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Anger is an emotion that gets a bad rap, but anger is necessary because it is the body’s way of signaling something is wrong. The reason anger is associated with negativity is due to the fact that many of us react impulsively when angry. Anger can be triggered due to things out of our control, past hurts, wrong-doings, expectations left unmet, etc. Anger can give you a way to express negative feelings or motivate you to find solutions to problems. But excessive anger can cause problems including high blood pressure, insomnia, digestion problems, headaches, relationship issues, increased anxiety, and depression.

The 3 “R”s:

Anger management classes typically teach you that instead of reacting, retreating, and then rethinking, one can choose to first retreat, then rethink, and then finally respond. Notice that “react” is not a part of this sequence. This is because a healthy response to another person rarely involves being emotionally reactive. It is important to take time to rethink and allow logic to guide your response.

If you feel like managing your anger is challenging, you might struggle with regulating your emotions and this can lead to shame and insecurity. Fortunately, there are some ways that you can manage your anger in a healthy way and minimize these painful experiences.

1) Count to 10. In the heat of the moment, when you can practically feel your blood pressure rising, your heart rate increasing, a knot forming in your throat—it is time to take a step back. Start counting slowly to 10, focusing on your breath and listening in to your heart as it slows pace. Creating space from the stimuli and your reaction will allow you to time to cool down, think more clearly, and overcome the impulse to lash out in destructive ways.

2) Exercise. If you have noticed anger has become a regular emotion popping up in your life, incorporating a weekly exercise practice may be useful in exerting some of that built up energy. Going for a run, lifting weights, or taking up a sport are all useful ways to blow off some steam and re-center your body, your emotions, and your thoughts.

3) Get creative. If exercise is not your thing, perhaps taking up a creative hobby may help you express some of the emotions building up. Carving out time for creative outlets can help you practice mindfulness, regulate your emotions, and practice self-care.

4) Practice assertive communication. If you are someone that bottles up your emotions, has difficulty creating healthy boundaries, and get the sense that people tend to “walk all over” you, it may be time to start practicing some assertiveness skills. Start by using “I-statements”, learn to say no to others, and express how you are truly feeling. If people are unable to respect the boundaries you are trying to create, it may be time to start thinking about the people you are interacting with.

For a personalized plan to help you regulate your emotions and manage your anger, call 253 Therapy and Consult today to schedule an appointment with a licensed therapist. As always, we are here for you!

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