If you are prone to anger, one way you might think of to blow off steam would be to go for a long run. Alternatively, you could head to a place like the Fragment Room, a specially designed “rage room” in Singapore where you can safely unleash your anger by breaking common household items with a baseball bat.
Expressing anger through this kind of physical activity prevents this strong emotion from turning inwards. “Anger turned inwards usually causes health problems like heart disease, high blood pressure, or depression,” says Kevin Roy Beck, Principal Psychologist, Behavioural Medicine Unit, Department of Psychiatry at Singapore General Hospital (SGH). “Exercise is a great way to release accumulated stress and frustration which are the roots of anger.”
Besides causing a host of health problems, unexpressed and unresolved anger can lead to passive-aggressive behaviour, which means getting back at people indirectly instead of confronting them. This behaviour can be expressed through sarcasm, cynicism, harsh criticism, and by putting others down.
Six strategies to manage your anger
These anger management strategies will help you to control your emotional and physiological reactions to the difficult people or stressors in your environment:
- Recognise your triggers: You can do this by keeping an anger log in which you record details such as what made you angry, when it happened, etc. This will give you a fresh perspective and help you change your behaviour.
- Don’t react to anger – respond to it: Reacting to anger is impulsive behaviour, while responding to it allows you to examine various solutions and choose the best one. So stop and think before you say or do something when you are angry.
- Take a time-out: Stepping away from an upsetting situation or an individual who has angered you will defuse your emotion. A time-out can be a short walk or going into another room.
- Calm yourself: Take a minute to calm yourself when you are angry. You can visualise a relaxing scene, listen to a favourite song or take a few deep breaths while counting to 10. A short meditation can also help.
- Use humour to release your anger: Taking a light-hearted view or sharing a joke can help to defuse a tense situation.
- Forgive instead of holding a grudge: Forgiveness is a powerful tool which will allow you to release tension.
“Seek help for anger issues if your anger seems out of control, causes you to do things you regret or hurts those around you,” advises Mr Beck.
Anger management: Tame that temper