3 Ways Humans Deal with Anger

April 6, 2017
Anna Jankowska, LCPC

By Anna Jankowska, MA, CEAP, SAP, LCPC

Anna Jankowska is a mental health, addiction, and substance abuse counselor with over 17 years of experience and has specialized training and skill in working with individuals, groups and communities to improve mental health outcomes. NPI number: 1598843526

By CCI Team

Anger is a reaction to a threat or insult that can be all-consuming and sometimes, difficult to deal with. While anger is a normal human emotion, how we deal with it is important for mental health and a sense of peace. If not handled well, anger can become a chronic issue, making it hard to control emotions and cause you to act “in the heat of the moment.”

Everyone becomes angry at some point in their lives. So, how can we deal with anger when it strikes? The trick is to control anger before it controls you, and if it’s getting out of control, seek help. Let’s look at the 3 main ways humans deal with anger.

The Ways of Dealing with Anger

Internalize it

Some people hold their anger inside because they don’t want the emotion visible to others. While internalizing your anger may prevent you from doing or saying things you may later regret, it doesn’t always make the emotion go away.

Studies have shown that people who routinely hold onto their anger put themselves at risk for health conditions like high blood pressure and restless sleep. If you’re able to internalize anger and mentally let go of it—by either forgiving the incident that caused you to be angry or deciding not to let it bother you—then you’ll likely reach a sense of peace with your anger and not let it affect you. But for some, holding in anger only makes the emotion brew and grow stronger. They need another way to cope.

Let it Out

Expressing anger can help you let go of the emotion. There are many ways of letting anger out; some are better routes than others. Yelling and shouting are less desirable ways of expressing anger, especially if another person is at the receiving end. Becoming physical, fighting or getting “in someone’s face” might help release anger, but aren’t the best choice. Routinely venting anger onto others, or becoming physical with others, is not only harmful but can actually increase the amount of anger that you feel.

While it’s true that physical expression works to reduce stress and anger, doing it appropriately is key. Consider a physical work out, running, brisk walking, or letting off steam on a punching bag as an outlet for reducing anger. Exercise releases endorphins, which can help you feel better and think with a clearer head.

Let it Go

The final way humans deal with anger is by letting it go. This is an excellent concept, but often hard for people to accomplish. Learning to let anger go is a learned behavior—a beneficial one! You may know someone who is good at “brushing things off,” or who doesn’t let things bother him. This doesn’t mean that person doesn’t feel angry. He’s simply learned to let go of the negative emotion.

Consider how you think about the situation that caused you to be angry. Is it worth continually mulling over what was said or done to you, feeling angry and furious, or would it be better not to hold a grudge? Learning to accept that you can’t change the situation that caused your anger is a good step in letting the emotion go. Try replacing negative, angry thoughts with more rational ones. And remind yourself that getting angry isn’t going to solve any problems—it might just make things worse.

What you can do About Anger

If the anger is too much to deal with on your own, talking to a trusted friend, family member, or if needed, a mental health professional who leads anger management classes can help. If you’re struggling to deal with anger, consider verbal expression. Sometimes a listening ear is the perfect outlet for getting anger under control and dealing better with it in the future.

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