How to Avoid Angry Outbursts

· October 14, 2017
Having problems controlling that anger? Getting exercise is one of the best ways to generate endorphins and avoid angry outbursts, as physical activity helps to release stress.

A traffic jam on the highway, an argument with your partner, or a cancelled flight can trigger so much anger within you that you feel like throwing something or screaming. Besides that, trying to avoid angry outbursts is definitely not easy when you are in the middle of one.

Anger outbreaks are a problem that affects many people, especially in larger cities where stress and anxiety are the order of the day. Because of this, in today’s article, we want to give you some tips to avoid or reduce these attacks.

What is anger and why does it happen?

stress

Anger is an emotion that rapidly accelerates your heart rate, elevates your blood pressure, and raises the adrenaline levels in your bloodstream.

Some of the main symptoms of anger include:

  • Sweating
  • Redness
  • Muscle tension
  • Shortness of breath

The aggressive need to shout, hit something, or throw something is your brain’s response when it perceives danger or a threat. Anger can be caused by different reasons, and in most cases, it occurs when you’re confronted with a situation that you don’t like.

When you’re frustrated or feel powerless, your mind can react in a variety of ways. Some people cry, others talk about their feelings, and then there are those who become angry. Anger is automatic, and in a lot of cases, it’s hard to clearly see what happened.

There are different types of anger:

1. Instrumental anger

Aggressive behavior and violence can appear when you aren’t able to do what you want or an obstacle blocks you from continuing with something. More importantly, this behavior is associated with a problem with your communication skills.

Also, you might like: Control Your Anger With These Simple Tricks

2. Explosive anger

This appears when a disturbing or unfair situation persists for a long time. Smaller daily frustrations build up and then explode at a certain moment.

For example, a person who has had a horrible day at work and then arrives home to some minor problem could suddenly get angry. Even though you might not be aware of it, not dealing properly with you emotions can lead you to explode suddenly.

3. Defensive anger

If you perceive you’re being attacked or know something difficult is coming, anger can serve as a “protection.” For example, it can help you avoid taking control of or solve a problem in the face of adversity.

Tips to avoid angry outbursts

As a first step, you need to be aware of the consequences of your habits and reactions. Managing your anger and rationalizing your impulses can be a big help if aggressive behavior isn’t a part of your life.

Being aware of what causes your reaction is the first step to avoid angry outbursts. This is true because you cannot solve something without being aware of it. Some tips that can help with this include:

1. Watching out for your triggers

angry man in traffic

Is there a situation or time of day that you’re more prone to anger? Do you typically notice this problem with a particular person? Can you identify a pattern in your reactions?

Anger can obscure other emotions such as fear, sadness, or pain. Think about why you have outbursts when you’re late for work, when you talk about things with your partner, or when something isn’t working out the way you want it to.

2. Don’t accumulate negative emotions

One of the main causes of anger is resentment. People are like emotional glasses filled with water. Eventually, your capacity to withstand things will overflow.

Something similar happens with anger and fury. The anger you’ve accumulated all day, week, or month will “overflow” sooner or later. To avoid angry outbursts as a consequence of this, it’s best to face your problems as they come. Don’t let these negative feelings build up inside you.

3. Count to 10 (or whatever number you need)

overwhelmed woman

Although you might not know exactly when your anger could explode, you’re able to analyze the symptoms and stages that you’re going through. Take advantage of those moments of lucidity to calm down before the storm breaks.

You can count to 10, 100, or whatever you need to bring the anger down. Even closing your eyes and focusing on your breathing can help. Try to let go of those feelings that are only making you uncomfortable.

Also, be sure to do this slowly and consciously. It will even out your heart rate and help you see things in perspective. More importantly, it will help you avoid angry outbursts you might regret later.

4. Get exercise

On the other hand, a great way to release endorphins and calm down is by getting some exercise. When your body is in motion, it helps you balance your breathing and heart rate.

You can choose any activity you like, including those that are more physical – like boxing or kickboxing – or opt for a more relaxing routine like yoga, pilates, and tai chi to reduce your anger.

5. Get rest

woman sleeping

There’s nothing more healing than sleeping for several hours. If you’ve had a long day at the office, the best thing you can do is go home and take a shower and sleep until the following morning.

This will help you avoid angry outbursts directed at your family (because we all release our anger on those closest to us) and your mind will relax. Getting between six and eight hours of sleep a night will help you be more prepared when anger wants to take over.

You might also like: 9 Ways to Relax Before Sleeping

6. Meditate, read, or dance

These relaxing activities are highly recommended to avoid angry outbursts. You might not be able to meditate the instant that frustration takes over. However, if you do it on a daily basis, it will give you more tools you can use to deal with the fury.

In addition, take advantage of your free time to read, dance, play with your pets or kids or do anything that brings you a sense of peace and calm.

7. Avoid irritating situations (or people)

worried woman

If you know that on Monday mornings your boss is the worst – or that when your partner is taking a test they’re more prone to argue – don’t approach them if it might trigger your own anger.

If the traffic leaving home is driving you crazy, take the bus or subway. These tactics help you avoid contact with the situations and people that increase your chance of suffering from an outburst.

In brief, get to know yourself and your reactions, and then prepare for them as best as you can. Also, learn how to identify when an angry outburst is happening, and use the techniques described above to manage it more effectively.

  • Averill, J. R. (2012). Anger. In Encyclopedia of Human Behavior: Second Edition. https://doi.org/10.1016/B978-0-12-375000-6.00023-9
  • Pilania, V. M., Mehta, M., & Sagar, R. (2015). Anger management. In A Practical Approach to Cognitive Behaviour Therapy for Adolescents. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-81-322-2241-5_6