How to Handle (manage) Anger


Remove yourself from the situation.
When you feel yourself getting angry during a discussion, argument, or other situation, try changing the topic, dropping the discussion, or leaving the room or area.


Stop and think.
I know, easier said than done. It may take some preparation and practice but you can definitely learn to intercept angry reactions by attempting to understand the situation. Ask yourself what's really going on with you, the other person, or the situation. We have a tendency to see situations as worse than they really are. Ask yourself if your reactions are appropriate to the situation at hand and what the consequences might be. Realize that life isn't always fair and nobody's perfect and, although we can't always control life and others, we can control our reactions.


Engage in constructive activity.
You've heard the advice about "not keeping it bottled up" and "getting it out of your system." Solid advice if you don't translate that to mean screaming, yelling, punching something, etc. These type of un-constructive actions truly are not going to make you feel any better, will leave you feeling remorseful, and may result in training yourself to act inappropriately. There are better options. Try tightening muscle groups or clenching your fists tightly and holding for 10-20 seconds and then relaxing and visualizing the tension leaving your body. Even better, engage in real physical exercise and go for a walk, a run, or drop and knock out some push-ups.


Breathe deep.
Deep breathing (breath control) is an excellent technique to rapidly calm yourself and enhance clear thinking and wellbeing. See my eHow article on "How to Use Deep Breathing to Calm Yourself" (linked below in the resources section) to learn more on this simple but effective technique.


Talk with someone.
Talking with friends and family can often help you feel better. Plus, feedback from others can help you better understand situations and to recognize if you have difficulties with anger management. When self help and talking with friends and family aren't enough, consider seeing a mental health professional that can provide you with the support, techniques, and insight you'll need to better understand anger and control your reactions to it.

Anger is something we've all experienced at one time or another. It's a normal, and sometimes even helpful (think motivation or self-defense) human emotion. At times, however, anger can get out of control and lead to inappropriate outbursts that can affect our family, social, or professional lives. In extreme, but all too common cases, anger can lead to violence and harm to ourselves or others.
Fortunately for us, we can learn to control our reactions even when we feel angry. Follow these simple steps and you'll be on your way to controlling how you react to anger and avoiding the unpleasant consequences of rash or inappropriate outbursts.