Anger control strategies

Anger control strategies

We all know what anger is, because we have all felt it once: either as a fleeting emotion or as a complete state of rage.

Anger is a emotion completely normal, generally healthy and above all, human. But when it escapes our control and becomes destructive, it can lead to serious problems at work, in our personal relationships, and in our quality of life in general. Logically, this can make us feel as if we are at the mercy of an unpredictable and also powerful force.


  • 1 What is anger?
  • 2 The expression of anger
  • 3 Strategies for anger control

What is anger?

Anger is an emotional state that varies in intensity from mild irritation, to fury and intense rage. To the Like other emotions, it is accompanied by physiological and biological changes. When we get angry, our heart rate and blood pressure go up, as do our hormonal levels such as adrenaline and norepinephrine.

Anger can be caused by both external and internal events. We may be angry with a specific person (such as a co-worker or a supervisor) or because of a situation (a traffic jam, a canceled flight), but our anger can also be caused by concerns about our personal problems. Memories of traumatic events can also trigger feelings of anger at any time.

The expression of anger

The instinctive and natural way of expressing anger is responding aggressively. Anger is a natural and adaptive response to external threats, we are inspired by powerful and often aggressive feelings and behaviors that allow us to fight and defend ourselves when we are attacked. A certain amount of anger, therefore, is necessary for our survival.

On the other hand, we cannot physically attack each person or object that irritates or bothers us, laws, social norms and common sense impose limits on us so that community life is possible.

People use a wide variety of conscious and unconscious processes to deal with our feelings of anger. Expressing our anger in an assertive and non-aggressive way is the healthiest way to express anger. To achieve this, we must learn to clarify what our needs are and how to solve them without hurting other people. Being assertive does not mean being aggressive or demanding, it means being respectful towards oneself and others.

Anger can be suppressed and then converted or redirected. This happens when we stop thinking about it and focus on that positive. The objective is inhibit or suppress anger and turn it into a more constructive behavior. The danger in this type of response is that if we do not allow ourselves to be externally expressed, our anger can turn inwards, towards ourselves. This internalized and unmanaged anger can cause hypertension, anxiety or even depression.

On the other hand, anger without control can create other problems. It can lead to pathological expressions of anger, such as passive-aggressive behavior, or a permanently cynical and hostile behavior. People who are constantly putting others against them, criticizing everything and making cynical comments, have not learned to constructively express their anger. Not surprisingly, they don't usually have many successful relationships.

Finally, we can calm down inside. This means not only controlling our external behavior, but also controlling our internal responses, taking steps to lower the heart rate, calming down and letting the feelings of anger diminish.

Anger control strategies


The simple ones tools of relaxation, such as deep breathing and relaxing images, can help calm feelings of anger.

You can try these simple steps:

Breathe deeply, from your diaphragm. Breathing alone will not relax you, so imagine that your breath rises from your abdomen and goes through each exhale. Repeat slowly a calming word or phrase, such as "relax" or "take it easy." Keep repeating it while breathing deeply. Use images Visualize a relaxing experience of your memory or your imagination. Try to do some kind of non-strenuous and slow exercises. Yoga and similar activities can relax your muscles and calm you.

Practice these techniques daily. Eventually, you can use them automatically when you are in a stressful situation.

Cognitive restructuring

Cognitive restructuring is based on changing the way we think. When we are angry, our thinking can be overly dramatic. When something goes wrong, we can say to ourselves, "Everything is ruined!", "This is terrible!" With cognitive restructuring, we replace these very catastrophic thoughts with more reasonable ones. Instead, we could say: "This is frustrating, but it is not the end of the world."

Avoid saying words like "never" or "always" when talking to yourself or others. Expressions like "This never works" or "You are always forgetting things" make you feel that your anger is justified and there is no way to solve the problem. Such statements also alienate and humiliate the people you talk to, who would otherwise be willing to find a solution with you. Focus on the objectives.


