Having a good anger management strategy is essential for maintaining a balanced life. Anger is a natural emotion and, of course, everyone experiences it from time to time. Still, when it gets out of control, it can have severe consequences for our physical and mental health and our relationships with others.

But first, it’s essential to recognize that anger is a normal and healthy emotion. However, when it’s not managed correctly, it can lead to adverse outcomes, such as increased stress levels, anxiety, and depression. It can also affect our ability to make rational decisions, communicate effectively, and maintain healthy relationships with others.

By developing an effective anger management strategy, we can learn to recognize our triggers, regulate our emotions, and respond to challenging situations more productively and positively. This managed response can help us to reduce our stress levels, improve our overall well-being, and cultivate healthier and more emotionally fulfilling relationships with those around us.

What Is Anger Management?

Anger management is discovering the things that cause your anger and strategizing to learn how to calm your emotions and release the negativity. It does not mean you should never feel angry; instead, it acknowledges it as a typical emotion and masters how to express and let it go.

Anger management is about learning how to deal with anger. Many of us have either experienced recurrent bouts of uncontrollable rage or known someone close to us who has. Tragically, the result of elevated, uncontrollable anger is too often emotionally and physically harmful. Many deaths at someone else’s hands have stemmed from “fits of rage” or something similar.

We all experience this surge of anger – to various degrees – occasionally. Perhaps it’s when someone cuts us off in traffic, a family member instigates conflict, or a co-worker refuses to work together amicably. The temptation to resort to anger is highly compelling in these and many other scenarios. Should a strong surge of anger arise, it’s best to accept its presence and handle it. This point brings us to the topic of this article: managing anger productively.

Let’s get down to it.

Here are five anger management techniques that’ll help keep you at peace:

anger management

1. Identify a possible anger management outlet

Rather than focusing on what made you angry, make a conscious effort to resolve the issue. Is your child’s erratic behavior making you upset? Find something that will keep them occupied. Is your friend or family member doing something that pushes your buttons? Calm down and have a constructive dialogue or set some definite boundaries.

Remain consciously aware of the fact that unchecked anger resolves nothing. Indeed, the result is often much worse. Breathe deeply, maintain some self-discipline, and think of a rational solution.

2. Forgive and (maybe) forget

Forgiveness is one of the most potent antidotes to resentment. Allowing anger and other negative thoughts and feelings to distort and disrupt daily life ultimately leads to nothing more than bitterness, anger, and pessimism.

If you can forgive someone who brought about feelings of anger, you’ll both learn a valuable lesson. For you, the ability to forgive will reemphasize the truth that nobody can determine your state of mind. For the offender, your tolerance may be enough to remind them of the importance of remaining true to their word.

Should such a person repeatedly betray your sense of compassion, it’s probably time to reconsider the relationship. Depending upon the frequency of mistrust and the nature of the offense(s), prioritizing forgiving rather than forgetting may be the best (and healthiest) solution.

3. Improve your listening skills

Honing your listening skills may seem irrelevant, but hear us out. When we’re active listeners, we instantly improve the communication between the other person and us. This builds trust, and this trust can help mitigate potentially hostile thoughts and emotions.

Demonstrating to another that you’re genuinely listening accomplishes three things: (1) it shows that you care, (2) it shows that the other person’s thoughts and emotions matter, and (3) it establishes or reinforces feelings of empathy. Sometimes, a person that’s all worked up needs to be understood. Active listening accomplishes this need for understanding and much more.

4. Practice relaxation for anger management

According to the American Psychological Association (APA), relaxation techniques, mindful meditation, and deep breathing exercises may help diffuse angry thoughts.

The APA provides some specific practices that may help:

  • Breathe deeply from the diaphragm, as “chest breathing” will not promote relaxation.
  • Repeat reassuring words, such as “take it easy,” “relax,” and “I’m in control” may help. It is recommended to practice deep breathing during this exercise.
  • Use imagery, visualize something that provokes relaxation – either from experience or imagination.
  • Nonstrenuous exercises (e.g., yoga, meditation, tai-chi) can assist with relaxing the muscles while promoting relaxation.

5. Cognitive restructuring

Angry people tend to swear, curse, or act erratically when confronted with a stressor. The problem here is obvious – such behavior fuels bitter notions and renders impossible any potential solution.

Cognitive restructuring involves nothing more than changing the way we think. This method is so effective, as it pertains to anger management, because thought processes are instantly dramatized and exaggerated when we’re angry.

Here’s a practical example. We’re waiting in line at our favorite coffee spot when the customer who is facing the cashier complains that their order is messed up. Understanding that resolving this problem will take time, a cynical monolog begins to surface in our minds. Instead of saying, “This sucks,” “I’m going to be late,” recognize the situation and rationally replace them with something like, “This situation is out of my control,” “I’ll remain calm, and they’ll eventually figure it out,” etc.

When we make a conscious attempt to rationalize such thoughts, a favorable outcome is much more likely.

6. Meditate daily

Meditation is focusing your mind and body into calmness and relaxation. It helps you increase your focus, deal with stress, and improves your general health. Those who practice meditation receive numerous health benefits, such as

  • Lower blood pressure
  • Diminished side effects of a chronic illness like cancer
  • Helps with IBS symptoms
  • Helps women going through menopause
  • May help you quit smoking
  • Some say it helps attention disorders
  • Lowers your anxiety

Studies also found that meditating daily decreases anger as well as reducing your concern about your anger. It’s a healthy anger management strategy to regain your peace and calm.

let go of negative feelings

7. Practice anger management with humor

It’s been said that laughter is good medicine. Researchers suggest this is true. They found that laughter and fun have psychological benefits.  Laughing changes your brain’s chemicals to relieve stress and help you better deal with pain. It’s essential to find ways to laugh. Laughing at situations that tend to make you angry or upset is a good way to diffuse a situation. Try to incorporate laughter into your life. Read funny books, watch a funny video or movie. Allow the excellent medicine of your laughter to relieve your stress and anger.

