Keeping your cool: Mastering the art of managing anger and frustration

Written by Sarah Davies

Registered Psychologist

As a psychologist, I often encounter individuals who struggle with managing their anger and frustration. These emotions are natural and normal responses to certain situations, but when left unchecked, they can lead to harmful behaviours and negatively impact our mental and physical health. Here are my tips to develop healthy coping strategies to manage anger and frustration.

  1. Recognise the warning signs

    Anger can feel like an erupting volcano, with emotions bubbling up and threatening to spill over at any moment. The first step in managing your anger is to recognize the warning signs. Just like how volcanic activity can show signs of an impending eruption, our bodies and minds can also signal when we're getting angry. We might feel our heart rate increasing, our breathing becoming shallower, or our muscles tensing up. When you start to notice these signs, take a step back and assess the situation. Is the situation really worth getting angry about?

  2. Practice mindfulness

    One of the most effective strategies for managing anger and frustration is to practice mindfulness. Mindfulness involves paying attention to the present moment without judgment. When we practice mindfulness, we can observe our thoughts and emotions without getting caught up in them. This helps us respond to situations in a more rational and thoughtful way, rather than reacting impulsively.

  3. Use relaxation techniques

    Techniques such as deep breathing or meditation can help us calm our minds and bodies, and reduce the intensity of our emotions. Regular practice can make these techniques more effective over time. By learning to take a deep breathe, we help to regulate our activated nervous system and we allow mental space to make a more informed decision on how to respond (rather than react).

  4. Engage in regular physical activity

    Exercise can be a great outlet for anger and frustration, as it allows us to release built-up energy and tension. Activities like running, yoga, or boxing can be particularly helpful for managing these emotions.

  5. Talk it out

    Talking to a trusted friend or therapist can also be a helpful coping strategy for managing anger and frustration. Sometimes just talking through our emotions with someone who can provide a listening ear and supportive feedback can help us gain a new perspective and find more constructive ways to respond to challenging situations.

  6. Work to address the underlying cause

    Finally, it's important to address the underlying causes of our anger and frustration. Sometimes these emotions are a symptom of deeper issues like stress, anxiety, or depression. If this is the case, seeking professional help from a psychologist or mental health professional can be beneficial. With practice, and the right support, you'll be able to manage your anger in a healthy and constructive way.

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Posted: May 30 2023

Disclaimer

The information contained here is of a general nature and does not take into account your personal medical situation. The information is not a substitute for independent professional medical advice and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease or used for therapeutic purposes. Should you require specific medical information, please seek advice from your healthcare practitioner. Health Partners does not accept any liability for any injury, loss or damage incurred by use of or reliance on the information provided. While we have prepared the information carefully, we can’t guarantee that it is accurate, complete or up-to-date. And while we may mention goods or services provided by others, we aren’t specifically endorsing them and can’t accept responsibility for them.

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