This story is updated in January 2019.
Have you ever felt an emotion so strong that it makes you want to express your dissatisfaction in an ugly way? You get so blinded by this feeling that you don’t see anything and you say things, do things that you regret later. This emotion is anger. It’s natural and can be both positive and negative in nature, depending on its degree.
We all get angry, don’t we? Sometimes, even a small trigger makes us snap. It is a human emotion that needs to be expressed, in degrees, but it doesn’t do any good to lash out at people around us or break things. If you want to control or manage your violent outbursts at the bat of a hat, read to know what you can do to stay calm.
Anger management is the process of cooling one’s temper. It helps you calm down while handling tensed situations. It doesn’t mean that you will suppress the emotion - you will just understand how to prevent situations where you can get frustrated and you will learn how to use the emotion in a positive way.
The truth is that you can’t control your surroundings, but you can work on yourself and your reactions. Anger management allows you to do so in various ways. Recognize the signs and try to express yourself without getting too upset. It’s a tricky situation, but counseling has proved that you can prevent and control your anger.
You must be wondering how you can find out if you need anger management, right? Here are the warning signs/symptoms that’ll help you recognise if you need to manage your temper.
1. You find it hard to take criticism - You’ve been having a tough time when someone tells you haven’t done something right. You’re taken aback if someone criticizes you and this makes you negative or unpleasant towards them.
2. You have to win - You hate losing. Period. Whether it’s a harmless game of UNO or an argument with a friend. You always want to have the last word and make the other person believe that what you’re saying is right. You’re bitter if you see that someone is not listening to you or has better reasons to support why they’re right.
3. You’re short-tempered - If anything that you disapprove of happens, you lose your cool. For example, if a friend misses your phone call, doesn’t reply to your text, the dinner table isn’t laid properly or you don’t get the pants in your size at your favourite store...rather than feeling annoyed, you feel enraged.
4. You hold grudges for a really long time - If a friend poked fun at you a month ago, you still have an aversion towards them. You don’t want to hang out with them or invite them over to your parties. It’s almost as if someone says or does something that you don’t appreciate, they enter your bad books and never get erased from there.
5. You have a problem when you need to express your emotions calmly - You’re hyper and not in a pleasant way. You tend to get aggressive while sharing your experiences with people. Even if the event took place years ago, talking about it again makes you furious.
6. You swear and yell a lot - While driving if some car overtakes you, you start swearing and name-calling. You express your anger by cursing. You spit abusive words at the drop of a hat. Even if the argument isn’t very heated, you still end up swearing.
7. You dislike sarcasm - You like people giving you straight answers to questions you ask and not twisted ones. You lose your cool if someone rolls their eyes at you.
8. You can’t take a joke - You can’t take jokes made on you in a stride. You get aggressive with anyone poking fun at you. Sometimes, you even get verbal or physical when you don’t appreciate someone’s sense of humour.
9. You punch walls and cause self-harm - When you’re enraged and can’t express it properly, you lock yourself up in a room and punch walls, scream and cause self-harm. This is an acute form of inward aggression. You don’t feel the pain when your knuckles bleed because your temper takes over the pain.
10. You tend to belittle people - Every time you engage in banter with friends, you end up belittling someone and hurting them. You tend to get aggressive and mean. You don’t appreciate someone making fun of you but you can be rude or insensitive while cracking jokes.
11. You’re impatient - If a friend arrives slightly late, you tend to lose your cool or cancel plans. You get mad at them and sometimes even walk away. You basically have extreme reactions to situations that are handled calmly by everyone around you.
12. You’re easily irritated - Be it the scorching sun on your head or someone asking you a doubt twice, you tend to get irritated very fast. If you’re already in a bad mood, that further adds to the irritation. You’re always running low on patience and get bothered easily.
13. You keep blaming others for everything that goes wrong - You never accept your fault, in fact, you play the blame game. You end up snapping at people around you for things that are not even under their control. For example, if your boss is upset with you, you might end up blaming your colleague for it.
14. People are scared to talk to you - Be it your partner or your friends, everyone is scared to walk up to you and strike a conversation or pose a question. They feel like they’re walking on eggshells when they’re talking to you.
15. You get aggressive after consumption of alcohol - You become angry or violent when you’re intoxicated. You tend to abuse, yell, fight and push people around. Alcohol triggers your aggression. You start losing you calm and getting very aggressive when you’re not in your senses.
