Here are some tips for managing your anger and advice on how to deal with someone else’s anger or aggressive confrontations.
Breathe. Anger is often an instantaneous and instinctual response to a situation. It can range from mild annoyance to an overwhelming rage. But, most of the time, anger diminishes or passes. So if you find yourself feeling overwhelmed by anger, take a few minutes to breathe deeply or take a walk so you can calm down.
Step Away. Words said in anger are rarely well thought out. And you can’t take them back. If you find yourself really angry at a partner or co-worker, sometimes it’s better just to admit those feelings and walk away to think about your response. It’s fine to say, “I just need a few minutes to be alone and get my thoughts together.”
Think About It. Sometimes logic is anger’s worst enemy. We’re often angry about things that we’ve misinterpreted or blown out of proportion. We may think a friend did something on purpose to upset us, but when we look closer at the situation realize it was unintentional. Or something that really outraged us – like a roommate eating the last of your favorite snack – may seem less important on second thought.
Express It (The Right Way). Sometimes we get angry because the same things keep happening over and over – our partner interrupts us, a friend stands us up or a co-worker keeps making mistakes. Addressing these problems in a moment of anger can make things worse. But it is important to bring it up in the right way because the other person(s) involved may not realize they are making you angry or may be able to change things to improve the situation.
Get Help. We can train and improve our emotional health in the same way we can our physical health. Just because some of us may be more prone to anger doesn’t mean we can’t learn to control it. Counselors can share exercises and treatments that will make it easier for you to deal with anger and make it less likely that those feelings interfere with the important parts of your life.
Now, what if you are concerned about or being confronted by someone else’s anger? First, realize that your physical and emotional safety is important. If you feel threatened, it’s OK to let someone know. Secondly, don’t fuel the fire or participate in confrontations driven by anger. It’s fine to say, “I want to talk to you about this, but not while you are this angry.” Walk away and find a more appropriate time to talk. Lastly, you can encourage a friend, partner or co-worker to find ways to deal with their anger by talking to a counselor, and you may need to remove yourself from the situation until they get that help.