Angry people can be hard to avoid. Sometimes it seems like angry people are everywhere (and I say that knowing I can be one of them at times). The stress of world events, the economy, a pandemic, let alone what’s happening in our personal lives, can all contribute to the undercurrent of anger that seems to exist. It’s clear that we all could benefit from a few anger management tips so we can handle our own angry feelings and navigate being around others that are struggling with their own anger issues.
Things can be even more challenging if you’re in an intimate relationship with someone who’s angry a lot. A woman asked me yesterday in counseling for anger management tips to deal with her husband when he explodes at her or their kids. So, tips for managing anger aren't just needed by those of us with anger problems, those who are around us also need them too.
Why Are Anger Management Tips So Hard To Use?
Tips for anger management can sometimes seem pretty simple, but often it's the practice of them that makes them difficult. The things that can help a person effectively manage their anger require conscious effort and regular practice. They may seem small, mundane, and too little to make a difference, but the reality is that these anger management techniques work very well for most when they’re put to use.
The following is an example of one of those anger tips. Below is a post from one of our social media pages about dealing with an angry person.
What can make applying anger management tips so hard is the fact that anger is such an all-consuming and volatile emotion. You’ve heard the reference to “seeing-red,” right? Well, it may not be red that a person sees per se, but anger can be like having blinders on and the person experiencing it can feel unable to see anything other than the trigger of that anger.
Sadly, it’s often not even the thing or person that takes the brunt of the anger that’s the real problem. Anger directed at loved ones in particular can stem from other problems and issues the angry person isn’t acknowledging or dealing with. In these moments trying to apply anger management techniques can be hard to remember and practice.
The wife I described above feels she needs to step in to protect her kids, and in some instances she's right. The problem with that response though is that it feeds and rewards her husband's anger.
So what do we do? We need to remember the above principle about angry people - the battle they're fighting isn't with you, it's with themselves. Walking away takes away the distraction of the fight and the option to blame someone else for their feelings.
4 Anger Management Tips That Are Easy To Use
Men most commonly come to me for anger management help when they're forced to see the destructive consequences of their anger. And they see those results most clearly when they aren't distracted or able to excuse them. Unfortunately, no one (not even me) is able to give them the magic bullet that they’re seeking to make other people and situations change so they won’t get angry anymore.
There are, however, a few effective anger management tips that can be helpful for both the wife responding to her husband and for him as well. It’s important to understand, however, that real anger management requires much more than these simple responses and resolution won't happen without ultimately dealing with the internal cause of the anger. Without doing that it can become a lifetime of paddling upstream.
- Walk Away. When you are dealing with anger and trying to control it, this is probably the best advice for when you feel like you’re about to explode. Just take a walk and get away from whatever it is that is triggering you. This can be hard to do because the need to express those explosive emotions can be very strong, but when controlling the expression of those emotions is a problem you need to wait until the anger storm has passed in order for you to be effectively heard and not cause damage. I suggest that when you’re calm you have a preemptive conversation with those you love about this practice. That way when you do walk away they understand what you’re doing and can encourage it.
- Count to 10. If walking away isn’t an option (or even if it is), count to 10 slowly before you allow yourself to respond. Doing this will allow that angry edge to dull a bit before you put a voice to your emotion. For some of us 10 won’t be enough, so feel free to define your own number, even if it’s 100.
- Get a Glass of Water. Or any other non-alcoholic drink. Just the act of refocusing by itself can be calming, but the act of drinking also has a calming effect.
- Focus on Breathing. When you’re angry your heart races and breathing quickens. Taking the time to look inward and actively slow your breathing will help you to calm down and take the edge off your anger response.
And again, if you’re the one dealing with the angry person remember this anger management tip: the best thing you can do for them and you is not to give them an outlet for their anger. If possible give them the space to practice the above suggestions and just walk away.
Please share your experiences or thoughts in a comment below. If you like this post, you can sign-up at the bottom of this page to get notified of each new post. You can also follow me on Facebook or Twitter as I post weekly relationship and self-improvement tips just like this one.
Editor's Note: This post was originally published November 16, 2013 and has been updated with new information for accuracy and comprehensiveness.
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