16. You get physically violent easily - Be it a heated argument or a conversation where people disagree with you, you tend to roll up your sleeves in the blink of an eye.
Are you unsure if you have anger issues and if you need anger management? You can take a quick test online, answer a few questions and get the results immediately.
Psychology Today has a five-minute test that asks you to answer ten questions truthfully in order to receive the most accurate results.
Click here to take this test.
1. Intermittent explosive disorder - This disorder is where a person experiences short-lived outbursts that give them instant satisfaction, but cause regret later.
2. Passive anger - Someone suffering from this disorder may not even realise that they're angry. According to them, they’re just being sarcastic.
3. Overwhelmed anger - This type of anger disorder is caused by stress at home or work, traumatic life experiences or relationship issues. A person suffering from this goes through mixed emotions that become difficult to manage and sometimes, even affect a person's ability to think rationally. It causes frustration and feeling of hopelessness.
4. Self-inflicted anger - This disorder is where is anger directed inwardly at oneself. It slowly translates into causing physical harm to self - for example, cutting the wrist by a knife and other similar drastic actions.
5. Judgmental anger - This type of anger is usually a reaction to a person who you think has been unjust or someone else’s shortcoming.
1. Injustice - Instances like a boss not distributing work fairly among the employees, professor giving you unfair grades and the cops giving you a speeding ticket even though you weren’t in the wrong, trigger anger easily.
2. Discrimination - Discrimination based on gender, age, race, class, religious beliefs and nationalism enrage people.
3. Disrespect - If someone labels, shames, insults or blames you, you tend to feel hurt and eventually, very angry.
4. Invasion of your personal space - Everyone likes their own space. Someone overstepping your personal space can make you snap at them.
5. Physical threats - If someone holds you by the collar, pushes you, snubs you or creates a scene in public - it can piss you off.
6. Lies - If a friend breaks your trust or your partner cheats on you, you’re bound to lose your cool and get extremely angry.
7. Relationship disputes - Petty tiffs in a relationship can lead to repeated fights. If one partner makes a mountain out of molehills and refuses to change or understand, this can not only affect the relationship but also can enrage the other partner.
8. Helplessness - Lack of control of any situation gives you a feeling of helplessness and discomfort. This can eventually trigger anger.
9. Frustration - Stress from work or a disturbed relationship with someone can make you extremely frustrated and irritated.
10. Abusive language- If someone abuses for no reason, this may not go well with you all the time. Sometimes, it’s possible for you to not appreciate their choice of words and snap at them.
1. Take some deep breaths - Breath deeply and slowly. This will calm you down and give you perspective to rethink what you were angry about in the first place.
2. Massage areas of tension - Gently massage your neck, shoulders and temples. This will make you feel relaxed about boosting your thinking capacity.
3. Listen to music - Relax your senses by listening to peaceful music. This will help divert your mind from a stressful situation.
4. Exercise - A brisk walk around your house might help. Talk loud and get it all out. Eventually, you’ll feel much better after you’ve to vent it all out.
5. Slowly count to 10 - Count from 1 to 10 every time you’re extremely angry. This will help you take your mind off the temper can cool you down.
6. Change your environment - Go out, breathe some fresh air and let the cool breeze relax your mind.
7. Watch funny videos - Silly cat videos can help diffuse rage. It relaxes your nerves and makes you forget what you were angry about.
Anger management counselling sessions are held by a professional counsellor or psychotherapist who specialises in helping people suffering from anger issues.
Anger management therapies can be a one-on-one session or a group session. The professional help you first recognise the problem and then helps you to solve it. For best results, one must research well and go for a counselor that you think you will be comfortable talking to.
Different professionals may use different techniques to help overcome anger issues. Broadly, a six-step approach is used to tackle this anger when it arises.
1. Identifying the problem
2. Finding out what are the root causes
3. Doing exercises to control sudden outbursts
4. Maintaining an anger management journal
5. Truthfully sharing personal experiences with the counsellor
6. Not taking anything personally
The main aim of the anger management classes is to help you identify the triggers and cope with them. They teach you behavioral skills and ways of thinking that will help you control your anger. The counsellors help you change how you think and react to certain situations and teach to be assertive because being able to express yourself assertively will make you will feel more in control of situations that you're in.
