Anger management activities are vital for your life.
Without them, your anger might kill you, and I mean physically kill you.
If you’re reading this, you already know what anger can do to your relationships, your happiness, your family, and perhaps even your work.
But did you know that that without proper anger management, anger can lead to cancer, high blood pressure, and a whole lot of other physical conditions? Yes – these are extremely dangerous and often fatal.
What are some of the activities that have worked extremely well for me?
Two types of anger
First of all, you have to differentiate between repressed, pent-up anger and what I like to call “fresh” anger.
Each of these is dealt with differently. Everybody knows that anger is disruptive to your life, and therefore many people try to keep it inside; they try to keep their cool. The result? Anger that is kept inside you, killing you slowly from inside out.
To deal with this, you have to let it all hang out. The only difference is, not doing it when you are triggered. You don’t let it hang out by shouting at the person or event that makes you angry. Anger management activities are best done when you are alone, or with someone you can really trust.
Here are a few activities I suggest for letting out repressed anger. Kneel on your bed, with a pillow. Start pounding on the pillow while you scream! It’s that simple but remember to scream. Scream until your body becomes the scream. Pounding the pillow while holding in your shouts (perhaps for fear of the neighbours) doesn’t do a thing for your mental health.
Another one of my favourite activities for repressed anger is to go for a drive. I did this a lot when I dealt with my anger. I had a loud metal / rock CD in the car, and I was screaming at the driving wheel – I screamed out everything that I held back inside me for fear of hurting someone.
Now the other option is “fresh” anger management. There are many ways to handle fresh anger, but first of all you have to realise how it comes about. Everything starts as the result of a thought – this thought sometimes comes so fast that you don’t recognise it, and therefore you react with anger before you can stop yourself.
Your thoughts can be anything – “How dare he say that?!” “How dare she do that?!” “I shouldn’t have lost my job! It wasn’t my fault!” Sometimes your anger can be triggered by memories of the past; or even anxiety or worry about the future. These thoughts feed your emotions. In a vicious cycle, your emotions charge your thoughts even more.
A helpful way to stop these thoughts from taking over you before you realise what is going on is to make a list of your common triggers. Do it now – it’s easy to skip this important step – but to truly succeed at anger management you need to prepare.
Without it, it will be very hard to control your anger. For example, my triggers are cocky, snide people – surprisingly, people shouting at me don’t affect me at all. Knowing that I get angered at cockiness, though, allows me to feel when I am about to lose control.
Knowing that you are about to lose control means that you can respond in a mature, powerful manner. Getting aggressive is often a sign of childishness and weakness.
If it is possible, take some time off when you feel your anger rising. Step away from the situation, and cool off. During this time off, switch off your thoughts. Take deep breaths, and try to feel the breath. Feel the sensation in your nose as the air goes through it. Feel the air go down your throat. By doing so, you keep the mind too busy to think angry thoughts.
Without angry thoughts to feed your anger, it will die down after a few minutes, just like campfire will slowly die out if you stop feeding it wood.
Without anger to distort your mind, your thoughts will be clearer and you can see a better, more mature way to handle whatever makes you angry.