Anger is a normal emotion. It can even be healthy, but many people see it negatively. Consider that anger rallies people. The civil rights movement was fueled by anger that motivated Americans to rebel against injustices. Teachers go on strike out of anger over low wages. When someone or something is being mistreated, getting angry incites you to create change.
Anger can be good or bad. Bad anger is when you use the emotion to hurt another person. It might be that the person deserves it. If you see someone kick your dog, you probably feel the urge to kick them back, but answering violence with violence isn’t a good idea. Typically, it only escalates the situation. That doesn’t mean you just walk away. Repressed anger only causes you to eventually boil over, much like a pressure cooker.
Dealing with anger positively is better for your health and well-being. The Mayo Clinic gives this advice for managing your anger.
Take a few moments before speaking. Everyone has said things they regret in the heat of the moment. Don’t call people names or bully them when you’re angry. Maybe they do deserve it, but it won’t help anything in the long run. Count to 10, or 20 or even 50.
Try to calm down before expressing anger. You can express your frustration assertively and directly without hurting others. Take some time to relax and reduce your stress before dealing with the problem. Dim the lights. Get to a quiet setting. Meditate.
Identify solutions. Understand what made you mad but focus on trying to resolve the matter instead of casting blame or shame. Criticizing the other person only makes them defensive.
Use “I” statements. “I’m feel like you don’t help around the house,” is a better way to address the problem than saying “you don’t do anything.” The first statement opens a dialogue where you can find a solution. The second statement only makes the person feel as if they need to defend their actions.
Practice relaxation. Anger is a powerful emotion that can make you feel like you’re raging. To combat those feelings, practice deep-breathing exercises or meditation to help you calm down. Write in a journal or do artwork. When anger makes you feel out of control, it’s really only hurting you.
Don’t hold a grudge. There are times when you may need to forgive someone who angered you. You may not even get an apology. Letting your anger go prevents you from getting bitter. Sometimes, you have to choose your battles. Learn from the situation and go on.
- Get professional help. When it seems hard to control your anger, it might be time to get help from a professional. If your anger causes you to do things you regret or it hurts those around you, therapy can help you find better ways to cope.
Be Slow to Anger
When you do get mad, make sure of the facts before you get angry. Don’t make assumptions about the other person’s intentions. Ask questions and understand why you feel angry. Know the limits of what you can actually do. You can’t change what happened or how the other person acts. You can only change your own behavior. Don’t blame and don’t be sarcastic. Take accountability for your own actions. Do you want reconciliation or hurt feelings?
Resolve Your Anger
There’s a reason that the Bible says, “Don’t let the sun go down on your anger” (Ephesians 4:26). Anger disrupts your sleep and can cause insomnia. When you’re not well-rested, you’ll wake up the next day and feel irritated. Your anger multiples. Maybe you can’t resolve the problem entirely in one day, but you can try to relax and put the issue aside until it can be resolved.