Do you struggle to control your anger? Here’s how to manage
Everyone gets angry. It’s an inevitable emotion in life. How you handle those negative emotions, however, plays a very important role in your overall health.
“Negative or difficult emotions can adversely impact one’s health by exacerbating physical symptoms and conditions that are already present, or by increasing our chances of developing such conditions,” says Dr. Chemely Pomales, a licensed clinical psychologist at Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center in Chicago. “These include hypertension, heart problems and headaches, among others. Additionally, there are difficult emotions that are reflected in or expressed by our body and how it functions, such as physical pain and digestive problems.”
It’s important to know how to manage your emotions to help minimize the stress you experience and the amount of time you spend in that state.
“To effectively reduce anger, we must be aware of what is bothering us and how we express it,” says Dr. Pomales. “We must work through these triggers and try to understand why they bother us so much to be able to decrease the intensity of the anger we experience.”
Three helpful strategies she offers include:
- Seeking the support of trusted people around you
- Utilizing mindfulness, breathing or other calming strategies
- Reminding yourself of the physical, emotional and social consequences of your actions or words
Awareness is key to alleviating stress when you are agitated. Knowing what makes you angry and what calms you down can prepare you to face these situations with more patience and empathy. Consider the methods listed to alleviate the physical symptoms and conditions from chronic anger.
Dr. Pomales recommends seeking professional help if the strategies above do not work and/or if your relationships or other aspects of your life are negatively impacted by your anger or anger response.
About the Author
Adila Esaak is a senior at Loyola University of Chicago. This spring, she will receive her B.S. in Health Systems Management. During her time at Loyola, she worked at the university’s Wellness Center and started a chapter organization for underprivileged children and women in India called Aahana. In her spare time, she enjoys going to arcades, cuddling with her cat and exploring Chicago.