1. Vent to a friend - What are friends for after all! Talk it out with a friend. Don’t let it stay bottled up inside you. That will only suffocate you and make you more negative. Sometimes, you need someone to talk to you. This will help you understand what really went wrong also, their suggestions might help you see the situation in a new light.
2. Write it out - Writing out what is making you angry is one of the best ways to vent it out. This way, you end up feeling light and no one gets hurt. You can dump all your temper on paper and take the load off your chest. Get this journal (Rs 249) and start unwinding by writing down your angry thoughts.
3. Rant in a closed space - Scream into a pillow or rant in your car with the windows rolled up. This will help you let it all out without anyone knowing what you had inside of you.
4. Sing or dance out your anger - Sing your favourite songs, use a karaoke set or even come up with your own lyrics, it'll lighten up your mood. And if you want to release the stress that's aggravating your temper, then sway to some peppy music. This will make you feel a whole lot better.
5. Draw or paint - Take a piece of paper, crayons or some paints and draw or paint whatever comes to mind. Colour the paper as per your whims and fancies. It'll boost your imagination skills and calm you down.
6. Play a sport - Sports are a means of catharsis. You can vent out all your temper by letting adrenaline kick in and releasing all the toxins. Yoga will also really help. Read our guide to yoga and get started.
1. Avoid triggers that can anger them - You know your loved ones inside out. You know exactly what acts as a catalyst to make them furious. So, avoid saying such things or hinting at them.
2. Don't beat around the bush - Your loved ones need some clarity. They don’t want to be confused or misled while they're inflamed. Make sure to keep your perspective straight-forward and objective. This way they’ll understand your point better.
3. Give them time to cool down - In case of a tussle, let them calm down before you start confronting them. Give them some space to contemplate the situation and retrospect later. Let them be. But do talk it out with them after they cool down.
4. Tell them the demerits of anger - Let them know that they’re extremely hurtful and turn bitter when they’re angry. This can cost them their relationship with their loved ones. Tell them that it’s important for them to let go of the temper than the person.
5. Anger management classes - Anger management classes work wonders. If you feel that your loved one needs a personal counsellor to help them tame their temperament, they book an appointment for them and tag along.
The anger management self-help books are resources for assessing and identifying anger disorders. They come in handy as they offer guidance to tackle anger issues and step-by-step behavioral programmes. These books help you determine the root causes of anger and all the triggers that make you lose your calm in various situations. Most importantly, they teach you how to stop wounding people around you who care about you. These anger books offer a wide range of anger management techniques. Check out the list below and grab one if you need it or buy it for a friend.
1. Anger Management For Everyone: Seven Proven Ways to Control Anger and Live a Happier Life - The authors bring their expertise and research-based understanding to everyone interested in controlling their anger. The book shows you how to cope with life's adversities, unfairness, and disappointments, so you can successfully put anger in its proper place and live a vital, happy, and upbeat life. Price: Rs 930; Buy it here
2. How To Control Your Anger Before It Controls You - This classic book will show you how to apply anger management techniques to understand the roots and nature of your anger, and take control of and reduce angry reactions. Also, it will help you challenge and eliminate the anger that can hinder success and happiness at home, at work, anywhere. Price: Rs 1,713; Buy it here
3. Anger Management: How to Take Control of Your Anger, Develop Self Control, and Live a Happier Life - This book helps you deal with your anger issues by starting at the beginning how you choose to judge the stimuli or feedback you are receiving from the world. Read this book to finally make anger work for you instead of against you! Price: Rs. 618; Buy it here
4. Instant Anger Management: How to Control Anger Instantly! - This book teaches you how to uncover the root of the anger problems, so you know where the real issues lie to finally unburden yourself, how to control your anger with preventive measurements the moment it is about to appear, so you won't regret it afterward and much more. Price: Rs 603; Buy it here
5. The High Cost of Anger Workbook - This book tells you that anger is a human emotion and your goal should be to gain power over it and to be in control. You will learn to recognize your own anger signs and your triggers. In addition, you will learn to recognize anger signs and symptoms in others. Price: Rs 449; Buy it here
1. Think before you speak - Take a few moments to collect your thoughts before saying anything. Take a deep breath and think it through. Get some clarity of thought in your head and allow others involved in the situation to do the same.
