Anger Management Options You Can Use Today

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We thought we’d begin this feature on anger management options with a little levity. You can use more of it in your life at the moment, right? While Dave (played by Adam Sandler) was certainly egged on in this clip, the frustration the character experiences is something that you can probably relate to. The problem, is that you find yourself getting angry far too often, and over things that are ultimately inconsequential.

It’s important to note that anger is a completely normal and healthy response to “threats” and may be used for constructive purposes. It’s an instinctive and adaptive response that can inspire aggressive behavior needed to stave off an attack and thwart unwelcome trespass. Of course, as we have evolved as a species the application of anger is rarely called upon for our literal survival. And when we verbally or physically lash out in response to irritations and frustrations anger is no longer constructive. For you, it has resulted in unfortunate consequences. It may have alienated you from friends, family, partners, coworkers, and others. It may have led you to cause harm to someone emotionally or physically. It may have prevented you from keeping a job, or simply from enjoying yourself during recreational and leisurely activities.

The good news, is that you’re ready to get help and are wondering what alternatives and options are available to you. Below is a breakdown of the five steps required to break the hold that anger currently has on your emotional and mental wellbeing.

5 Powerful Steps to Getting a Handle on Disruptive Anger That You Can Start Taking Today

I. Participate in Healthy Dopamine Releasing Activities

“What happens is that anger can lead to similar ‘rushes’ as thrill-seeking activities where danger triggers dopamine reward receptors in the brain, or like other forms of addiction such as gambling, extreme sports, or even drugs like cocaine and methamphetamines. Anger can become its own reward, but like other addictions, the final consequences are dangerous and real, and people follow impulses in the moment without regard to the big picture.”

Psychology Today

That’s right, anger and aggression can be “addictive”. This knowledge may seem to pull you further from your anger management goal, making you feel powerless to its strange allure. However, knowledge about the role that dopamine (the “feel good” hormone) plays is power. You can replace the dopamine provided by lashing out in anger by participating in healthy activities that also produce it. Examples of dopamine releasing activities that will make you feel good in a healthy and sustainable manner include the following:

  • Outdoor recreation (hiking, kayaking, surfing, etc.)
  • Participation in organized team sports (softball team, etc.)
  • Travel (weekend warrior trips and extended stays alike)
  • Meditation and deep breathing techniques
  • Art (painting, sculpting, etc.)
  • Learning to play an instrument (and to keep playing)

II. Eat for Anger Management

The age old expression reigns true – you are what you eat. If you’re angry all the time, it’s time for a proverbial and literal gut check.

Gut health has a very real impact on mood and behavior. Problems in the gut can therefore affect your ability to maintain a level head when challenged by instances that may cause irritation and frustration and eventual aggression. Research shows that disturbances of gut microbes can lead to inflammation, and it is known that inflammation can affect brain function and behavior. Further, studies confirm that gut dysbiosis caused by certain antibiotics can lead to anger and aggressive behavior. Meanwhile, John Hopkins Medicine has found that irritation in the gastrointestinal system may send signals to the central nervous system (CNS) that trigger mood changes.

Beginning today, eat to improve your gut health. Limit intake or stay away from the following which are known to compromise gut health (and therefore mood):

  • Processed foods
  • Refined sugar
  • Gluten
  • Dairy
  • Fried foods
  • Artificial sweeteners
  • Alcohol

III. Identify Triggers and Remove Them from Periphery

The concept of “triggers” in anger management is nuanced, because some triggers are not exactly reasonable or avoidable. For example, someone who struggles with chronic anger and irritation will often be triggered by their own child’s demands for attention. You certainly can’t remove that trigger from your periphery. But you can remove others, until you have learned to manage your mood in a sustainable manner.

If crowds get your nerves going, avoid certain places that get packed with people during certain times of the day. If road rage gets the best of you, use alternative forms of transportation and/or work remotely from home as often as possible. If you can’t handle being around certain people outside of your immediate household (which may include those you consider friends) take time-off from social situations that put them in your path. If current events (politics, etc.) rile you up, stay away from news media entirely. The same goes with social media, as you probably “hate follow” a number of people. For the uninitiated, hate-following is a phenomenon that occurs when you follow someone on social media who makes you feel angry, jealous, or judgemental, and yet you can’t manage to unfollow them. Those who begin their day with a scroll though social media (millions of Americans) can be triggered to become angry from the moment of waking, which reverberates through the rest of their waking hours.

Take an inventory of what triggers your anger, and avoid them when reasonable until you can learn to manage your mental state.

IV. Get an Assessment for Issues that May Lead to or Cooccur with Anger

Sometimes people simply have anger issues. But often, mood swings are symptomatic of deeper underlying problems. Mental and behavioral health concerns that lead to or cooccur with anger and irritability include the following:

  • Gambling disorder (view more)
  • Gaming disorder
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Schizophrenia
  • Substance abuse disorder
  • Intermittent explosive disorder
  • Oppositional defiant disorder
  • Disruptive mood dysregulation disorder
  • Borderline personality disorder

An assessment from a mental health specialist will help you uncover underlying issues that may be connected to anger. This leads to our next and most important call to action.

V. Online Anger Management Counseling

Everything above leads to one inevitable conclusion – you should connect to an online counselor. Kindbridge Behavioral Health’s virtual platform allows you to reach out immediately, schedule sessions for when it’s convenient for you, and in a welcoming nonjudgemental environment. Together with a specialist you will get to the root of what causes your mood swings, and embark upon a path to greater happiness. The people in your life will notice a palpable change for the better, and most importantly, you’ll feel better about yourself. Learn more about this powerful anger management option right here.

Get Immediate Help for Anger Management

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