Self regulation

Controlling Anger Before it Controls You

We all know what anger is, and we’ve all felt it: whether as a fleeting annoyance or as a fully-fledged range. Anger is a completely normal and healthy emotion. But when it gets out of control and turns destructive, it can lead to difficulties at work, in our personal relationships and in the overall quality of our lives. That is why learning self regulation is paramount to a full, healthy life.

Learning to control anger can limit emotional damage.

When we know how to manage our emotions and impulses, we function at our best; it means we act in accordance with our social conscience rather than just doing what we want to do. This is called self-regulation. For instance, have you ever found yourself pushed for time with your own workload but still go out of your way to assist another team member with a piece of work? That is you acting in accordance with your own social conscience.

Being self regulated means we’re able to bounce back from negativity, which stops from us wallowing in a self pity of being less productive.

So how do we keep anger at bay?

  1. Relaxation — Simple relaxation tools, such as deep breathing and relaxed imagery, can help calm down angry feelings.
  2. Cognitive restructuring-simply put, this means changing the way you think. When you are angry your thinking can get very exaggerated and overly dramatic, try replacing these thoughts with more rational ones.
  3. Problem Solving — There is a cultural belief that every problem has a solution, and it adds to our frustration to find out that this isn’t always the case. The best attitude to bring to such a situation then is not to focus on finding solutions, but rather on how you handle and face the problem.
  4. Better communication — Slow down and think your response through. Think carefully about what you want to say. Keeping your cool can keep the situation from becoming a conversation that cannot be taken back.
  5. Change your environment — Ensure that you have some personal time scheduled for times of the day that you know are particularly stressful.

If those around us can see we’re able to keep calm under pressure and accept feedback without getting angry, they’re more likely to trust us, which in turn makes us more approachable and subsequently strengthens our relationships.

Do you need more support?

Learn more about problem anger and when to seek help

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Written by Valentina Grasevski (psychologist)

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