If your anger is resulting in negative consequences, anger management could be beneficial.
Have you ever heard the expression, “Never go to bed angry?” The saying speaks volumes on anger’s effects on your mental and physical health.
Everyone experiences challenging situations or faces frustrating conditions at times that spark anger. Although the emotion of anger is expected, and even healthy when expressed appropriately, some may experience unexpected consequences from anger if they’re unable to control it.
Anger management strategies can help people express their anger in healthier ways. The purpose of anger management isn’t to suppress anger but to channel it in nonviolent and unthreatening ways.
Anger is a common emotion felt in response to stress. Many triggers can elicit an angry reaction, including:
When your brain experiences anger, the body responds by increasing your blood pressure and heart rate. You may see a rise in hormone levels, leading to an unexpected gust of energy. The extra boost is why you often see some people act aggressively when angry.
Do men and women express anger differently?
A 2018 study found that women and men tend to respond differently to feelings of anger. When anger turns into aggression, women tend to react indirectly. For example, they are more likely to spread rumors or hold a grudge.
It’s important to note that research does not suggest men are more likely to behave violently just because they tend to express their anger through more assertive means than women.
This contrast is likely a result of the hormonal differences between the two sexes, according to the study. For example, men on average have higher testosterone levels than women, and studies have linked testosterone to greater feelings of anger (but not aggression).
Sex and gender exist on a spectrum. We use “women” and “men” in this article to reflect the terms assigned at birth. However, gender is solely about how you identify yourself, independent of your physical body.
Anger isn’t considered a mental illness. However, a 2016 study demonstrated anger is a crucial characteristic of other conditions, such as intermittent explosive disorder (IED) and borderline personality disorder.
Anger management works to reduce your anger and its effects on the body. If you feel your anger is getting a bit out of control, it may be time to consider anger management.
“Out of control” can mean:
- yelling or screaming
- throwing items
- punching walls
- slamming doors
- using violence
Anger Management Counseling
Anger management is a course led by a teacher and spans its material across sessions. The number of sessions and exact curriculum varies depending on the school or company, but the ideas and soft skills taught are similar.
The classes reviewed the following:
- symptoms of anger, aggression, and rage
- causes of anger
- how to identify differences and similarities in their anger compared with others
- how to identify your anger triggers
- how negative thoughts impact anger
- redirect thinking from negative to positive
- relaxation, exercise, and deep breathing
- problem-solving skills
- effects of anger on mental health
- effects of anger on loved ones
In the end, the data showed a significant decrease in the women’s levels of aggression.
A formal anger management program isn’t the only option for treating uncontrolled rage. Some other tips and tricks may be just as practical.
Deep breathing exercises are a great way to reduce your stress levels and reset.
When you stop and take some deep and controlled breaths, you calm your mind. When the mind becomes calm, your body tends to follow suit. Next, the blood pressure and heart rate slow, leading to relaxation.
A voice or prompt takes you through visualization exercises to relax the muscles and settle the mind in guided imagery.
Going through repetitive visual exercises can help relieve stress, but it can also help achieve life goals and aspirations. When you visualize the steps in front of you, you can train the mind to follow them.
Some of the best conversations one can have are with themselves.
When you feel angry, consider slowly repeating words or phrases such as “relax” or “just breathe.” Doing this while taking slow deep breaths can help you calm the muscles and reset.
A fast cardio workout might help with stress. But when the goal is to slow your feelings of anger, a better choice may be a less strenuous workout.
Some great exercises to help calm emotions of rage include:
Consider limiting social media
For some, social media can elicit strong reactions, including anxiety, jealousy, anger, and more.
For the most part, people have little control over what content they see when using social media. It’s easy to encounter a post or photo that stirs up feelings of anger (e.g., frustrating political posts, pictures posted by an ex, a picture of an event you weren’t invited to, etc.).
Taking a break from social media and news outlets, or limiting your time, can help lower your frustration levels. You could also delete or mute followers who affect your mood negatively.
Try following a daily routine
A daily routine can increase your feelings of control. This way, there’s less opportunity to be caught off guard, reducing anger triggers.
When crafting a daily routine, consider creating meal plans, scheduling workouts, and setting a sleep schedule. A healthful diet, regular exercise, and high sleep quality can be a great recipe for an elevated mood and a clear mind.
You may want to see a therapist
Visiting a therapist who specializes in anger management can be effective.
The American Psychological Association estimates that 75% of those who seek anger management therapy see an improvement in their symptoms.
One way therapists help with anger issues is by exploring imaginary events with their clients that provoke anger. When given an opportunity to self-monitor their rage, the client next practices different coping methods.
Controlling anger can be essential for living a healthier and happier life. According to a 2015 study in western cultures, anger expression has long-term negative effects on heart health.
Pretending you’re not angry or ignoring your feelings can strain the brain and body. Learning to manage your anger will boost your mood, lessen the stress on the body, and help you maintain healthy relationships.
You could temporarily manage your anger issues by avoiding specific situations or not speaking to a particular person. But you can take control of your emotions by prioritizing anger management.
If you’d like to speak with a professional, you can use an online locator to find a therapist who specializes in anger management. You can also check out teletherapy apps like Better Help that offer anger management therapy via smartphone or computer.
It’s OK to feel angry and frustrated sometimes. When you acknowledge your feelings, you can develop strategies to reduce the stress and regulate your reaction. By prioritizing anger management, you may be able to improve your well-being, your health, and your relationships all at once.