Cool it: Tricks and tips to manage anger better

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Are you angry all the time?

  1. Anger is hard to understand.
  2. Many of us want to avoid it. Others are angry all the time.
  3. It is not a pleasant emotion to have.
  4. But it can help resolve issues and bring change when justified.

Anger is a natural emotion

  1. Being angry is not a bad thing. It is a normal human emotion.
  2. When is it bad?
    • when it controls your life
    • when it affects your physical and mental health
    • when it affects your work and relationships
  3. Newcomers can get angry when things don’t work out.
  4. It could be because of:
    • a difficult job search
    • culture shock
    • rough adjustment to the weather
    • other challenges related to settlement
  5. You could get frustrated. This can grow into chronic anger.

Strategies for handling anger:

Look at the signs

  1. Know the situations that cause your anger.
  2. Examples:
    • Do you get angry easily when you’re driving during rush hour?
    • Are you grumpy at the end of a workday when you’re tired or hungry?
    • Do you remember certain situations that cause rage?
  3. Avoid these situations when you can.
  4. Understanding the reason for anger can help you control your reaction.

Count to 10

  1. It is a simple thing to do. It prevents you from saying or doing something you may regret later.
  2. Stop. Calm down. Look at the situation.
  3. Think clearly. Assess the situation objectively.

Understand why you are feeling this way

  1. We think that situations are worse than they really are.
  2. Negative thinking can fuel frustration and anger.
  3. Examples:
    • Overgeneralizing
    • This is when you think the following:

      • “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.
  4. Stop when you notice that your thoughts are all negative.
  5. Control your feelings. Focus on the issue at hand.

Think of the consequences

  1. Will your anger resolve anything?
  2. Will getting angry make things better or worse?
  3. Think of what your boss, colleagues, family, friends and kids will feel.
  4. Think about the long term consequences of your actions:
    • Will you get fired?
    • Can it damage your relationships?
    • Can you get arrested?

Find a way to turn it into something positive

  1. Stop thinking of things that make you angry. Use your energy for something constructive.
  2. Exercise, do yoga, or meditate when you feel overwhelmed.
  3. Try journaling. Write about the experience.
    • Read what you wrote. It can make the situation clearer.
    • It can help you think of a solution.

Know when to get help

  1. Anger is chronic when you:
    • feel overwhelmed
    • can’t organize and manage your thoughts
    • think about hurting yourself or others
  2. Seek the help of a professional.
  3. Talk to a counsellor when anger affects your thoughts and health.
  4. A counsellor or doctor can give you advice. They will help you manage your anger.

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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