Anger is a natural emotion that we all feel from time to time; it's what we do with that anger that can be problematic. The mind is a very powerful tool, and when we learn how to control our thoughts, we can better control our emotions and reactions. But it takes patience, practice, and perseverance.
If you're struggling to keep your anger in check, it might be time to seek out professional help. A therapist can teach you how to better manage your emotions and reactions, and help you understand the root cause of your anger. There are many different types of therapy available, so it's important to find one that's right for you.
If you're ready to start managing your anger in a more constructive way, therapy is a great idea. Not only does therapy give you a place and space to talk about your anger, but it also provides you with tools and resources to help you manage it more effectively.
Let's look at different types of therapy that can help with anger management.
How Do You Know If You Have Anger Issues?
If you find yourself getting angry more often than you'd like, or if your anger is starting to interfere with your life, it might be time to seek out help. Some common signs that you might have anger issues include:
- Feeling guilt after an outburst or feeling like you can't control your anger
- Becoming easily frustrated or irritated
- Lashing out at others, either verbally or physically
- Struggling to let go of anger or resentment
- Having difficulty managing stress or anxiety
- Feeling like a pot that is ready to boil over
- Stressing over little things
- Turning to substance abuse to calm your emotions
If you're noticing any of these signs, it's important to reach out for help. Anger is a normal emotion, but when it starts to interfere with your life, it's time to get some help.
Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is a type of therapy that focuses on changing negative thoughts and behaviors. In CBT, you'll learn how to identify negative thoughts and beliefs that contribute to your anger, and you'll work on replacing them with more positive and constructive ones. CBT can be very effective in helping you manage your anger in a more positive way.
CBT isn't just about changing your thoughts; it's also about changing your behaviors. You'll learn new skills and strategies for managing your anger, such as how to calm yourself down when you're feeling angry, how to communicate more effectively, and how to resolve conflict in a more constructive way.
Techniques like reframing (changing the way you look at a situation), problem-solving, and relaxation can be very helpful in managing anger. Learning to see things from a different perspective can help you feel less angry, and finding new ways to cope with stress can help you avoid getting angry in the first place.
Dialectical Behavior Therapy
Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) is a type of therapy that focuses on helping you manage emotions, including anger. In DBT, you'll learn how to identify and label emotions, how to understand the triggers that lead to intense emotions, and how to cope with emotions in a more constructive way.
DBT skills include emotion regulation, distress tolerance, and interpersonal effectiveness. These skills can help you better manage your anger by teaching you how to regulate your emotions, how to tolerate distress without getting overwhelmed, and how to communicate more effectively.
DBT can be an effective treatment for anger, especially if you have difficulty controlling your emotions. It can also be helpful if you're struggling with other issues, such as depression, anxiety, or substance abuse.
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy
Acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) is a type of therapy that helps you accept the things you can't change and commit to taking action on the things you can. In ACT, you'll learn how to identify your values and what's most important to you, and you'll work on making choices and taking actions that are in line with your values.
ACT can help you manage your anger by teaching you how to accept the things that you can't change, such as other people's behaviors, and how to focus on the things that you can change, such as your own thoughts and reactions.
ACT skills include mindfulness, acceptance, and commitment. Learning to be more mindful of your thoughts and emotions can help you feel less angry, and accepting your emotions can help you manage them in a more constructive way. Committing to taking action on the things that are important to you can help you find purpose and meaning, even in the midst of difficult circumstances.
Tips for Managing Anger
These suggestions can help you keep reframe anger and respond to it constructively:
1. Cost-Benefit Analysis: Weigh the pros and cons of expressing anger. Sometimes it may be beneficial to express anger in order to release it and move on. Other times, it may be more helpful to keep calm and avoid a conflict. When you find yourself getting angry, ask yourself whether the benefits of expressing your anger outweigh the costs, or if there is a more productive way to handle the situation.
2. Reframe Your Thinking: If you tend to view anger as always bad, try to reframe your thinking. Anger is a normal, human emotion that can be helpful in some situations. It can be a sign that something is wrong and needs to be addressed. It can also be a source of energy and motivation to change a situation. But your anger is too much if it is harming others around you, or yourself. When you start to feel angry, try to think about the situation differently and look for a more positive way to view it.
3. Anger-Exit/Re-Entry: When you find yourself in a situation where you are starting to feel angry, try to remove yourself from the situation for a short period of time. This can be as simple as going to another room or taking a short walk. Once you have calmed down, you can re-enter the situation and respond in a more constructive way.
4. Countdown to Calmness: Once you have recognized that you are starting to feel angry, try to take some deep breaths and count to 10 (or 20, or 50…). This will help you to physically and mentally calm down so that you can respond to the situation in a more constructive way.
5. Use “I” Statements: When you are communicating with someone who has angered you, try to use “I” statements. For example, instead of saying “You’re such an idiot!” try saying “I’m feeling really frustrated right now.” This will help the other person to understand how you’re feeling and may make them more open to hearing what you have to say.
6. Avoid “You” Statements: Along the same lines, try to avoid using “you” statements when you’re angry. For example, instead of saying “You’re so lazy!” try saying “I’m feeling really frustrated because I need some help with this.” Again, this will help the other person to understand how you’re feeling and may make them more open to hearing what you have to say.
7. Stay Present: When you’re feeling angry, it can be easy to get caught up in the past or the future. But staying present in the moment will help you to better deal with the situation at hand. For example, if you’re feeling angry because someone cut you off in traffic, try to focus on the fact that you’re safe and the situation is not going to change. This will help you to stay calm and avoid getting too worked up.
8. Practice Mindfulness: Mindfulness is a technique that can help you to become more aware of your thoughts and feelings and to accept them without judgment. When you’re feeling angry, try to be aware of your thoughts and bodily sensations without judging them as good or bad. This will help you to let go of your anger and to respond to the situation in a more constructive way.
9. Let Go of the Need to Be Right: In many cases, anger is fueled by the need to be right. But hanging onto this need can only make the situation worse. When you find yourself getting angry, try to let go of the need to be right and to focus on finding a solution that works for everyone.
The Bottom Line
If you believe you have anger issues, you’re not alone. You’ve shown signs of growth just by looking online for resources. To begin changing your life, find a therapist who specializes in anger management, and you can get started on the path to a more positive outlook on life.
This blog post is for educational purposes only and does not constitute medical or other professional advice. Your specific circumstances should be discussed with a healthcare provider. All statements of opinion represent the writers' judgement at the time of publication and are subject to change. Phoenix and its affiliates provide no express or implied endorsements of third parties or their advice, opinions, information, products, or services.