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How to Reduce Anger? Learn how to manage it with these Strategies

Not controlling anger can lead to a variety of problems, such as saying things you regret, yelling at your children, threatening your coworkers, sending reckless e-mails, developing health problems, or even resorting to physical violence

But not all anger problems are so serious. On the contrary, your anger may consist of wasting time thinking about unpleasant events, getting frustrated in traffic or venting at work.

Anger management does not mean never getting angry. Instead, it means learning to recognize, cope with, and express your anger in a healthy and productive way. Anger management is a skill that everyone can learn. Even if you think you have your anger under control, there is always room for improvement.

Gestionar la ira es algo fundamental para el bienestar emocional y social.

Anger is an emotion that can range from mild irritation to intense rage. Although many people classify anger as a “negative emotion” exclusively, it can be positive. Feelings of anger can drive you to stand up for someone or can lead you to create social change.

But if left unchecked, angry feelings can lead to aggressive behavior, such as yelling at someone or damaging property. Angry feelings can also cause you to isolate yourself from the world and turn your anger inward, which can affect your health and well-being.

Anger becomes a problem when it is felt too often or too intensely or when it is expressed in an unhealthy way, which can take its toll physically, mentally and socially. For this reason, anger management strategies can be beneficial and can help you discover healthy ways to express your feelings.

Discover what the basic emotions are and their effect on behavior

Practicar la meditación Zen es muy beneficioso para reducir el estrés y la ansiedad.

Research consistently shows that cognitive-behavioral interventions are effective in improving anger management. These interventions involve a change in thinking and behavior. They are based on the notion that thoughts, feelings and behaviors are connected.

Your thoughts and behaviors can fuel your emotions or they can reduce them. Therefore, if you want to move your emotional state away from anger, you can change what you think and what you do. Without fuel, the fire inside you will start to diminish and you will feel calmer.

The best way to control your anger is to create an anger management plan. That way you’ll know what to do when you start to feel upset.

Below are 11 strategies you can include in your anger management plan. These tools are designed to help you manage and control your anger.

Identify your triggers

If you’ve gotten into the habit of losing your temper, take stock of the things that trigger your anger. Long lines, traffic jams, snide remarks or overtiredness are just a few of the things that can shorten your fuse.

While you shouldn’t blame people or external circumstances for your inability to stay calm, understanding the things that trigger your anger can help you plan accordingly.

You may decide to structure your day differently to help you better manage stress. Or you can practice some anger management techniques before encountering circumstances that you normally find distressing. Doing these things can help you lengthen your fuse, which means that a single frustrating episode won’t set you off.

Assess your anger

Before you take action to calm yourself down, ask yourself if your anger is a friend or foe. If you are witnessing someone’s rights being violated or find yourself in an unhealthy situation, your anger could be helpful.

In these cases, you might proceed to change the situation rather than change your emotional state. Sometimes, anger is a warning sign that something else needs to change, such as an emotionally abusive relationship or a toxic friendship.

Being angry can give you the courage you need to take a stand or make a change.

However, if your anger is causing distress or hurting your relationships, your anger may be an enemy. Other signs of this type of anger are feeling out of control and later regretting your words or actions. In these situations, it makes sense to work on tackling your emotions and calming yourself down.

Recognize the warning signs

If you’re like some people, you may feel your anger hit you in an instant. You may go from calm to rage in a heartbeat. But there are likely to be warning signs when your anger is escalating. Recognizing them early can help you take steps to prevent your anger from reaching a boiling point.

Think about the physical warning signs of anger you experience. Maybe your heart beats faster or your face is hot. Or maybe you start clenching your fists. You may also notice some cognitive changes. Maybe your mind races or you start to “see red.”

By recognizing the warning signs, you have the opportunity to take immediate action and prevent yourself from doing or saying things that create bigger problems. Learn to pay attention to how you feel and you will get better at recognizing warning signs.

Walk away

Trying to win an argument or holding on in an unhealthy situation will only fuel your anger. One of the best things you can do when your anger escalates is to remove yourself from the situation if you can.

When a conversation gets heated, take a break. Leave a meeting if you think you’re going to explode. Go for a walk if your kids are bothering you. A time-out can be key to helping you calm your brain and body.

If there is someone with whom you regularly have heated disputes, such as a friend or family member, talk to them about the importance of taking a time-out and pick it up again when you both feel calm.

When you need to walk away, explain that you are not trying to dodge difficult issues, but are working to control your anger. You are not capable of having a productive conversation or resolving a conflict when you feel very upset. You can pick up the discussion or broach the subject again when you feel calmer.

