Anger is a normal emotion we all feel from time to time, but if you find yourself angry more often than not you may be interested in trying one of these anger management techniques. Teenagers often find it difficult to control their anger due to hormonal changes, low self-esteem, or discomfort communicating their feelings. While most teenagers learn how to control their anger over time, others may continue to struggle with anger management due to underlying difficulties with anxiety, depression, and other common mental health issues.
Today, we’re exploring seven anger management techniques you may find helpful.
Anger Management Techniques
If you feel angry often and struggle to control your feelings, you may find these anger management techniques helpful. Take a look and try using one technique next time you become angry. If the technique helps you remain calm and maintain control of the anger you felt, consider keeping it in mind as a tool you can use whenever you get angry. If, however, it doesn’t help, simply pick another technique and try it out. You don’t need to use all of these anger management techniques, you just need the one that works for you. There’s no right or wrong formula to managing anger, so find what works for you and stick with it.
1. Analyze Your Anger
Angry feelings can crop up even when you’re not actually angry at a specific person or situation. For example, you have probably heard the term “hangry,” used to describe that antsy, irritable feeling you might get when you are very hungry. Anxiety, sadness, tiredness, and fear can all sometimes feel like anger even though they’re really separate emotions. In addition, there are all types of anger, from mild annoyance all the way up to shaking fury.
When you notice that you’re getting angry, take a couple of minutes to figure out what you’re really feeling. Have you eaten lately? Did you get a good night’s sleep last night? Are you worried about an upcoming test? Did you recently break up with your boyfriend or girlfriend? If you are feeling angry, is the situation something that is just irritating to you, or are you filled with rage? Identifying what you are actually feeling can help you know what to do to help yourself.
2. Express Your Feelings Using the Right Words
It’s important to learn how to advocate for yourself and for your feelings by using words that are assertive without being rude or aggressive. Rather than saying to someone, “you always…” or “you never…” start with how you feel. For example, saying to your parent, “You are always running late when it’s time to drive me somewhere!” is likely to put them on the defensive. Instead, try saying something like, “I feel anxious when we’re running late because I will get in trouble if I’m not at work on time.” This is more likely to result in cooperative problem-solving rather than an argument.
Expressing your feelings isn’t easy. Sometimes the words just don’t come to us. Other times, we say things we don’t really mean. Still, you can develop the ability to express your feelings with practice. If you have a hard time finding the words when you’re in the moment, you can try writing your thoughts down first or talking to yourself beforehand. This technique can be practiced on paper, with a friend, or out loud in private, which is why it’s one of the most powerful anger management techniques on this list.
3. Practice Relaxation Techniques
If your anger is making you clench your fists, grind your teeth, and tense your muscles, you should find a way to physically relax. When you relax your body, you’ll be more in control of your emotions. There are several ways you might do this. One practice that you can do anytime and in any place is meditation. You don’t need to spend an hour with your eyes closed to meditate; once you learn how to do it, you’ll find that you can just take a minute to breathe deeply and focus on letting go of your angry feelings.
Yoga, progressive muscle relaxation, and guided imagery are more ways that you can learn how to relax your body and focus your thoughts.
4. Get Physical Exercise
Why is exercise included in this list of anger management techniques? Have you ever noticed how relaxed and emotionally calm you feel after a good workout? Exercise releases endorphins, which are feel-good hormones. When you exercise every day, it will make you physically and mentally healthier. You’ll find that your moods stay more even, you sleep better, and your anxiety levels go down. All of this can reduce anger and irritability. If you are in the middle of a situation that is making you angry, going for a quick run can help diffuse some of those feelings as well as give you some time to think about the situation and decide what your next action should be.
5. Keep a Journal
Writing down your feelings can help you look back and identify patterns over time. Jot down the date and time of when you’re feeling angry. Include what’s happening and how you feel. After a few weeks, look back and see if there are any times or situations that are triggering your anger. If you are very irritable early in the morning, it could be that you’re not getting enough sleep or that you need a more pleasant wake-up routine. If you’re always mad after math class, it could be that the class is stressful for you; look for ways to make it less so (e.g. a math tutor, switching into a different math class, or simply using your relaxation techniques during or after the class). As one of the most commonly used anger management techniques, we encourage you to jot down your thoughts and feelings regularly.
6. Listen to Music
You probably have favorite music that helps you relax or that gets you motivated to work out or put some time into a hard study session. Look for music that helps you feel better when you are angry, too. It could be hard rock, country music, or even some relaxing classical music. Experiment to see what makes you feel better and create a playlist or two for those times when you’re feeling annoyed or irritated. Distracting yourself with music can help you focus on something other than whatever is making you mad.
7. Know When to Get Help
There are sometimes when anger isn’t normal or healthy. If you are angry more often than you’re not angry, you could be struggling with an anger problem. Also, if you are acting aggressively or violently, this is an indication that you might need professional help to manage your anger better. There’s no shame in reaching out for help; managing anger is something that adults need to work on, too. It’s better to get a handle on it now before you reach adulthood.
Anger has the potential to negatively affect your job and your adult relationships, so the skills that you learn now can have a lifetime impact. If you need help controlling your anger, talk to your parents, a coach, or another trusted adult. Your physician can also refer you to a mental health specialist who can help you get to the bottom of what’s causing your anger and teach you strategies to control it so it does not end up controlling you.