Anger is an emotion that all of us will feel now and then. However, for some of us, it can be extremely difficult to control this emotion and it can sometimes turn into rage and destructiveness. This is why it is very important to learn how to control and calm down your anger. By practising the ways mentioned in this article, you can slowly teach yourself more patience and peace to help you better deal with your emotions and make clear-headed decisions.
“If you are patient in one moment of anger, you will escape a hundred days of sorrow” .― Chinese Proverb
1. Count to 10
Every time you can feel yourself slipping into your anger, take a step back, close your eyes and count to 10. By removing yourself mentally from the situation and giving yourself a different task that requires your focus, you’re essentially rerouting your energy into something other than fueling your anger.
You can count to 20 or 50 if you don’t feel completely in control by the time the count is over. Just keep counting slowly until you can feel yourself being back in control.
2. Focus on your breathing
Another great way to calm down when you’re feeling angry is to focus on your breathing. Try and remove yourself from the situation that is triggering your anger and go somewhere quiet to focus on your breathing. Put all your attention into observing yourself inhaling and exhaling.
If you have enough time to do a proper meditation session that is an amazing way not to just calm down but also to recentre your thoughts and clear your mind.
If you want to know more about meditation have a read of our article on how to meditate properly.
3. Remove yourself from the situation
If your source of anger is a certain situation or a confrontation with someone else, the best way to be back in control is to remove yourself from the situation. It is important to leave when you feel yourself starting to get really mad to avoid doing something you’ll regret.
By being away from the situation triggering your anger, you’ll be able to think more clearly and have a clear head to make the right decision going forward.
4. Ask yourself “What is the worst that can happen if I choose to ignore this”
Maybe you’re getting angry because someone said something nasty to you. Or perhaps someone you live with made a giant mess or broke your favourite mug.
The first thing to do is recognise that the deed has already been done. However you choose to react, does not change the event that already happened. But your reaction can and will affect the future. Then, ask yourself “What is the worst that will happen now.” Is the event that happened really the end of the world?
You cannot change what happened. No amount of anger and rage will fix what is broken. If someone has wronged you, there are more effective ways to deal with the situation and also set your boundary without letting your anger take control of you. Allowing yourself to act on anger will not only hurt the ones around you but you will also hurt yourself.
“Anger is an acid that can do more harm to the vessel in which it is stored than to anything on which it is poured.”― Mark Twain
5. Ask yourself whether this will matter in 5 years
Will it? Will the event that happened have any kind of hold on you in 5 years? Does it determine the rest of your life? If not, then chances are, it is not worth being self-destructive. Sometimes you can put things into perspective by taking a step back and reevaluating the entire situation in front of you.
See the bigger picture and realize that this small blip in your world is not worth setting the whole thing on fire.
6. Use a stress ball
A stress ball is a small squeezing toy that you can hold in your hand to help you relieve stress and anxiety. Every time you feel angry and start feeling high levels of anxiety and lack of control, just take out your stress ball and focus your energy on squeezing and fiddling with it.
7. Go for a run or workout
A great way to help you relieve some of your anger is by focusing your energy on physical exercise. When you’re angry you get pumped with a lot of adrenaline, so instead of letting that adrenaline take the reins and self destruct, take advantage and invest that energy into having a great workout.
You can go for a run or hit the gym. Try to do something more cardio-based to really help you use as much energy as possible. You’ll be pleasantly surprised by how great of a workout you have at the end of the day. Looks like something good can come from anger after all.
8. Scream into a pillow
Sometimes all we need is to just let it out. And let it out vocally. So grab the nearest pillow and scream into it until your throat feels sore if that’s what you need. While dealing with anger by trying to revert it into calmness is a great skill to have, letting yourself relieve that energy through alternative means is also a healthy way. Just do whatever works for you!
9. Journal your feelings
“I sat with my anger long enough, until she told me her name was grief”― Isaac Rowe
If we better understand our anger, we can better decide how to move forward and do something that actually solves the problem. Journaling is a great way to organise your thoughts. By writing down how you feel, you might discover the source of why you’re feeling the way you’re feeling. This will inevitably help you understand your feelings better and thus control them better.
10. Vent to someone
Sometimes we just need to vent out our frustrations and have someone hear us. A lot of anger can come from a place of not feeling heard or not having the way you feel be validated. So choose someone you trust and who understands you and vent to them about what is making you angry.
Remember, don’t just go around venting to everyone. A lot of the time, in our moments we say things out of anger that isn’t necessarily true and we don’t necessarily mean. As explosive as anger can be, it is, in the end, a time when you are vulnerable. And that is why it is important to vent to someone who understands that.
11. Focus on your surroundings
Another great way to engage your mind into something other than your anger is to redirect to your surroundings. Go for a walk and observe the things around you. Maybe you can sit in your room or go to the mall. The key is to simply observe your surroundings. What can you see? What can you smell? Do you hear anything?
To make it more fun you can play a game where you go through all the colours of the rainbow and try to find 10 things in your surroundings of each colour. This will help you focus and redirect until you’re calm enough to go back to whatever situation made you angry.
12. Close your eyes and sit in silence
You don’t have to worry about going somewhere quiet to do this. In fact, somewhere with noise is okay. Simply sit down, close your eyes and in silence, listen to your surroundings. What do you hear? What are the small faint noises that you can pick up on or the loud ones? By doing this you’re essentially giving your brain the task of focusing on something around you without the use of your sight. This means your brain has to work extra hard with your sense of hearing to gather information about your surroundings.
The busier your brain is with doing that, the less your brain will focus on fueling your anger.
13. Blow off some steam
Sometimes all we need to do is blow off some steam. Whether you want to take up boxing/any kind of fighting sport or just punch the pillow in your room, it can be healthy to give yourself this release. Just yourself boundaries and remind yourself that you will not descend into violence and this is rather a physically strenuous way for you to blow off some steam.
And that’s it for 13 ways on how to control your anger. If you find yourself still struggling with anger management or notice violent and destructive behaviours when you’re angry, please try to see a professional in the mental health field to assist you with more personalized help.