always your thoughts, not the events that happen to you that creates your anger."
Tip 2: Think: Where am I on the Tension Scale?
Many people say that they get angry very quickly (or that they just “explode”).
In my experience this is usually not the case.
Almost everyone I have worked with over the last 30 years can look back in hindsight and understand that whatever situation they were in, their anger had built up over time.
For some people this build up happens slowly-for others it can be faster.
But in all cases there is a build-up.
One way of measuring the build-up of anger is to use a scale of tension or stress.
I call this scale the “Tension Scale”. This scale is a simple scale from 0 to 10.
0 on the “Tension Scale” represents no tension or stress whatsoever. 10 on the “Tension Scale”represents the most stress and tension possible.
As people go up the scale almost everyone will reach a point where they become angry. This point is typically around 7 on the Tension Scale.
Below this point you may feel various versions of anger, such as annoyance at around 3 on the scale, frustration at 4 or 5 on the scale, feeling “pissed off” or “almost angry” at 6 and finally angry at 7.
Above 7 on the Tension Scale you may become abusive (around 8 usually) or violent (9-10).
Learning to monitor your levels of tension and stress is important in helping you control your anger before your anger levels get too high.
"Learning to monitor your levels of tension and stress is important in helping you control your anger before your anger levels get too high."
To do this you can ask yourself questions such as:
“Am I tense or stressed in this situation? Where am I on the Tension Scale right now?”
This is especially important if you are in a situation where you are likely to become angry. By monitoring your levels of tension, you have more control over how your anger develops and how you can control it before it surfaces.
Tip 3: Ask Yourself: Is expressing my anger in an aggressive, abusive or violent way going to help me in this situation?
This tip is quite simple.
Expressing anger in aggressive, abusive or violent ways is never useful.
For example, you may be starting to argue with your partner or becoming frustrated with your children. If you express your anger in an aggressive, abusive or violent way is this going to help you in this situation?
In almost all cases, the answer to this question is “No”.
Expressing anger in an aggressive, abusive or violent way never helps.
"Expressing anger in an aggressive, abusive or violent way never helps."
It rarely changes the situation or other person's behaviour and it almost always causes problems in the long term.
For example, if you become aggressive towards your partner he/she may react aggressively back to you. You both may then argue and fight with each other using angry words and violent actions like hitting each other.
You might be winning this fight. But what have you achieved? You have created problems in the relationship. And your relationship is always worth more then the single issue you were fighting about!
Tip 4: Practice deep-breathing and relaxation techniques
At times it is difficult to “think yourself down” the Tension Scale.
This applies especially when you are above 5 on the Tension Scale.
At these times your body may be “flooded” with emotions. Due to this it can be difficult to simply change your thoughts. At these times you may need to actively engage in deep-breathing or relaxation exercises.
There are many places that can teach you breathing exercises to help you to relax, however many of my clients find it most useful just to take some simple deep breaths, perhaps breathing in for a few seconds, holding your breath for a few seconds and then breathing out again.
At the same time as taking these deep breaths it is a good idea to start changing your thoughts about the situation you are in.
Instead of thinking something like “My partner is being unreasonable” for example, think “My partner may have a valid point”.
Or instead of thinking “My partner are provoking me deliberately” think “My partner may be upset or hurt about something”.
Many people find it easiest to use a combination of deep breathing exercises and changing negative thoughts at the same time.
Tip 5: Stop being defensive: Listen to the other person and try to understand their perspective
In conflict situations it is easy to become defensive. This especially applies when your partner is becoming angry at you for something they perceive that you have done.
Unfortunately, becoming defensive almost always escalates conflict.
If your partner is becoming angry at you, almost always the best strategy is to seek to understand, at a deeper level what your partner is truly thinking or feeling.
A simple way to do this is to ask your partner questions about what is “beneath the surface” of what he or she is saying.
As you do this, the level of conflict between you will drop and a relationship of understanding will grow.
Tip 6: Take A “Time-Out”
It is always useful to leave a situation if your anger is getting out of control.
Doing this is called taking a “Time-Out”.
While taking a Time-Out can be useful, there are good and bad ways to take “Time-Outs”.
Some people for example, just walk away from their partner in the middle of an argument. This leaves their partner not knowing where they have gone or when they are coming back. This can be very frustrating!
"Some people walk away from their partner in the middle of an argument. This leaves their partner not knowing where they have gone or when they are coming back. This can be very frustrating!"
As an alternative to “walking-out”, there are some simple steps that I recommend any couple take before they implement Time-Outs in their relationship.
These steps include talking about the Time-Out process together when you are both calm, working out how long a Time-Out will be for, where you will go during a Time-Out and what will happen when you comes back from Time-Out.
I will give you more detailed instructions as to how to take a Time-Out correctly in a later article.
I hope this article has given you some ideas for how to control your anger in any situation.
Following the tips above will help you to manage anger in individual situations. But it is also very important for you to develop strategies that help you not to get angry in the first place.
One simple way to do this is to enrol in my comprehensive online anger management course called “The Complete Anger Management System”.
In The Complete Anger Management System you will learn exactly how to control your anger in any situation, as well as how to create a calmer, happier and more respectful relationship.
The course also goes into much more detail to help you understand and control your anger in every situation. Not only that, but the Complete Anger Management System will also teach you how to create a calmer happier and more respectful relationship.
I look forward to seeing you inside The Complete Anger Management System!