How to Keep Your Cool and Reduce Anger

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(Photo: iStock) 

From the garbage not being taken out to the kids avoiding chores, we’ve all experienced a passing annoyance to full-on rage with steam coming out of our ears from time to time—well, not literally.

This past October, Arizona State University discovered angry women are less persuasive and influential than angry men are. The study’s results point towards an unconscious gender bias with an assumption that anger comes from a different source for both men and women. Explaining that male anger is situational, lead author of the study and assistant professor of psychology, Jessica Salerno believes many think men have a reason to be passionate, whereas women act out of an internal emotion that infers clouded thinking.

With research perpetuating the support for frequent claims of emotionally based notions, women have plenty of reason to be angry about these findings. But it’s also equally important to realize that anger is a completely normal, healthy, human emotion.

Though turning into Hulk isn’t our thing since neon green isn’t a complementary color anyway, there are many efficient ways to channel aggression and be taken seriously.

The key is to master your mind rather than your mind mastering you! Those who are able to recognize their anger as anger are less likely to resort to aggression, violence, or inefficient coping strategies.

Types of Anger

Hot Head
Think of a pot boiling over. Agitated very quickly and easily, this type of sudden anger is one of the more dangerous forms as it starts fast and ends just as fast. Regarded as volatile and intense, this anger is incredibly explosive, leaving behind a path of destruction.

Passive Aggressive
This type is common and cleverly hidden by those refusing to relay their emotions. Think of the silent scream we all make sometimes! By using sarcasm, avoidance, and even smiling through it all, this type of anger is a slow burn that can last for years with none less the wiser.

Displaced
Touted as the most harmful to relationships, this type shifts anger from the actual target and onto a safer target that is consistently forgiving and submissive. With the actual target being of a threat to the angry individual with its power, this coping mechanism prevents the angry individual from openly expressing oneself.

Moral
This form feeds superiority as these individuals feel they have a right to be angry at “rule-breakers.” Giving them a sense of righteousness, they believe their anger is justified. In many ways, they see the world through rose-colored glasses, unaware of the differences that makes each us who we are. 

How to Deal

Get Some Exercise
By now we know that physical activity not only releases the “happy hormones,” but it can reduce stress—majorly! When you’re mad and feel that anger escalating, distract yourself by going on a run, walk or hit the weights at the gym.

Take a Timeout and Relax
By giving yourself time to assess or take a short break from the situation at hand, a few moments of quiet time really does wonders to help you prepare for what’s ahead. With methods of meditation, counting to 100 and keeping a mantra to help clear your head, find your Zen.

Don’t Hold a Grudge
Even if you can’t immediately forget, forgiveness is a great way to take back control of your feelings. If negativity builds up, not only can it callous you, but the rumination of what caused anger becomes destructive. Conversely, forgiving doesn’t mean what someone has done is acceptable or they’re off the hook. It simply means you won’t hold a grudge because you value your psyche and emotions.

Stick With “I” Statements
Be assertive, not aggressive and never insult the other. Lead with “I” statements, like “I feel,” or “I understand…” When communicating, it is essential to match your message with your level of feelings. By utilizing personal statements, you’re stepping in the right direction and on your way to change the current situation into a more feasible one. 

Identify Practical Solutions
Instead of wondering what made you livid, look at circumstances with a resolution in mind. If the kids’ room is messy, don’t go in there. If your partner shows up late for dinner, reschedule dinner or agree to eat without them. Wield your emotional state into effective solutions and make it work for you--not the other way around.