Anger Control Issues? Learn to Channel this Energy

Do you feel as though you have anger control problems? Would you like to bring your emotions into better balance? This page is for you! As someone who had major anger issues at one point in my life, I can assure you that it is possible to improve your ability to channel this powerful emotion. Notice I say 'channel', because getting rid of one's anger without examining the root cause isn't a good idea. 

anger control

Practical Tools for Anger Control

It is vital to learn what triggers your anger. More specifically, it’s important to be

  • Noticing what happens in your mind and body when you begin to get angry. This isn't always easy, we may feel like we go from zero to sixty in an instant. With time and persistence, we can learn to be observant to what happens in our mind and body as we climb up the anger scale. 
  • Breathing: This is such a basic thing, we sometimes ignore it. The breath is such a powerful tool for affecting our state of mind, and this tool is available to us all the time. Even two deep cleansing breaths can make a big difference in our state of mind. Try it right now. Using deep, calm breathing can become a habitual response in stressful situations. When it does, you’ve taken a HUGE step in the right direction. Think about it: virtually every major religious and spiritual practice in the world uses breathing as a core technique for centering oneself. 
  • Increasing your mindfulness--as I said earlier, it's important to notice what is going on in your mind and body in the present moment. In this day & age of multitasking, this is a foreign concept for many. Yoga and meditation are great ways to develop awareness of the present in our lives.
  • Understanding the inverse correlation between the intensity of our emotions (anger, fear, ecstasy, you name it) and our ability to think clearly. Thus, keeping in mind that 1) catching the anger early is best and 2) when your anger is peaking, this is not the time to make decisions or say things! More on this at the bottom of this page
  • Keeping a log of your anger episodes--writer about what sparked the anger, what you were thinking and feeling, and how you expressed the anger. I find that when people write this down, it gives them a different view on the situation. The act of writing it down is one thing, but actually reading what we've written down is very different than simply thinking it through in our minds. 

Do you go from zero to sixty in an instant?

If you find that you are so quick to anger that you can get extremely angry in a flash, then figuring out your triggers and increasing awareness of your emotions and thoughts is key. What types of situations trigger your anger? As discussed above, where do you feel the anger in your body? What thoughts are you thinking?

Even if this process happens very quickly, you can, with effort and persistence, slow the process down and channel your energy more productively. In fact, it is critical that you slow the process down, in order to be successful at managing and channeling your anger energy. If this seems overwhelming, and you aren't sure where to start, anger management therapy can be quite helpful as well. I have worked with many individuals over the past 15 years on this specific issue!

But....Anger Makes me feel Powerful!

I invite you to do some self-analysis. Does expressing anger make you feel powerful in a way nothing else does? If so, you have a strong motive to keep your anger close by. Like a trusted friend, it is always there, ready to help you feel powerful again. Alas, you realize by now that there must be another way. Anger takes a harsh toll--on our spirit, our relationships, and our energy level. 

However, you must, I say MUST, find another way to feel powerful (or whatever the anger does for you). A way that is more helpful--and less emotionally toxic--than anger. This will require some introspection about your personal strengths and how to enhance them in your life. Once you've found a more adaptive way to feel powerful, anger control is within your reach. Keep working at this. The payoff is worth it.

I was taught that expressing anger is bad

Do you have trouble expressing anger because you were taught it’s not okay to do so? This form of anger control--not expressing it in the first place--is most unhealthy. As you’ve probably figured out by this point in your life, unexpressed anger comes out in other ways--depression, self-hatred, anxiety, and physical problems.

Sooner or later, the anger may come out as just that--anger. The problem is, you may be exploding on people like a volcano, due to the buildup of pressure and frustration over time. This damages your relationships and hinders your overall emotional self-control.

If you’ve been hard-wired to believe that the expression of anger is a bad thing, consider counseling. Like anyone else, you have a right to feel anger at times, and the expression of anger, frustration, and related emotions is in fact healthy to a point. The key is finding your balance.

Anger control is possible. Anger itself is not a bad thing. It’s a matter of intensity, frequency, and how it’s channeled. If you think you need professional support in coping with your anger, come and see me. I have helped many people learn to channel anger, frustration and related emotions in a way that is healthy, not toxic.

For more information, check out this WebMD link.

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