What is anger? How to develop anger management skills that will work for you?

Young woman in white hoodie posing in the mirror

Anger is one of the many emotions we experience as human beings. Although it is mostly seen as a negative emotion, there is much to learn from anger. Being angry tells us what has upset, disappointed, or hurt us. It is a sign that something is not alright in our life.

“To be angry is to let other’s mistakes punish you.”

–Gautama Buddha

Hence, we need to recognize the source of our anger and manage it effectively.

Step 1: Identify Triggers

The first step to dealing with anger is to understand the source from where it comes. There may be different reasons why you may get angry. The reasons can be broadly categorized as internal and external. You may be angry because of your personal feelings or due to external factors.

Another key aspect to keep in mind is that anger has physiological warning signs. You should keep your mind open to recognize and acknowledge these warning signs. Increased heart rate and tense muscles are two of the most common warning signs. Once you realize that you are getting angry, explore the reason for your anger. Ask yourself- Will your anger help or hurt you?

Step 2: Choose a Technique

Many techniques will help regulate your anger. It can range from counting up to 10 or actively improving your skills. Research studies have identified the three key strategies to deal with anger. They are-relaxation, cognitive behavior modification, and skill training. Here we have listed some of the evidence-based techniques that help you manage your anger.

  1. Relaxation
  2. Problem-solving
  3. Reframing your thoughts
  4. Physical activity
  5. Improving your communication

Step 3: Practice

You can choose any anger management technique that works for you. It can be helpful at the moment or develop your ability to deal with anger in the long term. Irrespective of the technique you choose, it is important that you practice it.

When you are trying to change something in your behavior, there are some phases you may go through.

  • First, you have to prepare yourself for the change, which you have done by reading this article. 
  • Secondly, you have to actively and consciously choose to change. You can do this by regulating your anger the next time you are triggered.
  • Thirdly, you need to accept and adjust to the change. It indicates that you need to recognize the shift in how you express your anger. You will also have to make relevant adjustments in your life. It occurs when you actively practice and apply the technique you have chosen.
  • Finally, you have to maintain the change. It is also possible with regular practice and conscious effort to manage your anger.

The blog was written with the expert guidance and feedback of Dr. Vasanth Kattalai Kailasam, Diplomat of the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology.
He is one of the Founders and the CMO at CareMe Health.

Edited & Coordinated by Arathi Nair, Writer – CareMe

Do you want professional help for anger management?

In some cases, it may seem that your anger is out of your control. It is okay to seek professional help in these cases. If you are unsure how to pursue this support, reach out to us at CareMe Health. You can speak to qualified professionals who will help you figure out your next steps towards anger management.

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  • Prachi Sharma

    Prachi (she/her) is a Counseling Psychologist. She received her training and Master’s degree at Amity University, Noida concentrating in Clinical Psychology. She enjoys working with adolescents and adults. She has worked with a variety of clients and has experience in community mental health as well. She likes to provide an inclusive and affirming therapeutic environment. She is interested in working with clients needing support with depression, anxiety, grief and loss, relationship issues, trauma, stress and self-esteem issues. She aims to provide a relationship where the other will discover the capacity within themselves to grow, change and build an everlasting relationship with their authentic selves. She utilizes approaches such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Mindfulness, principles of Essentialism/Minimalism, NLP, Rational Emotive Behavioral Therapy, Person Centered Therapy, Polyvagal Theory and Positive Psychology- making it eclectic, tailor-made and holistic for the clients. Prachi believes that merely through communicating, any individual can start the process of healing. She believes that with awareness of our struggles, one can work towards identifying and modifying behaviors one wishes to change. She is passionate about making our world a better place to live by her work and expertise. In her free time, you can find Prachi climbing the great Himalayan mountains, meditating, gardening and drawing mandalas.

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