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Healthy Minds Healthy College

Strategies for combatting anger

January 12, 2015


Last week we posted some tips on handling feelings of anger. Along with those immediate coping mechanisms, it’s also worthwhile to consider some longer-term solutions for managing anger.

Here are some things you might want to try if you’ve been feeling a lot of intense anger.

  • Explore what is making you angry. Is it something you have control over or not? If your anger is related to school, keep in mind that we all have different academic abilities, but are there are things that can help you reach your goals. Connecting with Tutoring Services, talking with your instructor, developing good time management or maybe even reducing your course load may help.
  • Learn your triggers. What tends to set off your anger? Do you find you are quick to anger when you are feeling time pressured, when you feel like things are unfair, when you don’t understand something, when you hear about situations of injustice or when you are feeling guilty or shameful about something. Knowing what might trigger your anger will help you prepare for it.
  • Learn your warning signs. This could include a racing heart, clenching your jaw or just feeling tense. Whatever your warning signs are, try to identify what it is you feel right before your anger comes on so you can learn to manage your anger before it escalates out of control.
  • Have an anger management plan. Come up with a clear plan you can put into action if your anger starts to escalate. Your plan might be as simple as 3 steps – step 1 leave the situation, step 2 take 10 deep breaths and step 3 think about something else. Other parts of your plan may involve things such as relaxation strategies to help you feel calmer or regular eating, sleeping and exercise. Let’s face it, we all cope better when we’ve moved our bodies around, eaten a good meal and had a good night’s sleep.

Chronic anger or irritability combined with other symptoms can be associated with other mental health conditions, like depression and anxiety. If you have any concerns that you might be struggling with one of these things, you may want to book an appointment with one of counsellors in Counselling and Accessibility Services.