Anger is a normal feeling that everyone experiences from time to time. Sometimes it\’s even a good thing, inspiring us to fight for justice or make changes to our lives. Anger often results when you perceive:

– you\’re being treated disrespectfully,

– your way of life is being threatened,

– you\’re being treated unfairly, or

– someone is being deliberately hostile to provoke you.

If you encounter these situations, get angry and return to your equilibrium reasonably soon, then you probably don\’t have an issue with anger.

The problem with anger comes when your response is inappropriate. For some people, the anger itself is more of a problem than the issue that incited the anger in the first place. Those people are too easily triggered to react angrily so they suppress the anger. The trouble with that is it erupts eventually, sometimes in very detrimental ways. Anger can surface years after the incident that caused it, and sometimes anger stays locked within us on a constant basis because it wasn\’t addressed properly to begin with.

When you have anger inside you on a long-term basis, you are more susceptible to mental health problems—like depression and anxiety—and physical health problems—like high blood pressure, heart disease, strokes, cancer and gastro-intestinal difficulties. If you find yourself erupting with anger and discover it is an overreaction to the situation, you may have carried that anger around quietly for too long. If so, it\’s time to learn to manage your anger.

Three Ways to Manage Your Anger

First, buy time. Counting to ten really can help you stop and think before you behave inappropriately. Take the time to breathe deeply. If you feel physically aggressive, like you might hit someone, walk out of the room. Take a walk. Talk yourself into being calm, and imagine yourself in a quiet, relaxing environment. Assess what you want out of the situation. Exploding in a rage probably won\’t get it for you.

Second, own your feelings. You\’re angry and you need to understand why. Talk it out with the people involved. Tell them why you\’re angry in a clear and calm way. You may even want to rehearse before you have the conversation. Be sure to go into it with an intention to listen. You may be surprised to learn that your assumption, which inspired your anger, might be incorrect and your anger will dissipate.

Third, stay strong. When you are mentally and physically healthy, you are better able to cope with issues that make you angry. So do all the things your mother always tells you—eat a balanced diet, exercise, don\’t drink too much or use drugs. Keep in touch with a supportive group of friends. Take time to meditate or do yoga. When your body and mind are fit, you are better able to deal with things that go wrong.

It\’s time to seek help when your anger is out of control and you can\’t seem to manage it. Therapy can help you explore why you get angry, why it\’s a problem for you, and what you can do to change the way you respond.

Nancy Travers is an Orange County Counseling professional.  If you need safe, effective counseling services, please get in touch.  You can reach her here: https://www.nancyscounselingcorner.com/contact-us.