Cool it: Tricks and tips to manage anger better

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Are you angry all the time?

Anger is hard to understand. Many of us want to avoid it because it is not a pleasant emotion to have. But sometimes, it can help solve issues and bring about change.

Anger is a natural emotion

Anger is a normal human emotion. It is only bad when it:

  • controls your life
  • affects your physical and mental health negatively
  • destroys your work and personal relationships

Newcomers can get angry when things don’t work out. Challenges like a difficult job search, rough adjustment to the culture, environment or weather can be frustrating. This can grow into chronic anger.

Strategies for handling anger:

  1. Look at the signs

    Notice the situations that make you angry. For example:

    • Do you get angry when you’re driving during rush hour?
    • Are you grumpy at the end the day when you’re tired or hungry?
    • Do you remember situations that make you mad?

    Avoid these situations when you can. Understanding the reason for anger can help you control your reaction.

  2. Count to 10

    It’s so simple but it can stop you from doing something you may regret later. Counting to 10 helps you to calm down and think clearly. This will allow you to see the situation more objectively.

  3. Understand why you are feeling this way

    We usually think that situations are worse than they really are. We have thinking habits that make us feel more frustrated and angry. These include:

    • Overgeneralizing
    • Have you ever said these lines to yourself?:

      • “I never get the credit I deserve.”
      • “People always disrespect me.”
      • “Nothing good ever happens to me.”
    • Obsessing on “should” and “musts”
      We get frustrated when we expect things to go exactly our way and they don’t. This happens when you have strict standards and unrealistic goals.
    • Mind reading and jumping to conclusions
      Assuming that others are looking down on you.
    • Collecting straws
      Thinking of negative things, small irritations and bad events in the past then adding them to the real issue. This makes a small situation bigger and more dramatic.
    • Blaming – Blaming someone directs your anger. We do this to avoid seeing our own faults.

    Stop when you have these negative thoughts. Focus on the the current situation and think of solutions.

  4. Think of the consequences

    Ask yourself: Will your anger resolve anything? Will getting angry make things better or worse? Think of what your boss, colleagues, family, friends and kids will feel. Also think about the consequences:

    • Will you get fired?
    • Can it damage your relationships?
    • Will you get arrested?
  5. Turn it into something positive

    Use your energy for something constructive.

    • Exercise, do yoga, or meditate when you feel overwhelmed.
    • Try journalling. Write about the experience. It can make the situation clearer and help you think of a solution.
  6. Know when to get help

    Anger is chronic when you:

    • feel overwhelmed
    • can’t organize and manage your thoughts
    • think about hurting yourself or others

    Seek the help of a professional immediately. Talk to a counsellor when anger affects your thoughts and health. They can give advice and strategies that will help you manage your anger better.

Article updated April 16, 2020.
Sources: Anger Management. Tips and techniques for getting anger under control, Molly Edmonds, Jeanne Segal, Ph.D. and Melinda Smith, M.A.,; Strategies for controlling your anger: Keeping anger in check, American Psychological Society; and Anger symptoms, causes and effects, Retrieved June 19, 2018.

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Community Resources

Aurora Family Therapy Centre has effective and affordable therapy programs. Ask them about their newcomer programs.

Call Klinik Community Health. Counsellors will be ready to listen and provide support.

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