Like any emotion, anger is a normal event, configuring the response to situations of frustration, aggression, violence, injustice, etc. It manifests itself in the form of anger, irritation or rage, but it can also give way to verbal or physical aggressiveness, causing fights and confrontations and often turning it over to people who have nothing to do with the fact that triggered it. Likewise, its repression – not its control – can serve to intensify it even more.
Anger, therefore, is an emotion that can trigger inappropriate and aggressive behaviors, so it is important to learn both to prevent it and to control it in the event that it occurs. Identifying the situations that can provoke it and avoiding it when they arise is the best way to prevent anger from occurring. But what can be done to control it when the anger attack occurs? Many people have their own strategies, but sometimes these can be inappropriate or at least generate great frustration, as can happen when repressing it.
However, psychologists recommend different techniques to be able to do it effectively:
- Deep breathing. It can be used before, during, and after anger has occurred. It consists of performing an abdominal breathing exercise, inhaling deeply for a count of four, holding the air for an equivalent time and releasing it following the same pattern, repeating the process several times until the emotion subsides.
- Thought stopping. It is about taking the trouble to stop (say enough!) To identify the negative thoughts that are generated in relation to yourself or other people when you feel anger and transform them one by one into positive thoughts. It takes practice, but it is a good way to eliminate feelings of hatred, guilt, failure, etc.
- Muscle relaxation. It is a technique that requires prior training, but is easily learned and is very effective in states of anxiety and anger. It consists of sitting comfortably with the eyes closed and relaxing the different muscles of the body one by one, following an orderly route that begins at the feet and ends at the head, and then thinks that one is in an attractive place and that one is totally relaxed and carefree. If done daily for at least ten minutes, there will come a time when it can be put into practice in an automated way, with almost immediate effect.