How to Manage Anger

CATEGORY: , , , 26.03.18

When you’re already feeling edgy, for whichever reason, even something small (that normally wouldn’t have bothered you too much) can trigger an ’emotional hijacking’: you become completely enraged!


Don’t suppress it, but don’t act on it!

Why Venting Your Anger Doesn’t Work

Letting out all your anger might feel satisfying due to its seductive nature, but venting actually does very little to reduce the negative feeling! Outbursts of rage pump up the emotional brain’s arousal, leaving you MORE angry, not less – the mood is prolonged rather than ended.


So what should you do, when you find something triggering your anger?

There are two main ways of diffusing this rage:


1.Acknowledge and challenge the thoughts that trigger your rage!

It is our interpretation of the situation/interaction that triggers the anger.

Timing matters: the earlier in this cycle of anger you challenge your own thoughts, the easier it is!


2.Cool off physiologically

De-escalate your anger by waiting out the adrenal surge in a setting where there are not likely to be further triggers, ideally with a distraction.

For example: In an argument, that means getting away from the other person for the time being, and distracting yourself in order to putt the brakes on the cycle of escalating raging thoughts.

Distraction is a highly powerful mood-altering tool.


Distractions that DON’T work:

watching TV




Activities that DO work:

-active exercise (not to let out the anger but more to shift your focus to something physical)

-relaxation methods (deep breathing, muscle relaxation, etc.)

-meeting/talking to friends (about anything but your anger!)


Activities such as watching TV or eating don’t take up your full attention and so allow you to continue your angry train of thought – you (involuntarily) ruminate about whatever triggered your anger in the first place. Rather, choose an activity that will occupy your mind and force you to concentrate on the task at hand.



By Linda Rinn



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