Practical Anger Management Strategies to Help One Calm Down
Anger is a natural human emotion that has a spectrum i.e. low-intensity anger is called annoyance whereas the higher intensity of anger is rage. Anger management is necessary so that the emotion does not channelize into aggression which is destructive in all ways. According to the Cambridge dictionary, anger is a powerful emotion that motivates an individual to harm a person due to unjust treatment. Moving on to anger management, it is about using healthy strategies to calm the nervous system and the mind.
Anger vs Aggression
In order to use adaptive strategies effectively, it is essential to know the difference between anger and aggression.
Put simply, anger is an emotion whereas, aggression is a behavior e.g. hitting, yelling, biting, and even socially excluding someone is a form of aggression.
According to Mark Twain, “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.”
Importance of Anger Management
It is necessary to manage anger as mismanaged anger can disrupt daily functioning, damage relationships, and lower an individual’s confidence. Furthermore, It badly impacts judgment and decision-making ability. Looking at a workplace setting, it is obvious that an employee needs his best judgment and decision-making skills. If individuals are not able to regulate their anger, they won’t be able to make sound decisions. Moving on towards a home setting, a person needs their physical, emotional, and mental health to be present for their loved ones. In view of all of this, the importance of anger management cannot be ignored.
Therapeutic Intervention for Anger Management
There are some signs that signal the need for professional help, for instance
- Frequent violation of laws,
- Bottling up of anger,
- Continuous argumentation
- Physical assaults at children or spouse,
Moving along, there are cases where anger issues can have deep underlying issues. For example, substance abuse disorder, mood disorder, personality disorders like schizotypal and borderline, and psychotic disorders. Getting professional assistance can significantly help with emotional disturbances. Depending upon the issue and its intensity, a therapist can suggest group therapy or individual consultations. A client can learn to:
- Recognize their triggers,
- Regulate biased beliefs,
- Learn management techniques to calm down,
- Get assertiveness training
An important goal in therapy is to help clients learn the difference between emotional intensities and respond accordingly, for instance, irritation and wrath.
The Practical Anger Management Strategies
Progressive Muscle Relaxation Technique (PMR)
PMR is about contracting and relaxing a muscle group with the purpose to minimize stress and aggression effectively. Usually, a muscle is squeezed for 10 seconds and then loosened up slowly. There are two directions in which a person can practice this exercise i.e. from top to bottom or bottom to up. Many types of research have documented its benefits and positive results. For example, alleviating pain, enhancing sleep quality, and reducing stress.
Light Physical Activity
Low-level physical activity can include anything e.g. a brisk walk down the neighborhood, indoor games like billiard, and scrabble, organization of groceries at home, house chores like ironing, mopping the floor, cooking, and dusting. By performing these activities, all the energy from anger is being utilized. In other words, these are healthy ways to manage anger.
After some practice, the visualization technique starts giving positive results. The person should change their environment to exercise before application and imagine different expressions of their anger (something harmless to others).
For example, after some deep breathing, an angry individual can visualize chopping woods in their backyard or they can imagine disrupting the organized clothes in their closet. For anger to subside, they need to imagine that they are getting tired from all the activity which means their anger is reducing.
There are a multitude of meditation techniques that can help with minimizing anger. For example, loving-kindness meditation practice, mindfulness meditation, guided meditation, tai chi, and transcendental meditative practice. Coming towards yoga, there is a type of it called QiGong that shows positive results for anger management. Finally, recent research shows improvement in anger intensity through meditation techniques even in beginners.
It is common in Chinese culture and uses simple body movements and breathing routines to enhance healing. Two important distinctions from yoga are that, unlike Qi Gong, yoga requires increased body balance and stretching. In addition to it, Indian culture is the origin of yoga practices.
Reframing the Belief System
When people are seriously angry, they get a tunnel vision that limits their ability to see other explanations for triggering events. So, it is useful to remove the self from that high-stress situation. After that, an individual can use any of the techniques mentioned above but they are not enough because thought management needs to be done. This strategy is mentioned in the end because in high emotional states working on thoughts is difficult. After relaxation, one should write down their thoughts during the angry episode. People will find that they were exaggerating the situation, or engaging in mind reading. The antidote is to keep an open mind and practice looking at triggering situations from different perspectives.
In final words, anger is a healthy human emotion and it cannot be categorized as good or bad. Every human emotion is important as they are a part of an individual’s experience, and the same importance applies to anger. The problem arises when anger turns into aggression and starts hurting the self or the people around the individual. This is where the above-mentioned practical techniques will help in managing it properly.