Four Constructive Ways to Manage Anger


Angry Bearded Man Screaming Against White Background

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Anger can sometimes feel so powerful and can be really hard to manage at times. Here are some tips to help you successfully navigate your anger.

1. Use your words to show boundaries! You let the person who angered you know that they have crossed a line. You ask them to stop and apologize if necessary. For example, Smith could have noticed his anger, breathed deeply to slow himself down, felt his impulse to physically lash out, and instead strive to speak from his anger saying, “Chris, you have crossed a line. Never speak publicly of my family again!! You owe Jada an apology!” When you set a boundary, you may get pushback. When you don't feel heard, stay calm, firm, and repeat your boundary again and again until you are heard. In general, the calmer the tone, the more another person will be able to hear what you are saying without getting reactive.

2. Shift from anger at the perpetrator to compassion for those hurt When nothing can be done to change a situation, no action may be the best action—at least in the short term. Use emotional strength to shift from anger at the perpetrator to compassion for yourself and others hurt by the perpetrator's actions. Instead of attacking Rock, Will might have focused his compassionate attention on Jada and asked, "Are you ok?" Or said, "I am so sorry Chris said that. I love and adore you."

3. Release angry energy using fantasy portrayals The brain doesn't know the difference between fantasy and reality when it comes to emotions, we can use fantasy to release anger with much success. The technique is to dis-identify with our anger, slowing down the whole sequence of events to notice the impulses of the anger as you feel them move through your body. Then imagine what it would look like if the anger could come out of you and do exactly what it wants to the perpetrator. The purpose of this is twofold: 1) initially, to get to know your anger and your impulses on the deepest level; and 2) to release the anger from the body so It doesn't lead to anxiety, depression, PTSD, or aggression. For example, had Will learned to use fantasy to release anger, he might have been able to imagine getting up, walking to the stage, and slapping Rock, instead of actually doing it.

4. Tend to old wounds Sometimes we have blocked anger from our childhood that leaks out in the present. If you suspect you have anger from past traumatic events or relationships that is negatively affecting your life today, you may want to consider a trained emotion-centered experiential trauma psychotherapist, pent-up anger can be released in safe ways as described above.

For more information, check out Psychology Today


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