According to AAA (Foundation for Traffic Safety), approximately 1,500 people are killed or injured in traffic disputes resulting from anger each year. All jokes about road rage aside, anger can be a dangerous emotion in or out of a moving vehicle.
Learning how to control anger is essential to living a successful and productive life.
The Impact of Anger
As a child, a temper tantrum might earn a lollipop or a time-out, depending on the scenario or the caregiver. As an adult, anger issues can deliver more serious results. Impacts of anger can include:
- Loss of relationships.
- Termination of employment.
- Inability to obtain a promotion or increased pay.
- Development of unhealthy relationships.
- Harm to yourself or loved ones.
- Criminal conviction and jail time.
With such severe consequences, it is important to learn to cool a boiling temper and deal with anger issues.
Everyone experiences anger from time to time. In fact, anger is considered a healthy emotion that helps people process a range of events and scenarios. Learning how to control anger involves impacting responses to the emotion, not bottling it up or removing it altogether.
In some cases, anger issues are a symptom of underlying problems. Anger could manifest due to anxiety, depression or abuse. It could be linked to severe grief or a chemical imbalance.
In the case of severe anger issues, it is best to seek professional advice. The tips included in this article are meant to address specific instances of emotion and are not meant to provide professional help with an ongoing issue.
4 Tips for Controlling Anger
Controlling anger is about taking a step back. << Click to Tweet This
Sometimes, we become so wrapped up in a situation, we react without taking time to think it through. This is when anger gets us in trouble. This is when we do and say things we wish we could take back.
A survey conducted in Britain indicated that 1 in 5 participants had ended at least one relationship due to angry actions. Here are four proven methods for taking yourself out of the equation and gaining control of your emotions and your relationships:
1. Count to Ten
This tried and true method of taking a step back works best when someone else is not attempting to escalate the argument. If possible, say, “I need a minute,” and step from the room. Count slowly to ten, or thirty, until you are able to control your breathing and regain logical thought.
2. Agree On a Half-Time
In football, half-time allows each team to re-evaluate the game and catch their breath. Moving away from a situation to get a bite to eat, work on something else or go for a jog allows anger to dissipate and helps you see another person’s side.
3. Argue for the Opposition
In business meetings or a discussion with a spouse, you may not always be able to remove yourself. Instead, ask everyone to take a moment to calm down, then have opposing parties switch sides for five minutes. Arguing another view point helps work through reasons for anger.
4. Create a List
Writing things down often provides a calming effect. You may also be able to work through feelings better when you see them on paper. Working with someone else to create a list can also help in developing a solution.
Controlling Anger as a Family
Learning how to control anger takes time and is something we work on through the years. Babies have no control and cry anytime they are angry, tired, hungry or uncomfortable. Toddlers display anger and are taught to use words instead of screaming or hitting. Teens are encouraged to work through emotions in productive ways.
One way to ensure everyone in your family learns to deal with anger appropriately is to set a good example. Use the four tips above during family conflicts. Talk about what makes you angry and how you can help each other deal with anger.
It is important to regard anger as an important emotion and not encourage others to bury it. As you learn to control anger, you will also learn to help others deal with the emotion. If someone in your life seems angry, ask them why. If they are angry at you, do not avoid it. Ask them to discuss it with you to avoid a boil over in the future.
Learning how to deal with anger can help you become a better team player, increase your productivity and develop stronger personal relationships. Remember that yelling, brash behavior and hurtful words never resolve an issue. Taking yourself out of the situation for a few minutes is always more productive.
How important is learning to control your anger in your life? Think back to the last time you were angry. If you controlled your actions better, would the outcome have been different or better?