Face Your FearsAnger is an emotion that many people often try to avoid or suppress, whether it be out of fear of confrontation or uncertainty at whether or not their emotions are justified. Anger is a healthy and important emotion, and learning to manage and express anger in healthy and positive ways can lead to significant changes in your communication and self confidence. 

It is also important that you teach your children how to deal appropriately deal with their anger and show them productive ways to express their feelings, rather than lashing out or letting frustration get the better of them. 

Before you can do this though, think about how you express anger. Do you think before you speak? How do you react when someone makes you angry? When you're frustrated do you express these emotions in destructive ways? 

There are plenty of positive and productive ways to manage and express your emotions. 

Stop!

Before you react at all, stop and take a breath. Count to ten and gather your thoughts. It's too easy to act in the heat of the moment, and often we walk away regretting our words or actions. Taking a moment to refocus and ground ourselves can prevent hurt feelings and unnecessary confrontation. 

Allow yourself to be okay with your anger

Supresing your anger is unhealthy and can lead to outbursts of anger towards the wrong people as well as long lasting health issues such as anxiety  and depression. Anger is a healthy, natural response to frustrating stimuli. It's a survival tool and not an emotion to be afraid of. 

When we're angry it is a signal that our most important needs or boundaries have been violated. It allows you to prepare a response to these situations and act in defense of yourself. 

Talk

When you've had a chance to take a breath, recognize and accept your anger, communicate. Communicating your anger is vital. 

Whether you're talking to the person who you're angry with or a close friend, there are some steps you can follow to safely and appropriately discuss your anger and what triggered it.

  • Express your anger – What did the person do, what behavior has made you angry? 
  • Explain your emotions – why does it make you angry? 
  • Talk about what you need – "I need you to respect…." or "I would appreciate it if…" is often a good starting point for discussing your needs.
  • Discuss what is next. This may be a compromise, or a request. You may ask them to stop doing what it is that you angry or you may have a conversation about ways in which you can work together to prevent a situation the future. 

If you're having ongoing trouble managing your anger and find yourself easily distressed or frustrated, meditation is a helpful tool to  bring yourself back to a calmer state of being and allows you to refocus your attention and get in touch with your emotions safely. 

How do you manage your anger? Do you have any helpful strategies that you use to diffuse a frustrating situation? 

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Lucy Gilkison

Lucy Gilkison is a 19 year old nursing student living in Sydney, Australia. She aspires to work in pediatrics/adolescent mental health when she graduates. Spending most of her time reading or writing, she thrives on any opportunity to build on her ideas and opinions. Currently recovering from severe depression, bulimia nervosa and an anxiety disorder, she's passionate about raising awareness of mental health and reducing the stigma.
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