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Tips to quell anger when you feel it rising

From exercise and self-reflection to counting your breaths, we found some tips that might help with managing your anger.

Image: Shutterstock/Oleksandr Berezko

FEELING AGITATED, ANNOYED and angry? It can be difficult to bring yourself back when feelings of anger arise, but we thought we’d find advice that could help bring you to a calmer disposition.

From yoga to mindfulness and cognitive studies we have some tips that might help quell that angry feeling.

1. Acknowledge that you are angry

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Mindfulness teaches us to focus on the present moment – which includes acknowledging how we are feeling in that moment.

Often angry feelings can come out in a physical form – clenched jaws and muscles, stomach ache, rapid heart rate and feelings of shaking or trembling.

Denying the emotion isn’t going to make you feel any better or improve your physcial and mental well being.

Being aware of it through practices like mindfulness and meditation can help you take a step back and understand the reason why you are angry.

This might give you a different perspective to the situation and let you come to terms with it.

 

2. Get Active (but not in anger)

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According to the American Psychological Association (APA) regular exercise can help you decompress and burn off extra tension and reduce the stress that could be the cause for some anger.

Though a study suggests that particular kinds of physical venting – like punching a boxing bag while picturing your adversary’s face – will likely make you hold onto your angry feelings and not deliver the catharsis you might be expecting.

Stick to less emotional heated exercises. Some yoga exercises can ease you into different positions that relieve stress and quietens the mind.

Running, a brisk walk or even simple activities like mowing the lawn can also help.

 

3. Focused breathing

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Both psychologists and mediation practitioners focus on breath as a key to becoming calm. Practice taking slow controlled breath that you picture coming up from your belly rather than your chest.

From a meditation and mindfulness perspective, this shift of focus can let you explore the reasons for your anger and help you to overcome/accept its reality in a calm measured way.

It can give you the space you need to understand the situation without emotion dictating your choices.

Counting your breathes can also help to calm you down.

 

4. Laugh

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According to this study laughing releases “positive” hormones called cortisol and epinephrine that make humans feel better.

So next time you are in a situation that could make you angry, perhaps consider the funny side to it?

 

5. Keep an ‘anger’ diary

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Harry Mills, Ph.D and author of “The Anxiety Factor: The Role of Anxiety in Health and Performance” suggests writing down every time you feel angry and asking yourself questions about why you felt that way.

You can be as detailed as you like, giving the emotion a scoring system and even describing the way it physically made you feel.

This can assist with locating different anger triggers you might have and understanding where the feeling is coming from. It also can be informative in highlighting ways you might be getting angry for unjustified reason and to understand how to see situations and circumstances from a different point of view.

6. Don’t dwell – just let it go

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Going over the same incident that made you angry again and again is unproductive especially if it is a situation that is long in the past and has already been resolved.

Letting go is a healthy way to get passed this. A recommendation  is is to focus your attention on things you appreciate about the person or situation that made you feel angry.

 

7. Get creative

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According to the NHS being creative can release tension and reduce feelings of anger.

Making music, painting, dancing and writing are all things you can do to help you calm and reduce your level of anger.

 

8. Change your environment and take some time

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The APA suggests that sometimes your immediate surroundings can make you irritated and angry. Your responsibilities can make you feel trapped.

Taking a break from your environment and giving yourself some alone time can help you digest your thoughts and prepare yourself for what’s next.

Even if it is only 10-15 minutes, the impact of having personal time away from your normal surroundings can results in better mental health.

 

9. Change your attitude

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Did that bus come late just to annoy you? Is this situation you are angry about really that important?

Through a technique known as cognitive restructuring you can replace unhelpful thoughts and negative mindsets with more understanding and reasonable ones.

Using a bit of logical thinking also helps when you find yourselves in a situation that usually makes you angry.

10. Talk to someone

 

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Taking ownership of your feelings and letting someone know how you feel are perfectly healthy things to do.

Talk slowly and clearly and explain why you are angry. Making requests rather than demands or threats is important during this process so you don’t make the other people/person you might be showing your anger to feel like it is about them.

Seeking out a friend or professional help are also ways you can come to terms with your anger and understand it more.

Try these tips and see how they do in helping you calm down and be less angry in the new year.

Read: ’Anger management classes could help stem violence among young men’

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