Perhaps your blood pressure rockets in traffic. Maybe you feel yourself at boiling point when your kids refuse to co-operate. Anger is a normal human emotion. We all get angry from time to time, however often with feelings of regret.

Anger womanIt is important that you learn to deal with your anger as constant exposure to anger will have a detrimental effect on your health, your family and your relationships. Yet what are the key steps if you are to manage your anger?

Perhaps you will be surprised to see the first suggestion: Exercise.  When we are angry it can feel like we are being attacked, so our body releases hormones to help us. When you exercise regularly you are better at managing the levels in your body. If you feel anger rise you could try letting it out through exercise such as a brisk walk round the block.

Relaxation, again you may be surprised to see this. Yet this is something you can do away from those flare ups. It helps you to manage your mood and give you more control in those moments when the red mist starts.  Relaxation is many things; it can be as simple as doing the things that you enjoy. That might be time alone with your thoughts, reading, having a coffee, ‘what’ is not important just that it is valuable to you. It makes a difference helping you to feel less stressed and lets you unwind.

By being in control of your breathing you can make a big difference to your reactions. If you can, when you feel anger rising, try to step away from the situation. Yet even if that is not possible, you can still try to focus on your breathing. Think about breathing in for a count of 4 then hold for a count of 2 then breathe out for a count of eight. If you concentrate on your breathing for 4 or 5 cycles you should find that you are able to think about all of the options open to you.  If the anger descends again repeat the exercise. {as with all breathing exercises, if you feel dizzy or light headed you should stop immediately}

One of the most common issues described by clients is having a short fuse. “These things are all very well, but I am already out of control before I get a chance to think”. It is worth spending some time thinking different perspectives on these:

Often the techniques and behaviours are skills so only improve with practice knowing about them is not enough? You cannot read a book on riding a bike and hope to succeed first time.

If you are in a situation that you know triggers your anger or has raised your feelings of anger in the past, think about taking a timeout. Try to look at all of the alternatives try to look at the solutions not the problems.

Anger is part of everyone’s experience. Learning to control your anger and channel it in useful ways that help you express yourself and move towards solutions are key skills to grasp.  It is possible to master these by taking time and caring for yourself, why not take the first step today.