There are many reactions to stressful situations. The classic fight, flight, or freeze responses come with our strategies to cope with anger. When we are triggered into a fight response, we can experience some pretty intense anger. This can lead to maladaptive behavior and hostile thinking patterns. Over time, anger can lead to physical health problems. To prevent that, we have to learn to manage our anger in healthy ways. The following are some coping strategies to manage anger when you are experiencing increased stress.
Identifying What Is Causing Your Anger
It is nearly impossible to fully cope with your anger if you don’t know what is causing it. Take a minute to check in with yourself. What is causing your anger? Is it something specific? If you can remove yourself from the cause, do that. There is no shame in walking away from an upsetting situation. By walking away, you are showing yourself and others that you care about how you feel.
Once you have identified what is causing your anger, there are several steps you can take to calm yourself down:
- Walk away from what is upsetting you. It’s not about being the bigger person, it is about taking care of yourself.
- Talk out your anger with a friend. Simply expressing how you feel can help you calm down.
- Remind yourself that anger is temporary. No matter what you feel in the moment, the anger will pass.
Take Deeps Breaths
As cliché as it sounds, deep breathing exercises are proven to help calm anxiety and anger. Deep breathing exercises slow heart rate and lower blood pressure, which calms the body physically. When you become angry, adrenaline rushes through your body, triggering your fight-or-flight response. Deep breathing counteracts this by allowing your muscles to relax and lowering the amount of adrenaline your body creates.
Try counting your breath. Inhale for three to five seconds and then exhale for three to five seconds. Close your eyes and focus on your breathing. Try grounding yourself where you are while you breathe. Feel the air on your skin. Wiggle your fingers and toes. Feel your feet touching the ground. While grounding yourself and taking deep breaths, you are actively slowing the body functions that trigger your fight response and your anger.
Write Down Your Experiences in a Journal
It is common for someone to say that journaling isn’t for them, which may very well be true. However, when you experience anger, it can be hard to think logically in the moment. If you can get yourself in the habit of writing down how you felt, you can easily find your triggers and how they affect you. Not only that, but it gives you a way to vent.
Often we feel shame or embarrassment when we experience extreme anger. We try to keep that side of us to ourselves, hiding it from those who we need support from. Writing in a journal can make you feel a little bit less alone. It can get you in the habit of feeling your emotions, and it can open you up to the idea of sharing them with a friend someday.
If you have never journaled before, follow these tips:
- Find a book you will want to write in: It doesn’t need to be fancy, but it should be something you like to look at.
- Try to journal at the same time every day: Like brushing your teeth or taking vitamins, you should get in the habit of doing it every day.
- Don’t focus on making it look pretty or perfect: The journal entries you see in TV shows and movies aren’t realistic representations of what journals typically look like.
- Tell the truth: Your journal is private, so lying in it means you are lying to yourself.
- Look back at your entries often: This helps you recognize personal growth as you move through your life. It also helps you remember events that impacted you.
Try Anger Management or Therapy
Along with journaling, deep breathing, identifying your triggers, and more, you should try to find a therapist or support group. Talking with someone specializing in anger management can help you identify, accept, and manage your anger. Being able to relate to people who experience similar feelings can help you feel less alone. Anger is your body’s natural response to feeling threatened or unsafe, and it is nothing to be ashamed of or hide from.
Allowing yourself to open up to someone can be really scary, but so can your anger. Learning how to cope with your anger is very important for your mental and physical health. In stressful situations, it can be hard to control your anger. Knowing that you have someone in your corner can make all the difference.
With Mindfuli, you can find a therapist who can help you identify your triggers. A therapist can help you find coping mechanisms and strategies to manage your anger. You are not your anger, and you don’t have to let anger control you. Anger is often a response to another underlying emotion, and a therapist can help you explore that. You shouldn’t feel the need to hide your anger. It is time for you to take control. Mindfuli can help you overcome your anger in a healthy and safe environment. You deserve the chance to take control of your anger and your life. To learn more about Mindfuli, call us at (866) 973-4415.