Feel on edge and about to explode? Read on for our solutions to manage anger in a healthier way.
What makes people angry?
These days we live in a high-demand world driven by the desire for instant results. Many of us live in built-up urban environments with modern conveniences. We spend much of our lives indoors without sunlight, fresh air, and natural movement. Furthermore, the technology that is supposed to make our lives easier can sometimes feel like an added pressure and means we are always ‘switched on’.
Overall, the industrialised world is mentally more stimulating but physically limiting, which can cause chronic stress, anger, and resentment.
The experience of anger can differ between individuals, but some common anger triggers include:
- Difficulty communicating with others and a feeling of being misunderstood or misjudged
- Pressures at work or at home; financial insecurity; caring/domestic responsibilities
- Mounting frustrations: being stuck in traffic, technology fails, not being able to access important services
- Not getting sufficient sleep; poor nutrition; alcohol and substance abuse
What are the signs of anger issues?
Feeling angry is a normal aspect of a healthy emotional range. However, when you are feeling angry on a regular basis, losing your temper, or feeling depressed, then these are anger symptoms you need to address. Other signs can include depression and anxiety, insomnia, and substance abuse.
Long-term physical effects of uncontrolled anger include headaches, anxiety, high blood pressure and cortisol. It can also suppress the immune system.
How to Calm Down Anger
The first step to letting go of anger is to recognise that you are feeling angry; so, before you can address uncomfortable feelings, you need to acknowledge them.
Finally, you need to healthy ways to destress.
9 tips for feeling calmer when anger strikes:
- If you need to let go of resentment or anger, write down all the issues that are upsetting you and work out an action plan with concrete steps to follow. Who can you ask for help or delegate responsibilities to?
- Be an active listener. Instead of accusing (‘You always do X…’), talk about what you are feeling: (‘It makes me upset when X happens…’). This creates empathy.
- Learn how to breathe: try the box breathing exercise: Breathe in on a slow count of 4. Hold for a slow count of 4. Breathe out on a slow count of 4. Hold on a slow count of 4. Repeat until you feel in control and calm.
- Become mindful of your body: drop your shoulders and identify where you’re holding tension. When you take a few seconds to change your posture, it becomes easier to let go of pent-up feelings.
- Remove yourself from the situation: practise walking away and giving yourself a few seconds to think about what you want to do or say.
- Thoughts are not facts. Ask yourself questions to challenge how you frame a particular situation; can you change the perspective?
- Become aware of your needs: are you hungry? Thirsty? Because your nervous system releases cortisol to increase glucose to the brain, this can make you feel ‘hangry’. Eat protein-rich, satisfying snacks such as nuts, dairy and beans and cut back on sugar and caffeine. Intermittent fasting (IF) may improve blood sugar control, but lengthen your fasting window gradually.
Did you know that 95% of your life is controlled automatically by subconscious impulses?
8. If you want to gain control of your emotions and calm down anger, try reprogramming your mind with a different set of beliefs.
Because rewiring your thought patterns requires regular practice, create sticky notes reminding you of your goals, i.e. ‘I find it easy to stay calm’. Put them around the house in visible places.
So, every time you brush your teeth or cook a meal, look at the message and repeat it.
Smile as you imagine being confronted by your usual anger triggers yet remaining calm. Attach positive associations to this new thought pattern, such as feeling light and happy.
9. Traditional herbs and adaptogens can support a sensitive nervous system for more patience and resilience during high-pressure situations. Ashwagandha, rhodiola, holy basil, lion’s mane and red ginseng have been used for centuries to uplift and balance a healthy mood. Try Living Nutrition’s Organic Fermented True Adaptogens herbal blend.
Did you know?
Couples who hold in their anger have a shorter lifespan than those who say when they’re angry.
Anger doesn’t have to be your enemy. Difficult emotions need a healthy outlet, not to be ignored altogether. Hopefully these tips for anger management will inspire you to make some positive changes to reframe your thoughts and find peace in your life and relationships.