Do you ever get so angry, you feel out of control? 

Anger is one of those emotions that comes on fast and stays for a long time.

It’s easier to feel than, say, sadness or fear, because it’s so strong and immediate. It’s okay to feel this anger, but sometimes you might snap and say or do something you regret. 

On my website Little Red Telescope, I give suggestions for stepping back from that sudden flash of anger. Here are some ways to deal with it:

  • Acknowledge the feeling of anger. It might be hard to identify at first, because you’re so engrossed in feeling that rage. But it’s important to realize that what you’re feeling is, in fact, anger.
  • Take a deep breath and get some distance. Not only will stepping back give you some perspective; it will also stop you from immediately lashing out at a loved one. 
  • Be curious. Inquire into why the other person acted the way they did. Try to understand the situation.
  • Realize that it’s not personal. Anger is often a secondary emotion, one we take out on others when we have no other outlet. It’s very possible the other person’s having a bad day, and their actions have nothing to do with you at all.
  • Speak in terms of “I” rather than “you.” The only actions you can control are your own. If you want to speak with the other person, focus on how their actions affected you. How are you feeling? Where are you coming from? Rather than placing all the weight on their actions, hone in on how you reacted and why. 

What techniques have you found that help when you get angry?

By Courtland McPherson, MSW, LCSW (Regular Guest Blogger)