You’re angry. You feel as if your head could explode and your heart may just beat out of your chest. You’re at a loss for what to do but need to calm down before it gets any worse. We’ve all been there—whether it was something small and trivial that caused us to reach our boiling point or a serious misfortune that resulted in anger.
Follow these steps to relieve yourself of the fury:
1) Take a few deep breaths.
First and foremost, you need to breathe. This will allow your heart rate to slow down, as well as correct any other physical reactions to the anger. Focus on nothing but your breathing—work on making them deep and slow, and continue this until you can feel your body has relaxed.
2) Step away from the situation.
Oftentimes, another person is to blame for our rage. So rather than allowing the situation to progress or end in a physical or verbal altercation, step aside and gain control of your emotions. Because when we allow anger to take control, we often regret the outcome.
3) Evaluate and understand the cause.
Sometimes we snap—it’s as simple as that. Maybe we had a rough day that made the issue at hand seem much greater or maybe it’s a touchy subject. Whatever the case, we should analyze exactly why we’re upset so that we can determine a good route moving forward. This way, we’re not taking our anger out on someone who doesn’t really deserve it or spending time upset about something that doesn’t deserve the attention.
4) Focus your attention elsewhere.
If you’ve decided that your anger may be unwarranted or you just don’t want to waste time being upset, focus on something else. Go on a run or a bike ride, get some work done, spend time with some friends or family. Do something other than think about what happened.
5) Talk it out.
Maybe you can’t just let it go and you have a legitimate reason to be upset. The best thing you can do in this case is talk it out. If your anger involves someone else, talk to them directly and calmly about your feelings—don’t scream and fight, but have a mature conversation. If your anger is due to something else, talk it out with a good friend. They might be able to offer insight or some helpful advice specific to the situation at hand.
6) Cut it out.
If this anger persists due to a specific person or reason, maybe you should make some changes and cut it or them out of your life. You’ll be happier, more pleasant to be around, and won’t find yourself stuck in an angry rut all of the time.
7) Write it out.
Sometimes all it takes is writing it down. We often just want to get the anger out of our system and can easily do so by picking up a pen and letting it flow through the ink. In addition to writing about the situation, it can be helpful to make lists such as reasons why the situation made you upset as well as different ways to react in the future.
You’ve spent all that time being angry, now take a moment to relax. Do a yoga session, listen to calming music, take a bubble bath, go for a drive. Do whatever it takes to have a serene moment to yourself. This will help make up for all the fuel your body may have burned being angry.
9) Do something you enjoy.
Watch an episode of The Office, go out with your friends, read a chapter of the book you just bought—do something you enjoy, something that brings you happiness. This will often put things into perspective and also lend some comfort at difficult times.
10) Let it go.
You’ve calmed down. You’ve determined whether or not the situation at hand deserves your attention and distress. You’ve confronted the problem in a productive manner. You’ve taken time away from the stressful situation and redirected your focus. Now what? All that’s left to do is let it go. Nothing beneficial comes from holding in anger. This will only negatively impact your life from your mood to your health to your relationships.
Anger is a natural part of life, designed to protect us from dangerous or harmful situations—there’s just no escaping it. And while it isn’t fun to be angry or upset at the time, we certainly wouldn’t appreciate our happiness if we didn’t experience these negative emotions from time-to-time.
You’re so mad right now that you feel like screaming and thrashing. You want to cry from the stress of the situation. Maybe your blood started boiling while you were stuck in traffic, heard something you didn’t want to hear or had an argument with your spouse or friend. The circumstances don’t really matter, because all you know is you’re angry and need to vent quickly.
The first thing to realize is that you need to manage the anger before it takes over, as well as learn strategies for calming down in the heat of the moment. This is not the time to react or even say very much. When frustrations drive your actions, the results are usually not very good and often regrettable. While it may seem like the hardest thing to do right now in this state is to stay quiet and let some time pass, you need to find a way to calm your nerves. The goal is to keep your emotions in check—so they don’t do any damage.
There is nothing wrong with anger, so don’t beat yourself up for feeling angry or frustrated at the situation. Instead of unleashing the frustrations, find something that takes you out of the situation for a while in order to cool down and get your bearings.
Tips to Calm You Down When You’re Angry
The following suggestions may help when you find yourself in a situation where you’re seething with anger. Find the one that works best for you.
- Getting away from a situation that is causing you to feel angry can help you to calm down and think things through. Being outdoors and focusing on nature can be even more helpful. Besides, taking a walk will help burn off some of the negative energy instantly and can help you get away from the problem. When you’re in the middle of an argument, there is nothing wrong with taking a “time out” to go for a walk.
- Most situations don’t require an immediate response, and walking out of the room or building to give yourself time is ideal.
- If you’re prone to fits of anger, it’s likely your first impulse isn’t a good one. If you want to kick the car, punch a wall or scream at someone, ask yourself if what you want to do is really good and productive. Take a minute to understand how you should act and consider what would calm you down the most.
- Slowly repeat gentle phrases to yourself, such as, “take it easy, “cool off” or something that helps.
- A vigorous run may do the trick.
- Use visualization by closing your eyes and picturing yourself in a favorite place.
- Count to 10, 50 or 100 if you feel you’re about to do or say something harmful. It may work as a quick, easy way to separate yourself mentally from the situation.
- Splash some cold water on your face.
- Slow down and focus on your breathing. Conscious breathing involves taking slow, deep breaths in through your nose and slowly out through your mouth.
- Phone a supportive friend or family member, who will listen and calm you down.
- Try to replace negative, angry thoughts with positive, rational ones. Even if you’re feeling upset, remind yourself that getting angry isn’t going to fix the way you’re feeling.
- Spend time de-stressing by doing something that makes you happy, such as reading, painting or spending time with friends.
- Exercise is an ideal way to relieve stress.
- Practice relaxation techniques, including listening to soothing sounds or songs or doing meditation or yoga.
- Keep a journal or log about your anger. Record the feelings you experienced, what factors contributed to it and how you responded. Try to write the thoughts that were going through your mind at the time. Then, reflect on these instances and see if there’s any pattern to your anger.
- You may opt to participate in an anger management program, which has proven to be very successful. Effective programs help you to understand anger, develop short-term strategies to deal with it and build your emotional control skills.
- Find a therapist who will help identify and treat the root of your anger problems. A therapist can give you relaxation techniques to use in situations that make you feel angry, as well as help you to develop emotional coping skills and communication training.
- Using cognitive restructuring means changing the way you think about things. It can be easy to focus on the things that are making you angry to such a degree that you may believe irrational things–like everything in your life is bad. Cognitive restructuring encourages you to use rational and positive thoughts to have a better view of what is going on in your life.
The consequences that come with angry outbursts may be putting a strain on your relationship with your spouse, children or others.
Take time to reflect on how your anger can be affecting those around you. It’s important to note any other emotions you may be feeling besides anger.
It may be that depression, confusion or frustration is playing a role. Consider taking an anger management course or visiting a counselor to help with anger issues.