Mitchell was furious after leaving the front office. A student reported this anger outburst with her mother to administration. Upon finding her in the hallway, he unleashed on the student calling her stupid and belittling her. When she tried to get away, he abused his authority to keep her present and continued his harassment for several minutes.
Samantha was sick and tired of other people taking advantage of her. She gave up an entire weekend to complete a work project thinking it would advance her career but instead, her boss took all of the credit and did not even mention Samantha’s contribution. While driving home, a car cut her off on the freeway. That was the last straw. She tailed the driver and bumped the car nearly causing an accident.
Frustrated over a series of medical bills that never seem to go away, Bailey started drinking vodka to relieve the stress and reengage with the kids. In the beginning one shot would do the trick, now three shots were barely enough. When Bailey’s son begged for yet another light saber, she lost it and yelled about her son for being ungrateful for the things he had.
There are far better ways to handle anger other than to explode on others. Here are 19 other alternatives.
- Find a happy place. Imagine being in a calm peaceful place such as the beach, mountains, meadow or desert. Add the unique sounds, smells, tastes, and touches of the environment.
- Stretch it out. Anger tenses up muscles. Counteract this with simple stretches designed to release the tension. The yoga child’s pose is excellent for a whole body release.
- Drink a Frappuccino. Drinking something cold very quickly forces the body to focus on warming up instead of the intense emotion.
- Blow up a balloon. Imagine taking all of the anger and blowing up a balloon the size of a house. Then give the balloon a kick and send it to the heavens.
- Do 10 jumping jacks. This gives a quick shot of adrenaline which can lessen the intensity of anger. It might take more than 10 jumping jacks to do the trick.
- Yell alone. Find a place that is secluded and imagine yelling at the person or situation that caused the anger. There are no rules or limits when no one is around.
- Silent scream. With mouth wide open, pretend to be screaming as loud as possible. This eases up tension in the jaw area.
- Write it out. Take anger out on paper and write a letter or blog post. Be careful not to share anything written in anger however.
- Tear it apart. Ask, “Where is this anger coming from?” It is almost never about the current moment but rather about something that happened in the past.
- Take a timeout. Do a self-imposed timeout away from others for at least 15 minutes. This quick break can make the difference between losing or keeping a relationship.
- Count backwards. Start with 100 and count backwards. Even when it becomes difficult to remember the next number, return back quickly to counting.
- Take deep breaths. Breathe in and out from the stomach instead of the chest. Breathe in for a count of 4, hold for 4, and breathe out for 4. Do this 3 more times.
- Look outside. Nature is the great reset button of the senses. Be intentional about looking at something specific like a flower or tree and focus on it for a few minutes.
- Listen to music. Classical music or non-lyrical music is a great counterbalance to anger. This allows the thoughts to still flow but at a much slower and calmer pace.
- Make an angry list. Make a list of all the people or incidents that cause anger. Do it in bullet point format to better evaluate the list later.
- Cry it out. Crying is an excellent way to release anger. It is far safer than yelling and can release other emotions such as sadness, anxiety, stress, and annoyance as well.
- Laugh it off. Distract the anger with something humorous. Laughter is medicine for the soul and can alleviate stress.
- Harness the energy. Turn the anger into doing a task that needs to be done. Use the energy generated by the anger to be productive.
- Relax and keep calm. Be the master of anger rather than anger being the master of you. No one can make another person angry unless they allow it to happen.
These 19 methods are great alternatives for releasing anger other than exploding onto others. The next time anger surfaces, experiment with one strategy at a time until 2-3 different effective approaches are correctly utilized.