Stepping Back From The Edge: 7 Tips For Managing Uncontrollable Anger

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angry looking man with upset woman

Anger is a natural and healthy emotion that everyone feels from time to time.

But, managing anger can be difficult, especially when you find yourself caught off-guard with unexpected anger or feeling uncontrollably angry at a time when you can’t express it.

Fortunately, learning some basic anger management techniques can make all the difference between you being in control of your anger and anger controlling you.

So, what can you do when you find yourself feeling anger unexpectedly so you can keep calm and respond appropriately?

RELATED: Life-Changing Anger Management Techniques To Use When You Feel Like You're About To Explode

Here are 7 tips for managing intense anger when it feels uncontrollable.

1. Acknowledge your feelings.

When you’re caught off-guard with anger, you might start to feel defensive or emotional and not immediately know why.

Before you do or say anything, assess your feelings and acknowledge that you’re angry, and discern what is the likely cause of the anger.

For example, if your child got into a fight with someone at school and their parent is wrongfully blaming your child, stop and assess: "Our children got in a fight, and she’s wrongfully blaming my daughter."

2. Take a breath.

As you acknowledge you’re upset, stop and take a breath.

Put physical distance between you and the other person by taking a couple of steps back.

3. Be curious instead of furious.

If you have difficulty controlling your anger, it can be all too easy to jump instantly into furious mode and unleash your anger.

Instead of being angry, be curious. Consider why this person is behaving this way or saying these things. Maybe they had a bad morning or heard some upsetting news.

RELATED: 5 Best Ways To Control Anger So You Can Find Peace Without Medication

4. Don't take it personally.

Remind yourself that this isn’t personal to you. Oftentimes, when people are behaving inappropriately or saying hurtful things, it’s because of things going on with them in their own lives.

Practice reminding yourself that it’s not personal to you.

5. Use "I" statements.

When you’re upset, it might not always be appropriate to respond. Sometimes, it’s best to just walk away. But, if you do need to say something, focus on the behavior you find unacceptable without placing blame.

Talk specifically about your feelings and the effect of the behavior on you.

By communicating without placing blame, you are more likely to be understood and work toward a resolution, rather than putting the other person on defense and starting a conflict.

6. Get your pent-up emotions out through venting and exercise.

If you’re still feeling upset after a difficult exchange, try calling a friend to vent, write your feelings down in a letter you’ll never send, or do some exercise. Go for a walk or join a friend for spin class. 

7. Be kind to yourself.

Do something nice for yourself later, like cooking a special dinner or taking a hot bath.

When it comes to anger, remember that, in the long run, it’s best for you to control it, rather than allow it to control you.

RELATED: 6 Ways To Deal With People Who Have Serious Anger Issues (Without Losing Your Cool)

Monica Ramunda is a Licensed Professional Counselor and owner of Rocky Mountain Counseling Services and Lighthouse Counseling Services. She works with individuals and adults needing help managing their anger and communicating more effectively. Reach out for more information!

This article was originally published at Rocky Mountain Counseling Services . Reprinted with permission from the author.