8 Point Plan

8 Point Plan for Controlling Anger

1. Recognising Stress

Recognising that stress is a major contributor and underlying cause of anger is an important first step. Learning how to reduce stress in your life will inevitably lead to less anger. How can you reduce stress? Well first you must identify what areas of your life are causing you stress from there it is a matter of working out how to minimise it. Stress is when a person perceives that the pressures or demands they are experiencing exceed their ability to cope.  Often stress creeps up on us, it is one thing piled on top of another and often we don’t even recognise that it is stress and we just end up feeling ill or having very sharp tempers with others.

2. Tolerance

Learning to be tolerant of other people by seeing things from their perspective will reduce the levels of irritation you may feel building up. This involves realising that everybody has a point of view and they are equally as entitled to make it as you are.  Getting angry with someone for doing or saying things you don’t like is not showing tolerance, neither is passive/aggressive behaviour or being impatient with others.  Tolerance is recognising the equal rights of others to express themselves and go at their own pace.  Tolerance is showing fairness and a concern for the opinions and ideas of others even when they oppose your own opinions and ideas.

3. Communication Techniques

You can learn to choose how you respond to any situation instead of having a seemingly uncontrollable reaction. Make the decision that the next time you are in a situation that usually sets you off, you will decide to react differently. Learn ways to communicate your thoughts and feelings to others calmly.  Think about the most effective way to communicate your ideas and think long-term, not what feels best in that instant, but what is the best outcome you wish to have, for example if you shout at someone because you become angry, they may see you simply as an emotional person who can’t be reasoned with.  This is hardly the best outcome in the long run.  To learn more read this article about communicating with others more effectively

4. Retreat and Think Things Over 

If you find yourself so angry that you feel you are losing control, it is best to walk away and cool down.  It’s OK to ask the other person if you can talk about it later as you feel the situation is becoming too heated.  This will give you the opportunity to calm down and think about a better way to say what you want to say and think about what the other person was saying.  Also, if you are confronted by an angry person remember that you are only validating this negative emotion if you stay and argue with them. Just keep you own cool, politely say “I’ll talk to you when you are calmer” and walk away.

5. Positive Thought Techniques

Changing your way of thinking is not as difficult as it would seem. Humans are hard wired to learn at all stages of our lives. Repeating an outcome to yourself when in a relaxed frame of mind can have amazing effects. The trick here is to not wait until you are in a rage before trying to get your thoughts under control. You can read more about positive thought techniques.

6. Assertiveness Training

There are many confident and successful people who benefit greatly from receiving some assertiveness training and in some companies staff are sent on courses to receive just that. These are skills that you can then carry with you throughout your life and they are a great way of negotiating with another person to arrive at an amicable solution to a problem. Therefore these kinds of skills would be very beneficial to someone who is having a difficult time with their communication with others. You can find out more about Assertiveness Training here.

7. Meditate

If you are consumed with worries and stress or negative thoughts try to calm your mind and relax your body. Meditation is about stopping, breathing, consciously relaxing your mind and body and feeling at one with yourself. It can be used to create a deeper level of consciousness.  For anyone who needs help with beginning meditation, I recommend this CD.

8. Identify if you need to seek Professional Help

In certain circumstances you may feel that you need some professional guidance and that the techniques outlined in this page will just not be effective enough. In this case you should either go to your GP or make an appointment with a Psychologist. These professionals will be able to direct you to the help you need. It may be that you need to talk things through in a therapy session or you may need to get some behaviour therapy.