Anger is probably one of the most common emotions we feel as humans. It’s also one of the most damaging, but learning how to calm down when you’re angry seems impossible when you see red.
Sure, you can be angry and not say or do anything. However, when that anger rises and turns into rage, it’s easy to see red, make a huge mistake, or say something hurtful to someone you care about. It’s also extremely hard to take these things back.
I like to think that I can control myself when I’m angry; I like to think that I can stop myself saying the venomous things that are on the tip of my tongue, because I know I don’t really mean them. The truth is, we all like to think that way. When our anger becomes too strong to handle, it’s extremely difficult to hold back.
[Read: How to let go of repressed anger before it eats you up]
How to calm down when you’re angry
The good news is that you can learn how to calm down when you’re angry using some pretty easy self-help methods. Hopefully, side step any situations which cause you to act out of character.
#1 Instruct yourself to calm the hell down. First, acknowledge that you’re angry, then dig deep and find your inner serenity. Tell yourself in a gentle and calming way: “calm down,” “take a step back,” or “easy, easy”. You’ll find a phrase that hits the spot for you and instantly helps you to pour cold water on your raging mood.
It might not work every time. The more you do it, the easier you’ll find your own personal trigger word, and the situation will become easier to handle too. [Read: How to calm yourself down with 7 instant hacks]
#2 Walk away. It can be hard to do this. When you’re angry, you’re normally spoiling for a fight. Confrontation won’t help anything, so make sure that you take yourself away from the situation. You don’t have to explain where you’re going, just walk out.
If you can, go outside and take a few lungfuls of fresh air. Mother Nature has your back! Go for a walk, go for a run if you can, and don’t return to the scene until you’ve calmed yourself and you start to see things more clearly. Walking away is one of the best methods when learning how to calm down when you’re angry.
#3 Visualize yourself somewhere chilled out. Think of somewhere cool, calm, and chilled out, and picture it in your mind in as much detail as you can. Close your eyes, take some deep breaths, and imagine you’re there. Imagine the cool wind on your face, the sun on your skin, the sounds around you, and the inner peace growing within you. Stay there for as long as you need to, until you feel your anger flowing away. [Read: How to calm your mind and get the inside voices out of your head]
#4 Give yourself a cold shock. I’ve already mentioned that you need to walk away, but head somewhere you can access cold water and give yourself a good splash on the face. If you don’t want to ruin your make up, splash it on your neck or on your inner wrists.
This will shock you out of the anger zone and help you see things a little more clearly. Cold water on your feet can also help. You might look a little strange trying to do that in a public restroom!
#5 Try breathing meditation. If you assume that meditation is all ‘oms’ and chanting, you’re wrong! You can use many different types of meditation. Breathing meditation is perfect for learning how to calm down when you’re angry.
Take yourself away from the situation, sit down, and close your eyes. Breathe in through your nose for a count of five in a slow and steady manner, hold it for a count of three, and then exhale through your mouth in a slow manner for another count of five. Repeat it as many times as you need to start to feel calm again.
#6 Start counting. When you take your mind away from the thing which has caused you to feel angry, the distraction helps you to calm down. Take yourself away and start counting. Focus on something in the near distance that isn’t moving, e.g. a tree or a wall. You can say it aloud or you can count in your mind. Then, count up to 100 if you need to. Once you’ve calmed down, start counting and give yourself a few minutes to breathe and feel centered.
#7 Have an anti-anger mantra. Positive mantras are useful for helping to reframe your mind, but they’re also a good distraction technique too. Learning how to calm down when you’re angry is as much about distraction as it is about the issue that’s caused you to be angry in the first place.
So, create your own anti-anger mantra and when you feel like your rage is rising, head outside and repeat it over and over, until you start to calm down. Try something like “anger is not useful” or “I will not let my anger control me.” [Read: 14 easy mantras to live by that will change your live]
#8 Call someone who is happy to listen to you. Have a go-to anger buddy! When you feel like your anger is about to rise, head outside, grab your phone, and call them. Rant away. Then you’ll find that whatever was causing you to feel angry suddenly doesn’t have as much of a hold on you. Getting everything out can help you to calm down quickly. Of course, make sure that they’re free to listen before you suddenly launch into a rant!
How often do you become angry? Is it a relatively rare thing, common but normal, or is it extremely common? If you find yourself becoming angry very easily, over things which aren’t very important, you need to start questioning why. Is there an underlying issue which needs to be resolved? [Read: Why am I so emotional? Science has the answers you may not]
A lot of the time, problems which are going on in the background can easily cause anger to rise to the fore very easily, usually over things which are totally unconnected. Spend some time soul-searching and resolve whatever has you so riled up.
In that case, it’s not so much about learning how to calm down when you’re angry, but more about why your anger is triggered so easily. [Read: 14 quick stress busters to recharge your mind instantly]
Of course, becoming very angry, very easily isn’t a healthy thing. If this is a situation you regularly encounter, you might want to consider anger management and develop tools to use and manage your strong emotions more easily. Simply sticking with a problem such as this and assuming that it’s normal for you raises the possibility that you’re going to say or do something to a loved one that you don’t mean.
You can take words back but you can’t take back the hurt they cause. It’s far better to avoid rage-filled outbursts in the first place and manage the root cause of the issue.
[Read: How to release anger and focus on the positives in your life]
Learning how to calm down when you’re angry is mostly about taking yourself away from the situation. Focus on something else. Take yourself out of the situation, breathe, focus, and calm down.
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