Seven ways to better manage anger

Seven ways to better manage anger

Are you struggling with anger issues? Dr Happy Setsiba has seven great anger management tips that will help you better deal with the emotion. 

Angry woman
Angry woman/ iStock

Anger is a very common emotion that all of us have experienced.

It can be caused by a variety of things, such as feeling stuck in life, injustice, loss of a loved one, feeling misunderstood or memories of traumatic events. 

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“Anger can be an immediate feeling and after some time it goes away or anger can be an emotion that one has been harbouring for a very long time,” says Dr Setsiba, a Clinical Psychologist at Med-forum Hospital in Pretoria.  

She says in some cases, traumatic childhood experiences can trigger anger issues, even in adults. 

“Many people battle with anger as a result of hurts, especially hurts from the past when they were young,” she says. 

Another major cause of anger can be toxic relationships.

“Some people get angry because they were in abusive relationships. Even if the relationships ended, they still think of what happened. They still think of their own helplessness,” says the Dr. 

She adds that it is important to understand that although all of these past hurts happened, it wasn’t your fault. 

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The danger of uncontrolled anger

Dr Setsiba says: “Anger is a very intense emotion. It is very powerful. It forces you to do something or do things that you believe will make you feel better."

The Clinical Psychologist warns that “anger can result in many health problems. Just listen to how your heart beats when you are angry, how you breathe. Some people will even get headaches because they are angry and don’t know how to resolve their anger."

Dr Happy says that medical experts have found that “anger can harm your heart exactly the same way as High Blood Pressure does.

“They also believe that the number one predictor of cardiovascular diseases, more than cholesterol, is mismanaged anger – anger that was never resolved,” she adds.

Not only can anger result in diseases, but it also has psychological effects.

Physiological effects of anger

“Anger is such an intense emotion. It takes over even your thoughts, even your sense of judgement. Some people judge situations poorly because they are angry. A person who is angry can’t think straight. They act on what comes first to their mind,” she says.

“When you are angry, you have more chances of making mistakes that you would later regret,” says the Clinical Psychologist. 

What is important, according to Dr Happy, is to remember that you won’t be able to reverse the actions. 

Another danger of anger is that it “makes you powerless. Anger takes control from you. It controls you,” says Dr Setsiba. 

She says anger hurts the individual much more than the people or situations she or he is angry with. 

“Anger hurts you. It is like carrying hot coal in your hand wanting to throw it at someone. Before that coal reaches someone, it has burnt you already, meaning when you are angry, you are the one who sets your house on fire. You are the one who destroys your own life,” says Dr Setsiba. 

Ways to manage or get rid of anger

Understand what is causing your anger

The Clinical Psychologist says the first step to managing anger is to understand what is triggering the emotion. “As much as we don’t have control over how we feel. You can choose how we want to respond to situations, and it can only happen if we understand why we react in ways that we do,” she says. 

Don’t blame others for your anger

“Take responsibility for your anger,” says Dr Happy. “Stop blaming others for your emotions. If I blame others, it means they have more power over me. So, I’m trapped in their power."

Be mindful of your thoughts

The way we view things in life determines our actions and influences our thoughts. Dr Setsiba says to better manage anger, “have a change of thought. Free yourself from believing that others are responsible for your freedom and for your happiness. Chose not to give power to others over your life.” 

Forgive yourself

Unforgiveness is poisonous. “Forgive yourself for rendering yourself powerless, for setting yourself up as a victim. You are not a victim. You have power. You have control over your reactions, meaning over anger,” says the Dr. 

Take time out 

“Have a quiet time to process your thoughts and give yourself time to return to your neutral,” says Dr Setsiba. “Take time out. Give yourself a break when you are angry."

Act positively

Dr Setsiba says it is important to take action and not let the anger paralyse you. She says those struggling with anger issues should “forgive. Do acts of love.” She also adds that it is important to “redirect your energy. Do something good for someone else."

Seek professional help

“If at any stage you feel anger is taking the better part of you, don’t hesitate to seek professional help,” she concludes. 

Image courtesy of iStock/ @master1305

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