- Anger is a normal and natural feeling
- Anger can serve an important purpose: It can help us to overcome difficult obstacles, right wrongs and stand up for ourselves. It can communicate to others—for example, an angry expression can say “don’t take advantage of me,” or “I won’t back down.” It alerts us to those things that are important to us
- Anger can stick around, long after it is useful
- You may have had good reason to feel angry, but angry feelings can continue and be destructive, rather than helpful in your life.
- Tuning into your body can alert you to anger: Clenched teeth, a hot face and tensed muscles are all signs of anger.
- It is possible to be angry and stay in control of how you behave.
- Retribution or making threats rarely results in feeling good about yourself.
- Thinking about a situation and really putting yourself in the other person’s shoes can cool your temper.
- Sometimes acting gently and expressing understanding (even if you don’t feel that way) can lead to productive discussion and resolving differences.
- Leaving a situation to cool down can prevent you from saying or doing things that you’ll later regret.
When left unattended, strong emotions can lead to destructive behaviors. Attending to times that you feel hurt, belittled, let down, disrespected, insulted or threatened is key to dealing with the anger that often comes from those experiences.
You can find more strategies to improve how you feel in my new book, The Stress Response and by clicking here to sign up for more of my tips and and here for podcasts using DBT strategies to improve how you feel.
Angry man photo available from Shutterstock.