2. Express your anger once you're calm - We mostly regret the things we say in the heat of the moment. So, calm down and then express your dissatisfaction. This way, your reactions will be more justified.
3. Identify the reasons that made you angry - Not always does the situation make you angry. Sometimes, it’s only a catalyst that triggers the situation. Maybe you were irritated because of something else which made you overreact to a situation and snap at the person in front of you.
4. Take a timeout - Take a timeout from your mundane routine and do something that you love. The happier you are on the inside, the less upset you’re likely to get in situations. Try baking or gardening. They help you detox and calm your nerve cells.
5. Practice relaxation skills - Do yoga, stretching exercises, massage your neck and shoulders. Also, try deep breathing exercises or imagine a relaxing scene. This will help you to become more positive and relaxed.
6. Don't hold grudges - Try not to let negative emotions build inside you. Look at the brighter side and learn to forgive people. Don’t hold grudges for too long. Every situation in life teaches you something, so take that lesson and move on.
7. Empathise - Try walking a mile in someone else’s shoe and you’ll know what’s bothering them. This way you’d want to not add to their plight. This will make you more sensitive towards people around you and help you become a better soul.
8. Engage in a healthy confrontation - Fights happen. It’s normal. People have different opinions and hence, they’re bound to clash. Every time you find yourself stuck in such a situation, try to have a healthy conversation. Avoid swearing or getting physical, instead talk things out logically.
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Whether they didn’t get the chocolate bar they really wanted, they lost a game among friends or they didn’t get good grades, kids have their own reasons to get angry. Since they’re young and inexperienced, their ways of handling their temper can be destructive. As an elder sibling or parent, we have various responsibilities towards them. We should try to help them calm their anger before it’s too late and becomes a habit. It’s always the easiest way to ask them to stop creating a ruckus and go to their room but that doesn’t solve the problem. Don’t escape it but face it. Here are some ways you can control anger in kids.
1. Set a good example - Kids are naive at a tender age. They tend to follow and learn from what they see around them. Also, most of the times they blindly emulate their elders. Elders in the house must set a good example for the younger ones. They should refrain from getting agitated in front of the kids, fighting with others in the house by screaming or breaking things can harm the fragile mind of the kids that look up to them.
2. Talk it out - Kids need someone to guide them and show them a way to calm down when they’re angry. Every time a kid is hyper and furious, you must sit and talk it out with them. Ask them why they’re angry and what has made them so angry. This way they’ll learn to express their temper calmly and sooner or later it will help them work on their reactions in different situations.
3. Motivate them to engage in a physical activity - Kids can let off some temper by engaging in physical activities like painting, drawing, playing sports, hitting the pillow or pounding on clay. This can help them divert their mind and let out some of the steam.
4. Comfort them - Kids want someone to listen to them without being judged or scolded. They want someone to confide. Be that support system for them when they’re unable to deal with their temper issues. Give them a space to vent it all out and relieve the weight off their shoulders.
4. Praise their good behaviour - Kids love to be appreciated for their achievements. This motivates them to get better. Praise them when you notice a positive change in their behaviour. They’ll want to be good so that they keep getting those brownie points from you.
We all feel angry at some of the other point in life. We all have our saturation points and if something triggers, we tend to lose our cool. While anger is an emotion that is mostly short-lived outward aggression, depression is long-term inward aggression. There’s no doubt about the fact that anger plays a significant role in depression.
A study done in the UK in 2013 suggested that bottling up our temper inside of us and turning our anger on ourselves contributes to the severity of depression.
Most people who are suffering from depression also share struggles with turning their anger on themselves. While a lot of people vent out their anger on others or on objects, there are many who suffocate themselves by neither talking about it nor venting it out. They start avoiding people around them and often seclude themselves. They end up locking themselves in a room and don’t come out for days.
Such people experience rapid heartbeat, increased blood pressure, sudden outbursts of anger, feeling of helplessness and hopelessness, loss of interest, sadness, insecurity, extreme weight loss or weight gain and loss of energy.
If you’re dealing with anger issues, don’t be disheartened. It’s very normal. There is an umpteen number of ways to control it. Talk it out with family and friends, get some help, visit doctors, engage yourself in physical activities that you love or enroll yourself in anger management classes. Like they say, where there’s a will, there’s a way!
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