Sometimes it is helpful to set a specific time and place to talk about it again. This way, your friend, colleague or family member will feel reassured that the topic will be discussed, but at another time.

Talk to a friend

If there is someone who has a calming effect on you, talking about a problem or expressing your feelings to that person can be helpful. However, it is important to keep in mind that venting can be counterproductive.

Complaining about your boss, describing all the reasons why you don’t like someone or grumbling about all the perceived injustices can add fuel to the fire. A common misconception is that you need to vent your anger to feel better.

But studies show that you don’t need to “take out your anger.” Breaking things when you are angry, for example, can make you angrier. So it’s important to use this coping skill with caution.

Similarly, if you’re going to talk to a friend, make sure you’re working on developing a solution or reducing your anger, not just venting. It’s unfair to use them as a sounding board. Instead, you may find that the best way to use this strategy is to talk about something other than the situation that is making you feel angry.


Anger gives you an energy rush. One of the best ways to harness that rush is to engage in physical activity. Whether you take a brisk walk or hit the gym, working out can burn off extra tension.

Regular exercise also helps you decompress. Aerobic activity reduces stress, which can help improve your frustration tolerance. In addition, exercise allows you to clear your mind. You may find that after a long run or hard workout you have a clearer perspective on what was bothering you.

Control your thoughts

Angry thoughts add fuel to your anger. Thinking things like, “I can’t take it. This jam is going to ruin everything,” will add to your frustration. When you find yourself thinking things that fuel your anger, reframe your thoughts.

Instead, think about the facts by saying something like, “There are millions of cars on the road every day. Sometimes, there will be traffic jams.” Focusing on the facts-without adding catastrophic predictions or distorted exaggerations-can help you stay calm.

You can also develop a mantra that you can repeat to drown out the thoughts that fuel your anger. Say, “I’m fine. Keep calm” or “It’s no use,” over and over again, can help you minimize or reduce angry thoughts.

Change the channel

Ruminating about an upsetting situation fuels angry feelings. If, for example, you’ve had a bad day at work, reminiscing about everything that went wrong all afternoon will keep you stuck in a state of frustration.

The best way to calm down may be to switch channels in your brain and focus on something else.

Telling yourself “don’t think about it” is not always successful. The best way to mentally shift gears is to distract yourself with an activity. Do something that requires your concentration and makes it harder for negative or angry thoughts to creep in.

Some examples might be deep cleaning the kitchen, weeding the garden, paying some bills, or playing with the kids. Find something to do that keeps your mind busy enough to not ruminate on the things that bother you. That way, your body and brain can calm down.

Explore your feelings

Sometimes it’s helpful to take a moment and think about what emotions may be hiding underneath the anger. Anger often serves as a protective mask to avoid feeling more painful emotions, such as shame, sadness, and disappointment.

For example, when someone gives you a comment that is difficult to hear, you may become angry because you feel embarrassed. Convincing yourself that the other person is mean for criticizing you may make you feel better in the moment because it keeps your embarrassment at bay. But recognizing the underlying emotions can help you get to the root of the problem. Then, you can decide to take appropriate action.

For example, if someone cancels plans for you and your underlying emotion is disappointment, you can try explaining how the cancellation makes you feel instead of lashing out in anger. If you are honest with your feelings, you are more likely to resolve the problem. Responding with anger usually accomplishes nothing more than driving people away.

Create a “calm down” kit

If you tend to come home stressed from work and take your anger out on your family, or you know that meetings at work cause you a lot of frustration, create a calm down kit that you can use to relax.

Think of objects that help you engage all your senses. When you can look, hear, see, smell and touch things that calm you, you can change your emotional state. So a calming kit might include a scented hand lotion, a picture of a serene landscape, a spiritual passage you can read aloud, and a few favorite candies. Include things you know will help you stay calm.

You can also create a virtual calm kit that you can carry around. These are things you can turn to when you need them and are more portable. For example, calming music and images, guided meditation or instructions for breathing exercises can be stored in a special folder on your smartphone.

Seek help

If anger has caused problems in your life and you are struggling to control your temper on your own, you may want to seek professional help. Some mental health issues may be related to anger management problems.

For example, post-traumatic stress disorder has been linked to aggressive outbursts. Depressive disorders can also cause irritability and make it difficult to control anger. It is important to find out about any mental health problems that may be hindering your ability to control anger.

Start by talking to your doctor about your mood and behavior. Your doctor will make sure you don’t have any physical health problems that are contributing to the problem.

Your doctor may refer you to a mental health professional for evaluation. Depending on your treatment goals and needs, therapy may include individual sessions as well as anger management classes.

Ismael Abogado

Ismael Abogado

Psychologist and constant learner of the mind and soul.

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