Can Anger be Healthy?
Not all anger is the same. Did you know that there are healthy and unhealthy ways to manage your anger? Sometimes it’s good and right to get mad at something. Positive change can come from being angry at injustice or inequality. Righteous or justified indignation at being mistreated can be a great motivator for change.
But if you’ve had unpleasant experiences of anger, you might only see anger as destructive and scary. But learning anger management puts you in control of angry feelings and can have a positive effect on your relationships.
Here are some expert strategies to help you manage your anger.
Know what you’re dealing with.
Understanding your emotions and where they're coming from is key. Maybe you’re stressed and grumpy, fatigued, or unwell. Or perhaps the reason for your anger is apparent. Once you understand your frustration and its sources, you can deal with it.
Write it down.
Turning your feelings into words is a powerful act. Just write whatever comes into your head, even if it makes little sense. The act of writing out your thoughts stops them from running in circles in your head. Chances are they might not even seem so big or insurmountable. You might even see patterns, so you can understand what triggers your feelings.
Once you know what’s making you angry, you can plan workarounds for it. Be aware of your triggers and minimize them. That can mean making sure you eat properly to avoid blood sugar crashes, get enough sleep, exercise and take time out for self-care. You won't be able to avoid being angry all the time, but you can take control, so you’re not vulnerable to anger and frustration at every slight.
Brooding on the cause of your anger is actively unhelpful. It keeps you stuck in those negative feelings, keeps you stuck in victim mode, and keeps you powerless. Brooding is also bad for your blood pressure and keeps you stewing in adrenaline and cortisol, the fight-or-flight stress hormones, which are excellent in an emergency but not so great to have all the time.
Don’t rehash your anger.
Talking over your problems can be helpful if you share with a trusted friend. Be careful to keep it focused, or you might end up rehashing your troubles. Like brooding, complaining can keep you from moving forward and finding solutions to your problems.