Anger is an emotion that, if not properly channeled, can be harmful to the individual and those around him. Learn to express it more healthily.
Anger is an emotion that every human being has felt in life, as it is innate and guarantees survival. However, it can be harmful to the individual, especially if it is experienced intensely and frequently and is expressed inappropriately.
Has it happened to you? Have you ever felt that anger consumed you and made you do or say things that would not otherwise be part of your actions? So, discover a series of tips that will help you release anger in the best way.
Anger: a basic emotion
Anger has been defined in various ways. Among the most accepted conceptions is to consider it a primary emotion since it is innate, universal (it manifests itself in all cultures), and its function is adaptive. This effective state usually occurs when goals or objectives are frustrated or when a need’s satisfaction is prevented.
The purpose of this response is to promote actions that stop threatening or harmful stimuli. In this sense, it prepares the individual for the attack. That is why it has been classified as a reaction that seeks the species’ survival and adaptation.
The manifestation of anger involves the activation of cognitive, physiological, and behavioral components in the human body. The intensity and duration of the emotion, the reasons that cause it, and the actions to be taken will depend on various factors, such as culture, gender, genetics, social norms, etc.
However, anger does not always imply adaptation and survival: the negative consequences of this emotion have harmed many people. Especially when intensity and frequency exceed expected levels.
The most common negative consequences are mistreatment of other people, revenge, distorted perceptions of reality, inability to assess the situation adequately, and health problems (both physical and mental).
Expressions of anger
Although anger is an emotional state that every human being can experience, not everyone expresses or manifests it in the same way. Three basic styles for coping with anger have been identified:
- Internal anger: consists of the constant repression and denial of thoughts and memories related to the situation that causes anger. Even feelings of anger, rage, and/or rage can also be repressed or rejected.
- External anger: anger manifests itself through verbal or physical aggression towards other people or objects.
- Anger control: it is based on the search and implementation of strategies to solve the problem and reduce the intensity and duration of anger.
That said, people are expected to have an appropriate expression of anger by having control over it. Otherwise, the emotion will become a harmful reaction for the individual and negatively affect various areas of life, especially their interpersonal relationships and health.
How to release anger properly?
Controlling anger does not mean suppressing it because repressing it would be an inappropriate form of anger expression. Likewise, releasing anger does not imply giving free rein to feelings of anger, anger, or rage, thus justifying mistreatment or harm to other people or objects.
Releasing anger properly is allowing this emotion to take place without letting it take over you. Therefore, here are some tips that will help you channel this emotion and prevent it from harming you.
1. Accept anger and acknowledge it
First of all, anger must be recognized and accepted as a normal reaction. Feeling this emotion is not bad; instead, what is judged is what each one does with it.
2. Be aware of your thoughts and your bodily reactions
On the other hand, it is important to identify how that emotion is manifested in each one. One way is to ask yourself the following questions when you are angry: What do you feel? How does your breathing feel? What expression does your face have? Do you feel any tension in your body? Where?
It is also important to recognize what situations wake her up, what actions you usually take in those circumstances, and what thoughts come to your mind. Identifying and being aware of these aspects is an important step since it will allow the development of strategies that will facilitate anger control (such as relaxation techniques or breathing exercises ).
3. Learn to relax your muscles
It is believed that progressive muscle relaxation training would help to release anger appropriately. In general terms, this technique consists of gradually contracting all the muscle groups and then relaxing them. It is recommended to do this activity both in stress-free moments and in situations that provoke anger.
4. Breathe in and out calmly
One way to control your emotions is to do the same with your breath. Most effective states, such as fear or anger, speed up breathing. So if you start to breathe in and out slowly and deeply, the body will begin to relax, and the intensity of the anger will decrease.
5. Try to understand the situation and focus on solving the problem
Controlling or transforming anger does not mean forgetting the problem or ignoring injustice. These can be resolved through assertive behaviors that do not involve raising one’s voice, attacking, or violating the other. In this way, disagreements can be expressed calmly and respectfully since the goal is to be heard.
Therefore, it is important to focus on how to solve the situation without resorting to violent demonstrations. Trying to understand the circumstances and find a solution will significantly help to release anger and decrease discomfort.
6. Challenge biases that incite inappropriate expressions
Beliefs that legitimize inappropriate expressions of anger have been identified, among which are: “the other person is responsible or guilty of my anger,” “I am guilty or responsible for the other’s anger,” “if I get angry enough with the other then will do what I want,» and so on.
These prejudices need to be rethought and changed, as they can contribute to abuse and guilt. The only person responsible for one’s own emotions is oneself, as well as each one, has the ability to transform and express them in the best possible way.
7. Make meditation a practice
Meditation would effectively release anger since it fosters cognitive flexibility (ability to consider other perspectives or points of view), acceptance of negative emotions, and detachment from prejudices; Also, it reduces the stress on the body. These benefits are vital to coping well with anger.
8. Try to change that emotional state by smiling
Anger can also be transformed by smiling. This exercise can be accompanied by deep inspirations and exhalations, which smile as you breathe out the air.
As is well known, anger activates physiological components; tension in the muscles is one of them. Thus, by smiling, the face will begin to relax, and anger will tend to decrease.
9. Avoid venting anger by hitting objects
Many therapists advise “release practices” to release anger, such as hitting a pillow, slamming a door, kicking an object, and so on. However, this method only serves to make you feel better temporarily since when anger is manifested in this way, it incites a state of exhaustion rather than releasing anger.
In other words, the anger is still there; the difference is that the person feels exhausted to allow himself to feel angry. Eventually, the emotion will rise again, either from encountering similar situations or realizing that hitting objects did not solve the root problem.
Get help managing anger
Releasing anger properly is not always easy. Some cases require therapeutic assistance to control or transform this emotional state. Counseling has proven to be of great help to these people who feel they cannot control it.
Also, some people have a condition that makes it difficult for them to implement coping strategies. For example, people with brain injury or personality disorders. In such circumstances, professional help is appropriate to achieve meaningful and effective change.