Managing Anger that is Out of Control

by | Jan 25, 2022 | Education

Anger is an emotion that can feel overwhelming. For some of those, it can feel scary to experience anger. For some, anger may be the only emotion that they know how to use when they are hurt. When we fear the emotion, anger can feel like it is bursting out of control even more. Anger is not a bad emotion but when we let the emotion take control of us, it can become intensified and amplified quickly. When this does happen, we need to find ways to manage those emotions and try to not let it control us. 

Here are some ways that we can manage anger that feel out of control: 

Using Relaxation Technique

When we become angry, our body can tense up. These include holding our fist together, clenching our teeth, or even our heart rate increasing very rapidly. When anger distorts our nervous system, relation technique can help us bring out our calming selves. Relaxation techniques can come in many different forms. Some of the common relaxation techniques are deep belly breathing and progressive muscle relaxation techniques. For deep breathing, it is important to feel the lungs fill up with air and exhale deeply with your mouth open. For progressive muscle relaxation, it also gives us not just an opportunity to relax but also a grounding technique that refocuses attention to the muscle and the body. Relaxation techniques can calm our nervous system down and help manage our anger.  

Changing the Surroundings 

Sometimes the surrounding situation can cause the anger to build up and blow up. Perhaps, there are too many people around you or maybe that you find the place you are located very triggering. When you notice and recognize that the environment may be causing your anger to amplify, try to schedule some quiet time for yourself or perhaps remove yourself from the citation and step away. Whenever you feel ready, you can try to see how long it took to feel calmer and ready to speak with the people around you. From that, you could always schedule a scheduled time in the future and communicate to others when you will be ready to speak.

Finding Better Ways to Communicate 

Once you feel and recognize that you’re feeling more calm, use communication skills to be assertive and not aggressive. Simple steps can start from using “I” statements rather than using “you” statements. For example, instead of saying “you made me angry”. It can simply start from “I am feeling upset because of not feeling heard”. Avoid assuming and making assumptions about the situation and state your feelings. You can also practice and rehearse what you would like to say to the other person. 

Cognitive Restructuring 

Cognitive restructuring is a way to change our ways of thinking. For example, when we feel angry, it is important to identify the situation. Once you identify the situation you will need to recognize what thoughts are coming up. Once these steps are gone through, you can then start to look for evidence of how “true” that thought is. Some of these thoughts could be cognitively distorted. What that means is that your brain may have been thinking in a habitual way that could be inaccurate and negatively biased. Cognitive distortion can take many different forms including, maximizing, labeling, jumping to conclusions, overgeneralizing, disqualifying the positives, etc. In the situation you notice anger coming up, you can also try to name the cognitive distortions that are happening. Once you found out the evidence that supports the thought, you can then now think of evidence that does not support your thought system. Next, individuals can think of alternative balanced ways of thinking that will help the outcome to feel more calmer. As a result, the anger can feel more managed. 

Recognize and Name the Triggers 

When you are ready to explore the anger, it can be important to name the triggers. These could be certain people, certain places, even certain things. Also to be aware of how tired you may be, stressed you are, or even how much sleep you have gotten the last couple days. Other things that can be triggering is if we have eaten properly or not. For some people, substances can also be a trigger to anger as well. It is important to look into anger when we feel ready and peel the onion layers. It can feel vulnerable but with the support, it can feel safe to explore and open up to the vulnerabilities. 

What is important to know is that anger is scary and can feel overwhelming. However, anger is a primary emotion that is an emotion that we feel often and regularly. When we don’t get our ways, when we feel hurt, maybe we are ever feeling lonely. Everyone can feel the anger differently and at different times. When we investigate with curiosity and care, we can start to notice and recognize that anger is part of understanding our own needs and who we are. 

More from Azi Counselling

Why is it so hard to change a habit?

We've all been there—the desire to change a habit that no longer serves us, whether it's biting our nails, procrastinating, or indulging in unhealthy snacks. Despite our best intentions, however, breaking bad habits can feel like an uphill battle. But why is it so...

…Oh, the shame.

I recently had a client interaction at my in-person practice that really impacted me. A mother and her toddler had been through quite a serious traumatic event together, and I was helping them navigate her toddler’s dysregulation in the aftermath of this event (and...