Sydney Gideon, LSW

Inevitably we all get angry sometimes. We are human after all. But what happens with this feeling of anger decides to stick around longer than usual or becomes part of our day-to-day emotions? Feeling angry is extremely uncomfortable and our first instinct is typically to do what we can to take the anger away as quickly as possible. While drinking or engaging in drug use does not take away the anger, it numbs it, which can lead to unhealthy habits or addictions on top of an underlying lever of anger that remains. So, do we go about our lives, angry, pretending we’re okay, happy even? Or is there another option? Below are a few things you can do when you feel the anger begin to bubble over.

Move

Often times when we become angry we want to hit something, kick someone, or be destructive in one way or another. Instead of causing damage, find other ways to move around and be physical. Go for a run or a walk, move around furniture in your home or apartment, punch a pillow, even turn on music and have your own dance party. Utilizing the energy that comes from being angry in a more productive outlet can make a big impact. Many studies have proven time and time again that physical exercise is one of the most productive and effective ways to manage and eliminate anger. It allows you to take the necessary time to utilize your influx of emotions and regain control over your emotions. If you’re someone that struggles with anger regularly, consider taking up boxing or another high impact physical activity to release those pent up emotions as a preventative measure.

Reflect

After engaging in some physical activity, take a moment to reflect on your anger and where it’s stemming from. While you may feel very angry with a coworker, family member, or friend, it’s possible your anger is being misplaced and is coming from a place more difficult to identify. Frequently, anger actually has to do with ourselves but it’s easier to be angry with others than confront our own emotions. A lot of the time anger stems from wanting to have or gain control over things we can’t control. The only thing we can control is ourselves, which can add to our frustrating but also allow us to shift our perspective and how we relate to things.

Investigate

Something many of us don’t realize is anger is a secondary emotion. Typically, if you’re anger there’s another emotion or many emotions underneath. It’s a lot easier to be angry at someone than acknowledge overwhelming sadness or loss. Anger can be a mask for guilt, shame, hurt, sadness, grief, and other emotions we may consider negative. Understanding this can allow us to examine our emotions when feeling anger to gain a deeper understanding of how we’re feeling and why.

Accept

Although it may be difficult to recognize the emotions underneath the anger, once you do, you can begin working towards acceptance. Having a lack of control or feeling of helplessness can be hard to wrap your head around but once identified, it will alleviate the confusion you’re likely feeling which also exacerbates the feeling of anger. By accepting that there are situations we do not and cannot have control over we can stop being angry with ourselves for feeling this way. We can also begin shifting the way we relate to things we can’t control and create a plan for things we can control.

While we can’t control other people or external circumstances, we can control ourselves, our perspective, and how we relate to others. By doing this, we can begin eliminating anger from our lives.

If you’ve found yourself struggling with identifying your emotions or anger it may be useful to try counseling. Contact Symmetry Counseling at 312-578-9990 to set up an appointment with one of our very skilled therapists today!