How to Overcome Your Anger
Anger is a Choice
Anger can be such a destructive force. It can ruin not only your life, but the lives of everyone close to you. It can leave you bitter, alone, and feeling nothing but hatred and resentment. It may not feel like it to you, but letting your anger control you is a decision you are making. It is something you choose—and nobody else can be blamed for it.
I say this not as a psychologist but as someone who spent a very long time in intensive therapy dealing with my anger problems.
My therapist taught me a great deal about my anger issues, and I want to pass on what I learned. I hope that I might stop anger from ruling someone else's life the way it used to rule mine.
You will not be punished for your anger, you will be punished by your anger.— Buddha
What are your Triggers?
The most important thing to clearly understand is what makes you angry. What are your triggers? Learn to recognize these, and the rest will become a little bit easier. If possible, try to avoid these trigger situations. Avoiding your triggers won't always be possible, though; for example, if traffic makes you angry, you can't avoid driving to work. But what you can do is be aware that it will make you angry, know it happens on a regular basis, and stop being surprised by it.
What Happens to you?
What happens to you both physically and emotionally when you get angry? Do you start to get a headache? (I get a pain in the left side of my jaw.) Do you start to sweat? Does your anger build up? You need to recognize your physical and emotional signs in order to stop a full-blown attack of anger.
Handle Your Anger
If it is possible, remove yourself from the situation. This will give you the time to get a little bit of perspective and hopefully calm down a bit. If you can't remove yourself then you need to handle the situation carefully:
Think Before you Respond
We are all guilty of snapping at someone and speaking out of anger; however, it is not helpful to respond this way. You could end up saying something that you deeply regret. If you are talking face to face or on the phone, listen carefully to what the other person is saying, consider your response carefully, and then reply. If you are texting, wait at least two minutes before replying.
Are you Overreacting?
Consider what you are getting angry about. Is it actually worth getting so worked up? In the grand scheme of things is it worth devoting this much of your time, energy, and happiness to this issue? Think carefully and be honest with yourself: is it worth it? Or are you just being dramatic?
Remember, it Won't help.
Getting angry doesn't solve anything. You might feel like it does, but all you are doing is making matters worse. If something is making you angry then you need to calm down and do something practical about it.
Rethink Your Plan
If something doesn't seem to be going your way, make another plan. Not everything in life is going to go the way you want, which is why you should always have a plan B. For example, if your drive to work is busy, try to find a new route, or perhaps a different mode of transport (e.g., public transportation, biking, or walking). These are practical steps that could help eliminate a trigger.
Release Anger Productively and Creatively
Anger is destructive. Turn it into something constructive; use the anger to your advantage. It could really help give you the motivation you need to try something new, like exercise or painting.
Don't Repress it
I repressed my anger a lot (I still do), but it made me incredibly unwell. Anger festers and can cause long-term problems. You need to express your anger in a healthy manner.
If anger is causing a problem in your life, I would recommend that you get professional help. There may be underlying issues or complications that you are not aware of that need to be addressed.