Imagine you have a friend who is constantly late when you stay. Do not go to the attack. Instead, think about what you want to achieve. Indicate without verbal aggressiveness what the problem is and then try to find a solution that works for both. If that doesn't work, look for another alternative. You can tell your friend that you have stayed half an hour before you plan to arrive, so that he or she arrives when you do. This may be the way the problem is solved without damaging friendship. Use the logic.

Even when justified, anger can quickly become irrational.. Remember that the world is not for you to always get everything you want, and it is normal to experience failure and frustration.

People who get angry easily tend to demand things, be it justice, appreciation, love, recognition or simply doing things their own way. We all feel hurt, disappointed and frustrated when we don't get what we want., but not the vast majority do not allow disappointment to turn into anger. Some people use anger as a way to avoid feeling hurt, but that doesn't make the pain go away. We must learn to change our demands for requests, and our "should" for "I would like to". Saying that I would like something is healthier than saying that I should have something.

Find the origin of your anger

Sometimes anger and frustration are the result of very real and inescapable problems in our lives. Anger can be a healthy and natural response to these difficulties. Some people have a cultural belief that every problem has a solution.. That belief increases our frustration when we discover that this is not always true. If for whatever reason we cannot find a solution, we must focus on how to handle and face the problem.

Draw a plan and check your progress along the way, using a guide to organize or manage time if necessary. Do your best, but don't punish yourself if you don't find an answer right away.

Improve communication

Angry people tend to look for solutions, no matter how crazy they may be. If you find yourself in a heated discussion, lower the pace and expectations a bit. Listen carefully to what the other person is saying. And take your time before answering. Instead of saying the first thing that comes to mind, think carefully about what you want to say.


Try to recognize what's behind your anger. Let's say you value your freedom, but your partner wants more closeness. If he or she begins to complain, do not imagine your partner as a jailer.

It is natural to get defensive when criticized, but don't fight over unnecessary issues. Instead, listen to what is under the words. Maybe the real message is that your partner feels careless and unloved. You can, try to talk about your feelings in a calm way, without allowing anger to lose you control.

Use humor

Humor is a powerful tool that can help turn off anger in different ways.

On the one hand, it can offer you a more balanced and less tense perspective. When you find yourself thinking about a coworker in a negative way, imagine how it would look like it was an amoeba sitting at a desk and talking on the phone. Or draw a funny picture. Doing so will help you lower your level of anger and help you deactivate a tense situation.

Humor can also help when you find yourself being unreasonable. If you are thinking that things are not going as you would wish and that this is unfair and unbearable, that you should not have to tolerate it, imagine yourself as a god or goddess who always gets your way while others cling to you. The more detail you add, the more you will realize how unreasonable you are and how unimportant things are that you are angry about.

But beware, there are two things with which you should be cautious in the use of humor. First, don't try to "laugh" at the problems of others. Just use humor to help you face them more constructively. Secondly, Don't use sarcastic humor to attack the other. This humor is just another form of aggression.

What these techniques have in common is a refusal to take problems too seriously.

Changes of winds

It is often their immediate circumstances that cause feelings of anger and anger. Problems and responsibilities can weigh on you, make you angry and fall into the trap of uncontrol.

If, for example, traffic makes you furious, research suggests that you are putting yourself and others at risk while driving. Angry drivers are more aggressive, relaxed people suffer more accidents. If your trip is making you furious and frustrated, maybe you should look for a less congested or more scenic route. Or investigate alternative options, such as taking a bus or train. Finding alternatives can relieve your anger, making the road safer for everyone.


Take a break. Be sure to schedule some personal time during especially stressful parts of the day. You can get as a rule that the first 15 minutes after returning home from work will be a time of silence, for example. With this brief respite, you will feel better prepared to handle the demands of your children at home.

If you and your partner usually fight at night, maybe it's because you're tired, distracted, or just used to fighting at that time. Try to change the time of day when you talk about important issues, so that those talks do not become fighting arguments. Avoid these situations as much as you can. If you get angry when you see your son's room untidy, close the door. Do not look at what enrages you. Keep calm and talk to your child at another time.


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