When you have trouble controlling your temper and you’re frequently dealing with anger, it can affect every area of your life.
Having uncontrolled anger can impact your health and put you at greater risk of chronic illnesses such as cardiovascular disease. It can put you at risk of being in an accident. For example, a significant portion of car accidents is the result of aggressive driving.
Having problems with your temper can hold you back in your career, and it can wreak havoc on your relationships with the people you love.
Getting your temper under control is imperative for your health and overall wellness, but it’s no easy task.
That’s particularly true now as many of us are grappling with pandemic stress, and anger may be a coping mechanism or a reaction to anxiety and uncertainty.
If you have a problematic temper, the following are things that can help you manage it.
Try to Understand Your Anger
If you can get to the root cause of your anger, you’re better equipped to tackle it effectively. Some people think their anger is justified or even that it’s healthy to vent. In reality, excessive anger outside of pretty rare circumstances is detrimental to yourself and those around you.
Look at situations that seem to trigger you. Identify the myths you may hold about your anger, and start to break those down.
For example, you might think that you can’t help yourself and your anger is out of your control. That’s simply not true. We can all control ourselves. You might not entirely control how you feel in a certain situation, but you can absolutely control your reaction and response.
As you explore what’s behind your anger, you may surprise yourself. Anger often masks anxiety, shame, and vulnerability, or it can be something you learned as a child.
Be Aware of Your Triggers
While some frustrating situations are unavoidable in life, if you can start to identify your triggers, there are some you can stay away from.
When you know how anger physically feels as it’s building in your body, you can also be mindful of when you should take steps to manage your anger before it spirals into something that’s out-of-control.
Develop Your Own Cool-Down Methods
When you proactively identify what triggers you and how to be aware of the physical anger symptoms you feel, you can use your coping mechanisms.
Everyone’s coping mechanisms will be different and you may have to experiment to find what works for you.
For example, maybe physical activity is something that helps you. If you feel an anger-inducing situation approaching, maybe you take a quick, brisk walk, and then you can come back into the situation more calmly.
Maybe you use your senses. Some people will use one of their senses or multiple senses to get mindful and relieve stress.
You should also have a few questions you ask yourself.
First, think about how relevant your anger is in the grand scheme of your life. Is it worth being angry? Is it worth ruining your day? Is your response appropriate for the situation happening, and is there anything you can do about it otherwise?
Manage Your Stress
As has been touched on, anger is for many people actually a stress response. When you’re physically and mentally healthy and you’re adequately dealing with your stress, you’re more prepared to diffuse the anger you may feel.
Try taking steps to manage stress and be healthier overall, and see how it impacts your anger and your emotional responses.
Maybe, before you ever experience anger, you begin to share your feelings regularly with someone you trust. If you don’t want to talk to someone you know, consider a counselor or therapist.
Exercise regularly and get enough sleep.
Allow yourself time to work through your emotions and be mindful of what you’re feeling and why you feel it.
You may find when you’re evaluating what you are going through that a professional could help you tremendously, and there’s certainly no shame in that.
Anger management classes might help you, and this will provide you with a support system of people who share something similar to you. Therapy, which was mentioned above, can help you relieve stress, work through your feelings, and help you identify productive coping mechanisms.
Above all, don’t just learn to be patient with others. Be patient with yourself and think of dealing with your anger as a gradual process.
By Susan Melony