At one time or another everybody gets mad. Anger is a normal human emotion, and it is the way that your subconscious mind releases mental and emotional pressure. But sometimes this normal psychological function can run amok and lead you astray. Getting angry is normal, but letting anger get the best of you is not.
So, how do you know if your anger is getting out of control? And what can you do about it if you’re raging?
Surprisingly enough, recognizing and managing anger is relatively easy.
Signs That Your Anger Is Out of Control
- You find yourself getting angry at everything that inconveniences you, annoys you or otherwise gets in the way of what you want to be doing,
- It leads you to act out aggressively or violently as in yelling, ranting, hitting, shoving or plotting revenge.
- It consumes you long after the event has passed. If you dwell on the things that make you angry, then you’re in trouble because normal anger is only a temporary emotional response to unsettling eternal stimuli.
- Things that didn’t use to make you angry are suddenly major issues worthy of a rant. This does not apply to times when you have suppressed normal anger, only to times when anger really isn’t merited—for example, when somebody gets a higher grade than you, or when a person is taking too long in the bathroom.
- You find yourself doing self-destructive things to cope with your angry feelings, such as reckless driving, hazardous recreational activities, physical fighting, drugs, and alcohol, or unsafe or random sexual activity.
How to Manage That Anger
- Learn to recognize the true source of your anger. There’s a difference between an annoyance or inconvenience and a bona fide reason to get mad. Somebody hurting you, hurting somebody you care for, or damaging your property are all good reasons to get mad. Somebody “disrespecting” you, getting in your way, slowing you down, being luckier than you, or doing something better than you do it are not reasonable causes of anger.
- Take a deep breath. Then step away from the situation and ask yourself “Why am I really mad?” Often people misdirect anger caused by a valid, yet bigger, issue on to everyday annoyances and inconveniences.
- Know your triggers. If there are certain things that you know bother you or that you can’t accept, know what they are, take steps to avoid them, and play out an appropriate reaction in your head when you’re feeling calm, to train your mind to react that way when the problem arises in real life.
- Plan your time wisely. One of the most common stressors is poor time management. When you’re in a rush and something slows you down even more, you are very likely to react in anger. The simplest way to avoid this is to exercise effective time management.
- Exercise regularly. It’s true that exercise is an excellent way to de-stress body and mind. People who exercise regularly are less likely to overreact to annoyances and inconveniences,
- Talk it out. Reacting in anger often causes the reasoning center of the brain to shut off for a time, and the way you can turn it back on is to talk rather than act out when anger takes hold. It may sound crazy, but taking a few minutes to gather your thoughts and speaking them out loud can do wonders to diffuse an angry situation.