Feeling angry and anxious? Me too! It’s easy to let the feelings of anger and anxiety consume you to the point that you start spinning out of control. When you start to feel either of these feelings, you can use several techniques to stop the cycle. Here are my top 10 tips for dealing with anxiety and anger.
10 Tips for Dealing with Anxiety and Anger
1. Hit the Pause Button
Just put a pause button on the situation. Take a moment to stop and reflect. Do this as soon as you start to feel angry or anxious, that way you can control your feelings before they escalate out of control.
2. Practice Breathing Techniques
When you’re feeling angry or anxious your breathing can become irregular, which will make your feelings of anxiety and anger even worse. Remind yourself to take long deep breaths in and out to start calming down. One breathing technique you can use is called box breathing – and it’s what the Navy Seals use to calm down too!
3. Consider Your Options
Step back and walk away for a second. Is it necessary that I participate in this situation at this very moment? Can I give myself a break and come back at a better time? Can I let someone know that I need time to process the situation? It is okay to walk away from situation(s) that are causing you to feel anxious and/or angry. It is always better to walk away than to continue causing more stress on yourself, adding to the anxiety and/or anger.
4. Process the situation
What’s going on? Why am I feeling anxious or angry? When you can identify the what and the why, you are able to evaluate what’s upsetting you and start thinking of solutions. When we’re overwhelmed it can be easy to misdirect anger. If we give ourselves time to identify what is the true cause of our anger and anxiety we can treat ourselves and the people around us with more care.
5. Assess the situation
Think “what can I do to help myself right now in this moment?”. Sometimes you will be able to think of things to change the situation right away, other times you may not have a good solution available. Either way, thinking through this process will help prepare you to make a change or accept that you need to adapt to the situation (or leave the situation).
6. Write down your thoughts and/or solutions
There is always a bright light at the end of the tunnel, but it can be very hard to see when you feel anxious or angry. Writing and journaling can help you process your feelings in a healthy, constructive way. The next time you are angry or upset, try writing down answers to the following questions:
- Why am I angry / anxious?
- Can I do anything to change the situation?
- Can someone help me in this situation?
- Where can I find the positive in this situation?
7. Talk to someone you trust
Talking to someone you trust is also a great way to process your feelings. When we are angry or anxious, it can be easy to hold onto bad feelings. Those feelings can consume us if we don’t take time to process them. Talk to someone you trust – tell them what you’re going through and why the situation(s) is making your feel angry or anxious. They may have advice for you, but mostly, it is important that they listen and you feel heard.
8. Go to Your Happy Place
A great way to break the mental cycle of thoughts that accompany anger and anxiety is by envisioning your happy place. Think about the things you like to do, people you love to see, and places you like to go. This can help you take a break from your current situation, and will also help you put things into perspective. It may help you see that, while this current moment is tough, there is happiness all around.
9. Listen to music
While escaping to your happy place can help put things into perspective, it’s also important to remember that you are allowed to have feelings! There is a reason you started feeling angry or anxious and it is okay to process those feelings in a safe way. Listening to music when you are angry or anxious can help you get some of that energy out. When I am angry, I listen to music that makes me laugh or allows me to “sing” (or I guess yell). When I am feeling anxious, I put some calmer music on and just allow myself to feel. Allow yourself to express yourself, feel it, and let it go!
Take as much time as you need to get centered when you start feeling angry or anxious. Ask yourself “How am I feeling now? Am I ready to go back?”. If not, give yourself more time and walk through these steps again. And remember, you can always call a help line or seek professional help. You are important and your wellbeing should be your first priority.
I hope these tips help you next time you are feeling angry or anxious. Everyone is different and processes emotions uniquely, so I would encourage you to add to this list and come up with a “go-to” list that you can tap into whenever you are feeling overwhelmed.
Therapy & Counseling in Colorado
Therapy and counseling are great ways to help manage your anger and anxiety. Mind Springs Health offers outpatient therapy and counseling across the western slope of Colorado, and getting started with services is easy. We also offer inpatient psychiatric hospitalization at West Springs Hospital.
Molly Spomer was previously a patient at West Springs and now is a valued staff member at the Hospital. She posts regularly about life and dealing with mental illness from her insider perspective.