Keep your anger in check.
If you feel find yourself waking up on the wrong side of the bed more days than not, you might be starting to wonder what’s wrong with you. You didn’t used to be this angry all the time. Is something wrong?
If it seems like even the smallest things have the ability to set you off or you find yourself snapping at others out of anger, you already know that something’s got to change. Anger issues are common, but learning how to control your emotions, especially in the heat of the moment, is critical.
So if you’re tired of wondering, “Why am I so angry all the time?” learning how to deal with anger effectively can help you get control over your feelings — so they stop controlling you.
Anger can be unsettling, even alarming, for those in its proximity. But anger can be especially terrifying for the person who is feeling it because, often, they don’t know any anger management tools for how to deal with their upset emotions and keep them in check.
When you’re angry, your emotions could feel like a runaway train. And if you lash out in anger or behave reflexively in high-intensity moments without meaning to, you may have to do some damage control.
Even if you bottle up your feelings, you may suffer the negative self-talk of either blaming the other person for your angry feelings or blaming yourself for not knowing what to do in the moment. On the outside, you might appear to handle difficult situations skillfully and calmly, when in reality, you’re struggling with the inner turmoil of second-guessing yourself.
When it comes to dealing with anger issues, people seem to fall into two groups:
One seeks help with their anger, expresses feeling helpless when they lose their temper, jeopardizes relationships, their marriage, or job, and so on. When they try to control their temper, they bottle it up, until they finally have an outburst.
The other group represents the underside of anger. They don’t see themselves as having an anger management problem at all. Individuals in this group may see themselves as the bigger person, as they apologize to “keep the peace,” yet resent the other person afterward. They feel blameless.
He/she may seek therapy to deal with their emotions more effectively, describe feeling stuck, taken advantage of, or unable to say “no.” They may state they feel depressed or anxious, angry and, even when they believe they know the cause, they don’t know what to do about the feelings and or anxiety that claim them.
These individuals bottle up, withdraw, shut down, delay, or avoid confrontation. They may even think they don’t have an anger problem because they avoid confrontation. Generally, he or she would suffer in silence until they have an outburst, and then resume the cycle.
Over time, they may have come to dismiss the triggers because acknowledging them caused anger or upset, without resolution or relief.
Neither group expresses themselves coherently and effectively with respect to the upsetting situation. At that moment, individuals in both groups are driven by pure emotion or a spike in anxiety. They default to familiar reactive patterns devoid of reason and, at the mercy of reflexive behavior, feel a loss of control that frequently results in outcomes that are disappointing or worse.
Even more perilous is that, if you struggle with these kinds of anger, you may have the impulse to take action the moment something gets to you. In addition to lashing out, you might be inclined to explain yourself.
Perhaps you believe that if the other person only knows how important the matter is, or could just see that you’re “right,” they’d understand and make the adjustments needed for you to feel more comfortable. Or maybe you just bottle up or shut down.
Here are 6 ways to deal with your anger issues, so you can stop worrying, “Why am I so angry all the time?” and learn how to address your feelings appropriately.
1. Understand you can only control yourself.
You cannot change another person (and they cannot change you). You can only change your attitude and behavior. Often, by changing yourself, others in your life will change their behavior, too.
2. Don’t place blame for your anger.
People tend to blame another person for their own anger, anxiety, or behavior. Although you may not like what another person says or does, how you behave is on you. And though you may try, it’s not accurate to blame another person for your behavior.
Your behavior is the result of your own decision.
3. Don’t talk about what made you upset when you’re angry.
The worst time to address, repair, resolve, or deal with what got to you is when you are upset. Avoid discussing what occurred at that moment at all costs, or at least to whatever extent you can. You may not be thinking clearly and perceive the situation in a biased way.
Give yourself time to digest what happened. Ask yourself, “How can I step back and give myself time in the heat of the moment?” There are alternatives to reflexively lashing out or bottling up in these moments.
Initially, when you feel angry or deeply hurt after someone says or does something, you feel it internally. That is automatic and involuntary and sometimes feels beyond your control. It is after being aware you had that strong, internal reaction you could decide what to do.
4. Find new ways to calm yourself down.
Rather than your usual automatic behavior, step back from the situation politely by saying, “Would you excuse me? I’ll be back in a couple of minutes.”
At that point, you can do a few different things:
- Go to a private place, usually a bathroom, whether it is a public space or your own apartment if other people are there.
- Write in a “notes” app on your phone. Put the date and time and the name of the other person involved. Write exactly what they said or did that got to you, then a few words of context so you’ll remember this in a few weeks if you need to. Note the intensity of the internal feeling you had about what they said or did on a scale of 1 to 10/
- Take 15 deep breaths.
- Ask yourself questions like: “Is this a matter of life and death?” “Do I usually have a good result when I act at the moment or soon after I’m very upset?” “What could I do now?” “What’s the worst that could happen if I wait until later or another day to discuss this?”
At the very least, you are taking care of yourself emotionally and you may be able to feel less upset.
5. Give yourself a chance to calm down and reflect before going back.
The impulse to act immediately is internally generated. Think about it. You may agree that 95 percent of the time, the provoking situation does not absolutely require that you act on it immediately.
By stepping back, you may accept the reality that the impulse to act immediately would very likely have an undesirable outcome. And if you bottle up or shut down, realize that if you could digest and perhaps wait until later or another day to address, you may not feel the same pressure or frustration.
Sometimes, just by leaving a charged situation you can change the dynamic. While you are gone it may allow for the other person to have a moment of reflection, or the situation may diffuse in some way … but if you stay in the situation and stick to old patterns of behavior, nothing new and healthy happen.
The intent is to calm down enough so you can re-enter the scene where you were upset with the knowledge that it is likely that nothing you do at that moment will be effective for you or the situation.
Aim to be as pleasant as you can because you know you will deal with it later, if you so choose, when there is time and you are both in a calm place.
6. Consider how you can address the topic again without triggering your anger.
What makes the idea of the conversation about another person’s words or behavior so upsetting? When you think of conversations in your head, you feel upset all over again and spark the ingredients of confrontation.
However, if you can discover techniques and ways of speaking to the other person that are exploratory — not accusatory — you can sidestep blaming them.
This will help you avoid turning an imagined confrontation into a conversation where you can both learn about and work with each other, and ultimately, help you learn how to deal with anger issues more effectively so you stop feeling so angry all the time.