Here are some steps that you can take to help you deal with anger and frustration. Keep in mind that these complex emotions very much relate to other emotions like stress, fear, and disappointment that can be at the root cause. These steps can help prevent your feelings and reactions from getting out of control.
- Pause before you react- Counting from 1-10 or taking a few deep breaths can help create some emotional distance between what is triggering your feelings.
- Step away- Stepping outside or even just out of the room for a few moments can help you calm down, especially if you are feeling trapped and angry with someone in your presence. This can help disrupt the wave of anger or frustration you are feeling at that moment.
- Vent- As long as you don’t stew on your anger for too long, it’s perfectly normal to get your feelings out and not keep them bottled up, which is not healthy. Talking with a trusted loved one or friend, getting the feelings down in a journal, or even pretending to talk to the person you are upset with (envisioning that they are with you, sitting in a chair, for example) can help you get the bottled-up feelings out.
- Exercise- Exercise can help release tension and energy that anger can cause to be stored up in our bodies. Ridding this tension via exercise can help improve your mood. These can be exercises like meditation or focused breathing. Or more active activities like aerobics, running, or lifting weights.
- Decompress- Blasting your favorite music and/or enjoying a hot shower can work wonders for your mood and attitude!
- Organize your space- Take a few minutes each day to plan, tidy up, or re-organize a space you occupy. This activity can add a level of structure to your daily life, and help you feel more in control when you are feeling stressed out or things seem chaotic.
- Reduce or eliminate your stressors- Take some time to look at when and why you are stressed to see what the contributors are. See if some small or gradual changes can improve the situation.
- Manage your own expectations- As much as we would all like to, we cannot fully predict how each situation will play out or another person’s behavior. Many times, anger or frustration can arise from situations or people not meeting our expectations, standards, or assumptions. It’s important to remain flexible and be able to shift your thoughts so that you aren’t setting yourself up for disappointment when things don’t go as you wish.
- Seek professional help if needed- If you feel that you can’t get your anger under control, it is time to seek professional help before it gets out of control. Some underlying mental health conditions often manifest as anger, so it’s important to be checked out to see if there is an underlying condition to be treated that can help resolve your anger as well.