When a person feels angry much of the time, they can begin to develop an overwhelmingly negative view of the world that is likely to affect their interactions with friends, family, co-workers, lovers, etc. People who are angry a great deal of the time, tend to feel pessimistic, out of control, enraged, and helpless; they can often feel like victims of society.
People often turn to or increase maladaptive behaviors or habits in order to cope with anger. Some of these may include:
These behaviors can have significant consequences, not only for the person engaging in them but also those around him/her.
In the meantime, you can start a self-directed anger management plan. Try a few of these exercises when you begin to feel the first signs of becoming angry:
Be able to identify when you are becoming angry by looking for physical, psychological, and behavioral triggers. Consider keeping a log or chart of your Physiological, Psychological, and Behavioral responses to anger so that you can better identify them and attempt to reduce/change or respond differently to them in the future.
Pay attention to the things you are telling yourself in your mind and determine if they are helping you or hurting you. If they are perpetuating your anger, practice telling yourself something different. It may take time to reset your “word machine”, but if you keep at it, it, the changes will eventually stick.
Know what things increase the likelihood for you to become angry (e.g. alcohol use, a bad day at work, gloomy weather, etc.) and avoid these things in situations where you are likely to be upset (don’t borrow trouble!).
Utilize relaxation techniques (e.g. diaphragmatic breathing) at the onset of anger symptoms.
Take a time-out and regain your cool before going back to a heated situation.
Find appropriate and healthy ways to vent your frustrations before they turn into anger (e.g. exercise, painting, talk to a friend, play a musical instrument, meditate, etc.), while avoiding maladaptive responses (e.g. smoking, drinking, violence, isolation, etc.).
Reward yourself for being able to handle your anger effectively. Set up a schedule of reinforcement (e.g. for every week that I don’t yell at my children, I will spend one hour surfing the internet).