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How do I manage my ANGER ?

Doctor, I have serious anger issues and I would really like to know how to deal with these. Recently, if not for the intervention of my neighbours, I almost stabbed my younger brother out of anger. I believe there are ways I can manage this, please help me. Thank you

Isaac, Enugu

Anger is a normal and even healthy emotion, but it’s important to deal with it in a positive way. Uncontrolled anger can take a toll on both your physical and mental health including your relationships.

I’m pleased you have realized that this is a problem that you want to deal with. This is a good way for your pathway to recovery from this challenge. To get your anger under control, you can start by considering these 10 anger management tips.

1. Think before you speak

In the heat of the moment, it’s easy to say something you’ll later regret. Take a few moments to collect your thoughts before saying anything and allow others involved in the situation to do the same.

2. Once you’re calm, express your anger

As soon as you’re thinking clearly, express your frustration in an assertive, but non- confrontational way. State your concerns and needs clearly and directly, without hurting others or trying to control them.

3. Get some exercise. Physical activity can help reduce stress that can cause you to become angry. If you feel your anger escalating, go for a brisk walk or run, or spend some time doing other enjoyable physical activities.

4. Take a timeout. Timeouts aren’t just for children. Give yourself short breaks during times of the day that tend to be stressful. A few moments of quiet time might help you feel better prepared to handle what’s ahead without getting irritated or angry.

5. Identify possible solutions. Instead of focusing on what made you mad, work on resolving the issue at hand. Does your brother’s messy room drive you crazy? Close the door. Is your partner late for dinner every night? Schedule meals later in the evening or agree to eat on your own a few times a week. Does your colleague at work get you angry deliberately? Report to a superior or take a walk. Remind yourself that anger won’t fix anything and might only make it worse.

6. Stick with ‘I’ statements. To avoid criticizing or placing blame which might only increase tension, use “I” statements to describe the problem. Be respectful and specific. For example, say, “I’m upset that you left the table without offering to help with the dishes” instead of “You never do any housework.”

7. Don’t hold a grudge. Forgiveness is a powerful tool. If you allow anger and other negative feelings to crowd out positive feelings, you might find yourself swallowed up by your own bitterness or sense of injustice. But if you can forgive someone who angered you, you might both learn from the situation and strengthen your relationship.

8. Use humor to release tension. Lightening up can help defuse tension. Use humour to help you face what’s making you angry and, possibly, any unrealistic expectations you have for how things should go. Avoid sarcasm, though, it can hurt feelings and make things worse.

9. Practice relaxation skills. When your temper flares, put relaxation skills to work. Practice deep-breathing exercises, imagine a relaxing scene, or repeat a calming word or phrase, such as “Take it easy.” You might also listen to music, write in a journal or do a few yoga poses, whatever it takes to encourage relaxation.

10. Know when to seek help. Learning to control anger is a challenge for everyone at times. Seek help for anger issues if your anger seems out of control, causes you to do things you regret or hurts those around you. I will advise you seek help from psychologists, psychotherapists, psychiatrists who can help with anger management.

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