“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.”
This famous quote by Mark Twain clearly highlights how anger can cause damage in your life.
Anger is a normal, healthy emotion. It’s not always negative, as it can help you know when you’ve been hurt or when a situation needs to change.
However, if you find it difficult to keep your anger under control, it can take a toll on your personal and professional life.
Keeping your temper in check can be challenging. But using simple anger management tips and little changes here and there can help you stay in control.
Here are the top 10 ways to tame your anger.
1. Use Mindfulness Meditation
During an episode of anger, you can practice mindfulness meditation, an age-old relaxation technique to calm your mind and body.
To practice mindfulness meditation, sit comfortably and focus on your breathing in a way that your mind’s attention comes to the present. This needs to be done without letting your mind drift to concerns about the past or future.
A 2015 study published in Frontiers in Psychology reports that by practicing mindfulness, individuals can learn to maintain a relaxed mind and can experience a significant reduction of anger (trait) levels, internal expression of anger, state anxiety and depression.
2. Practice Deep Breathing
By practicing controlled breathing, you can help soothe feelings of anger. Deep, controlled breathing slows your heart rate, stabilizes your blood pressure and relaxes your body.
This relaxation technique only takes a few minutes, doesn’t require special equipment and can be used anytime when you are angry or stressed. Deep breathing will effectively calm you down and help you think more clearly.
- Lie down and make yourself comfortable. Loosen any tight or uncomfortable clothing.
- Place your hand on your abdomen.
- Inhale slowly through your nose and try to keep your abdomen relaxed as you inhale.
- Hold this breath for a few seconds.
- Breathe out slowly through your mouth.
- Repeat this process until you feel that you’ve regained control over your anger.
3. Try Progressive Muscle Relaxation
Progressive muscle relaxation is another helpful technique to control your anger. In this relaxation technique, you focus on tensing and relaxing particular muscle groups in your body. This in turn distracts you from your feelings of anger.
Also, it reduces anxiety and tension, which can help alleviate angry feelings. Moreover, it helps you enjoy sound sleep when your thoughts are racing out of control.
- Sit in a quiet place and make yourself comfortable.
- Focus on a particular muscle group.
- While inhaling deeply and slowly, squeeze the muscle group as hard as you can.
- Maintain that tension for 5 seconds.
- Exhale and quickly release the tension in the muscle group.
- Relax for about 15 seconds.
- Then, move on to another muscle group.
- Continue until you feel relaxed.
4. Use a Stress Ball
A stress ball can help you deal with an immediate episode of anger. As a stress ball prompts you to squeeze and release a group of muscles, it can give you some of the benefits of progressive muscle relaxation more immediately.
After repeatedly squeezing the stress ball, your hand and arm will begin to ache and signal your brain to releases endorphins. This is a chemical that the body uses to relieve stress.
Also, a stress ball keeps you distracted from what you were originally upset about.
The next time you find yourself getting angry, just sit down and squeeze a stress ball while taking deep breaths to relieve your anger and stress faster.
5. Count to 10
This is an age-old trick that gives you time to cool down, so you can think more clearly and overcome the impulse to lash out at others when you are angry.
When angry, count to 10 or more before you speak. This simple method works because it emphasizes the two key elements of anger management – time and distraction.
A 2015 study published in the Journal of Applied Social Psychology found that the count-to-10 method can help reduce aggression, but only in certain circumstances.
6. Take a Walk
When you’re feeling angry, some mild exercise like walking can help a lot. Experts recommend taking a walk immediately after an upsetting experience to help you manage your anger.
When you go for a walk, your body releases endorphins; the natural “feel-good” chemicals that make you feel more positive and happy.
Also, walking distracts your mind, which helps dampen the extremity of your emotional reaction.
Whenever you feel your anger escalating, go for a brisk walk. Along with walking, some other forms of exercise that can help control your anger include running, jogging, cycling, swimming and dancing.