Generally speaking, anger is usually viewed as a negative emotion. However, anger is one of our basic emotions that serves a purpose to communicate how we’re feeling. Situationally, it’s the “right” emotion to feel. For example, it keeps our sense of social responsibility and justice in tack. It’s good to feel angry when good people are treated unfairly or when those who do wrong aren’t punished. It also communicates that things aren’t well with us. Anger itself is good, but when it becomes excessive, uncontrollable, and unreasonable, that’s when it’s a problem. That kind of anger is a dangerous and unhealthy emotion influencing poor decision making. Here are some ways we can take a step back and take control of our anger.

Know your triggers – What pushes off the edge? What pushes that button that sets you loose? There are internal and external triggers that can send us into an angry state. Internal triggers would be not getting enough sleep, being hungry, or bored. External triggers could be someone being rude to you, traffic on the way to work, or a noisy neighbor. Be mindful and recognize what your triggers are. Just be aware of them, don’t try to justify them.

Have a mantra – Once you know what triggers you, you can be more aware of how you respond to them. When you recognize a trigger, have a mantra prepared that you can turn to. This way, when you feel yourself being triggered, you can repeat a calming phrase to yourself that will refocus and recenter you – taking your attention off the trigger. This way, your triggers don’t actually fire a rise within you.

Remember there are different perspectives aside from your own – We can forget that people experience the world differently from us. Our experience can have more than one perspective and seeing those perspectives can help minimize the importance of things that stress us out.

Don’t ruminate – When something happens, we might get so wrapped up about it, that we continue to drag it out long after the trigger has passed. Focusing on something that already happened keeps us in stuck in that moment and we’re not able to move on with the next steps in our lives. For example, someone stole our parking spot in the parking lot at the grocery store. Then we drag that frustration and anger with us into the store and while we’re shopping. Because we’re still hung up, we forget to buy something we were supposed to. Then we get home and someone is upset that we didn’t buy what we were supposed to. Then we blame the person who stole are parking stall for throwing us off.

Don’t hang onto anger – Let the past be in the past. Don’t focus on your hurt and anger from yesterday, that will hold you back from happiness you could be experiencing today. Even though it feels right and we don’t want things to be “okay” when it’s not right, doesn’t mean we have to carry the anger into another day. Let it go. Doesn’t mean you have to accept something, just don’t attach your emotions to it. Let yourself experience the happiness of a new day.

If you have trouble controlling your anger or feel like you’re easily triggered, please contact Crownview Medical Group to get in touch with a trained medical professional who can provide you with some helpful advice and work with your individual needs.