8. Find a resolution

Lashing out in anger is never a good idea. If you’re angry about a situation or mad at someone, allowing time to cool down before responding is crucial. Seek to resolve the situation in a calm, self-controlled way. Take a walk outside or go shoot baskets on the basketball court for ten to fifteen minutes. Take a deep breath, so your mind and body to return to a peaceful state.

Once you’ve calmed down, voice your concerns in a peaceful way. Use non-attacking language, don’t get defensive, but speak truthfully. Anger rarely solves problems. Keeping a few strategies in your pocket will be useful when you’re tempted to erupt into anger.

9. It’s okay to step away (at least for the moment)

Taking a break before you get angry is a healthy practice. Maturity is knowing yourself well enough that you can step back to gain control. Reacting in anger rarely solves a problem but often creates more problems. So commit to not give in to your anger, but to step away until you’re calm enough to talk with the person or to solve the situation in a quiet way.

Some therapies suggest deep breathing exercises or visualizing yourself in a relaxing place like a beach or the mountains to help you relax and let go of anger. It allows you to step away without actually going anywhere.

10. Work off the steam with exercise

Studies found that exercise can help with anger management. Aerobic exercise reduces anger in kids and adults and diminishes and protected them against the physical side effects of rage, like high blood pressure and cortisol overload.

Whether you jog a couple of miles a day or take classes at your local gym, getting aerobic exercise consistently is a great way to manage your anger and protect your health. Exercise releases endorphins that affect your brain. They trigger positive effects equivalent to that of morphine.

11. Choose your words wisely

We talk all day to our friends, family, and co-workers. We talk about the weather, the ups and downs of the stock market, or our recent purchases at the store. We’re naturally communicators, but sometimes we don’t think before speaking. We’re prone to vent when we get frustrated. Words can be uplifting or harmful.

Choosing your words wisely is a helpful anger management technique. This activity forces you to stop and think before you speak. It gives you a few minutes to reflect and choose your words correctly.

Anyone who has been hurt by something someone has said knows how important it is to choose your words carefully. It takes practice and self-control not to give in to your impulse to announce the first thing that comes to your mind. But as you develop this technique, you’ll not only lower your angry reactions, but people will value what you have to say more. Your words will have more weight without being harmful.

12. Choose an attitude of gratitude

Gratitude is being thankful or appreciative. The habit of being grateful, studies found, improves your feelings of well being and helps you better deal with stress. It also influences your health in these ways:

  • Lowers your blood pressure
  • Enables you to deal with fear and anger
  • Helps you deal with a chronic illness like cancer or HIV infection or diabetes
  • Fights depression

Many people create a gratitude journal to record their gratitude. List things you’re thankful for every day. You may feel grateful to have finished a project at work or thankful you had a chat with a friend.

Thankfulness has no size limits, both big and small things matter. Over time, you’ll find yourself looking for things you’re grateful for as you practice daily gratitude. Plus, a journal is a great way to remember all the many ways you are blessed. Counting your blessings is a great way to fight anger and regain peace.

gratitude meme

13. Identify the positives

Are you a “glass is half empty, or glass is half full” kind of person? Depending on how your view life helps you deal with anger and stress. Staying positive can affect your health and your mind. Studies show that those who are more positive in their outlook are more resilient when experiencing difficulties in their life.

They’re also more creative and apt to find solutions to problems. Look for the positives in your life. Choose to see situations as not as bad as they could be. Step back and see something good, even amid a chaotic situation. There’s always a silver lining hidden in the dark clouds.  Putting your situation in perspective can keep you from getting anxious or angry.

It’s also helpful to choose to acknowledge what you can control and what you can’t control. This can help you let go instead of giving in to anger.

14. Recite a calming mantra or prayer

Prayer or a calming mantra helps reduce stress and anger. One study found that these two increased hope and reduced anxiousness in patients who had heart problems. Focusing on your issues and onto something outside yourself calms your heart and mind. It gives you peace. Whether you pray or chant, find time every day to practice this habit. Find a quiet area outside or in a private corner at home to do this.

Add some pictures of nature, plants, or a small water fountain to add to the calm atmosphere, so it’s easier to pray or chant. Turn off your phone and computer. Make a conscious decision to set aside the time every day for prayer or mantra. It can change your life.

15. Identify the triggers that make you angry (and avoid them!)

Everyone has different things in their life that triggers anger. It can be big or small, but you know yourself well enough to know what makes you upset.

You may find it irritating when people don’t answer their emails promptly or when someone leaves their stuff all over the place. Whatever triggers your irritation and anger, find ways to avoid them. You can’t stop people from not doing the stuff they do or don’t do, but you can choose your response. Look for creative solutions to help you avoid triggers.

Maybe you only look at your emails once an hour or ask someone else to be the “bad guy” that forces people to answer your emails. By removing yourself from the situation, you create a way to avoid getting angry but still solve the problem.

anger management
Final Thoughts on Mastering Anger Management

Anger is something familiar to us all. Learning how to manage your rage takes strategy and self-control practices. Positive things like exercise, prayer, and laughing help stave off your anger. Writing down what you’re grateful for or stepping away when tempted to be angry is also simple but effective practice. Whatever you choose to do, stay with it for several weeks. Don’t try to implement all the suggestions at once. Pick one or two at first. You’ll be surprised how you handle things differently by instituting a few changes. Little changes often produce significant results. So don’t give up, hang in there and find the best ways for you.

More importantly, when we practice the techniques described above, we invite peace and contentment instead of anger and other negative states of mind.