How to control your anger -- a hammer about to hit an egg

How to Control Your Anger in 2 Easy Steps

Are you sometimes overcome by feelings of anger? If so, you’re not alone. Anger is one of humans’ six basic emotions (along with disgust, fear, happiness, sadness, and surprise – just in case you were wondering). And a recent study confirmed that there's an easy way to control your anger.

When you feel anger, you are driven to take action in one way or another to relieve the tension you're feeling – your natural instinct is to become active! And this is where problems arise: If you can’t control your anger effectively and act in aggressive and hurtful, rather than productive, ways, you risk serious damage to your relationships. What you say to your partner and children cannot be unheard. And in some cases, anger also results in physical aggression.

So how can you rid yourself of your anger and calm down when deep inside you just feel like exploding? Research tells us – and you probably know from your own experience – that suppressing your anger doesn’t work well. Instead try this:

Control your anger in 2 steps

Step 1: Write it down

Take a sheet of paper and for three minutes, write down all of your thoughts about the event that triggered your anger. Concentrate on your own perspective – why were you feeling angry, and what made you feel that way? When you’re done, review what you wrote.

Step 2: Get rid of it

Then, crumple up your paper and throw it into a trash can.

That's it! Try it out yourself when you feel angry next time. It’s as easy as these two steps!

What’s most important is that you actually crumple up and throw your paper away. Don’t just put it aside! The researchers who studied this method of anger control found that people who just turned their notes over but did not dispose of them remained much angrier than those who threw their notes away. If you’re interested in reading the original study, you can find it here.

Let me know in the comments if the method worked for you, or if you have any other good ways to control anger or other negative emotions.

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2 thoughts on “How to Control Your Anger in 2 Easy Steps”

  1. I’ll definitely try this out.

    Some others I’ve tried that helped was taking walks or intentionally focusing on good memories when the anger arises.

    1. Those are great ideas. Thank you for sharing! I think one big issue is also that anger is so overwhelming. We often feel a need to act right away. Taking that first step to distance oneself and decide to constructively deal with the anger, rather than acting out, can be a challenge in and of itself. But anger can be so harmful to couples as well as in parent-child relationships — it’s really worth to try and control it.

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