There just seems to be so many irritations in the modern world that can cause us to become frustrated, cross and, frankly, a bit stressed out – whether it’s people hogging free seats on the train to bad customer service. It can all feel rather overwhelming at times.
It’s inevitable that these things will annoy us to a certain degree, but what can you do when these feelings start to have a toxic effect on our lives? And how can we identify when we’re more short-tempered than we should be?
Scroll to the bottom of the page to take our personality quiz or read on to discover our tips for coping with anger – and what might be causing it.
Why do I feel so angry all the time?
Sometimes anger is perfectly normal and a healthy response to a frustrating situation, but it can be a sign that you’re suffering from something more serious – such as stress or depression.
According to the Mental Health Foundation, around 32% of people said that they had a close friend or family member who found it hard to control their anger. Sound familiar?
Causes of anger can include feeling powerless or threatened, being interrupted when you’re trying to achieve your goals or feeling that other people aren’t treating you with respect.
But there are other reasons why you might be feeling angry – for example, if you’ve just lost someone close to you, anger is a natural part of the grieving process.
If you’re struggling to control your anger, it can create other problems in your life. You might experience low self-esteem, anxiety, depression and sleep problems.
But don’t worry, there are lots of things you can try to manage your anger.
Hunger can have a real effect on our moods – the brain uses around 30% of our body’s glucose intake, so it’s only natural that we struggle when our blood sugar gets low.
If this is something that has an effect on your mood, it’s a good idea to keep regular mealtimes and have a few snacks on hand for when you start to feel a bit grumpy – nuts and fruit are a good choice.
A study published in the NeuroReport journal found that when students plunged their hands into icy water, those who were allowed to swear were able to keep their hands in the water for around 40 seconds longer than those who kept quiet.
So when you stub your toe, feel free to use a few choice words!
8 ways to control your temper and stay calm
First, identify the cause of your anger. Anger isn’t always a negative emotion – it can help you to move on when you need to make changes in your life. Working out what’s causing you to feel angry is the first step towards changing your life.
Look out for physical warning signs. If you’re starting to get angry, you’ll notice some changes in your body: your heart rate increases, you breathe more rapidly, your body becomes tense and you might clench your jaw or fists.
Take time out. The quickest way to stop an angry outburst is to remove yourself from the situation. It might sound like a cliche, but stopping and counting to ten can stop you from reacting too aggressively. If you can, go for a short walk so that you’re away from the source of your anger, or call a friend you can trust.
Try to relax. Think about your breathing and relaxing your body – are your shoulders tense? Then let them drop back to a normal position.
Use up some of that nervous energy. Something as simple as ripping up a piece of paper can help to release the anger in a controlled way.
Distract yourself. Force yourself to focus on another activity, whether it’s listening to some music or doing some colouring. If this isn’t possible, then find a task that will distract you.
Learn how to be mindful. Mindfulness techniques can help you accept the things that make you feel cross without judgement.
There are lots of online resources available to help you manage your moods. The Mental Health Foundation offers a free guide to help you cope with anger: Cool Down: Anger and How to Deal With It. You can also find some great tips for staying calm on mind.org.uk
Photos by Dmitry Ratushny, Paul, chuks sama, John-Mark Kuznietsov and Brooke Lark on Unsplash