Anger is a universal experience that tells us we feel we're being wronged. What's more, anger can be appropriate, encouraging us to hold healthy boundaries when others mistreat us.
However, it can also get out of hand, undermining our well-being and turning us into negative thinkers. So, what should we do if we're overwhelmed by anger?
To begin the journey of letting go of anger and resentment, you first have to gain a deeper understanding of where anger comes from and how it can harm us.
After we explore this, we'll outline some of the major signs of anger issues, so that you know when they're becoming a problem in your life. From there, we'll move on to five exercises you can use today if you want to get rid of lingering anger and old grudges.
Finally, we'll look at an extra technique - self-hypnosis - that can transform your subconscious feelings and beliefs about anger for good.
Common Causes Of Uncontrollable Anger & Why Recurring Anger Can Be Dangerous
To release anger, you first have to understand it. Here are some of the most common causes of rage, resentment, and long-term grudges:
Rejection: We can be angry when we're treated as less valuable than we are. This might be in your romantic life, when someone ends a relationship, or in your working life when you're passed over for a job or promotion.
Impatience: In a word of instant gratification, having to wait for things can cause us to snap - especially on a bad day!
Betrayal: Anger, shame, and sadness all mixed together when we're betrayed, and it can be hard to trust after this type of experience. We might be betrayed by a cheating lover, a friend who swore to keep a secret, or a family member who said we could rely on them.
Pessimism: Sometimes, a negative sense of our individual future or the future of humanity at large can make us feel lethargic and depressed, but at other times it can make us boil over with anger.
Inequality: When we're disrespected for some core, unchangeable aspect of ourselves that has nothing to do with our value, we are justified in being angry.
However, as with all the above cases, this too can get out of hand and dominate our thoughts.
Why Recurring Anger Can Be Dangerous
As you'll know from your own experiences, built-up anger can be poisonous. In the short term, anger can be energizing and motivating, pushing us to create positive change.
However, if we stay angry and it becomes our dominant emotion, we create negativity wherever we go. We struggle to form trusting relationships, others easily become afraid of us, and we can react to that with even more anger (creating a negative cycle).
Plus, if we react to every setback with anger, we miss opportunities to learn where we have gone wrong, and therefore don't know how to do better next time.
Anger, then, can act as a defense against recognizing our own fallibility or imperfections.
Importantly, being angry or stressed also floods our bodies with cortisol - the stress hormone associated with an increased risk of health issues like heart disease and strokes.
You have overwhelming reasons, then, to want to combat chronic anger.
Signs Of Anger Issues
Just from reading the above, you might have a better sense of how to tell when you have a problem with chronic anger and resentment.
However, there are other signs to look out for as well, include:
- Quickly escalating anger (from irritation to fury)
- Snapping at others
- Impatience in everyday scenarios
- Clenching your teeth
- Self-medicating to numb anger
- Breaking things when angry (whether their yours or someone else's)
- Wanting to harm yourself when angry
- Hearing from others that you are intimidating or scary
- Shaking with anger
- Replaying memories of your anger triggers
- Racing heart when angry
- Repeating revisiting topics of resentment with people in your life
- Having a default negative view of others
If more than a couple of the above sound familiar, it's worth investing time in learning how to deescalate anger.
This will boost your self-being, help you succeed in your professional life, and foster better relationships too.
How To Let Go Of Anger
Let's now move on to positive strategies that will teach you how to relieve stress and anger. The more of these exercises you follow, the more you'll gain control of your anger rather than feeling like it controls you.
However, if you feel you can only start with one, practice self-compassion and focus on just a single avenue of change until you're ready to work on more.
We'll start with five basic techniques before moving on to self-hypnosis.
Find The Source Of Your Anger
Built-up anger always has a source. When you find yourself becoming angry, try to figure out two things. Firstly, what is triggering your anger at the moment? Secondly, what is the deeper reason this makes you angry?
For example, you might lose your temper when someone at work doesn't keep to a deadline - that's the surface trigger. However, as you reflect on what's going on, you might see that this makes you feel like your time is being disrespected.
And this, in turn, makes you feel like you're not valuable. This deeper understanding can help you see that what's happening at the moment isn't the true target of your rage.
Try Doing More Exercise
Anger is powerful and energizing, and it needs somewhere to go when it builds up in your body.
This means it's really useful for you to find ways to channel your anger into productive anger.
In fact, psychodynamic therapists call this sublimation, which is known as a "mature defense mechanism".
In other words, it's one of the healthier ways to deal with being flooded by negative feelings.
Good examples include using your rage to fuel a workout, so you run faster or lift heavier weights.
Alternatively, you can channel anger into art, writing, or drawing something creative that helps to drain some of your fury.
Have A Happy Place Or Take A Time Out
While it's healthy to vent anger in certain ways, it's also vital to find ways of returning to your equilibrium.
When you're angry, where can you go and what can you do?
It's good to plan this for different areas. For example, where you go to calm down at work may be totally different than where you go home.
In terms of what to do when you get there, the old strategy of counting to 10 (or higher) can slow your heart and reduce cortisol production.
So can deep breathing - inhale slowly in through your nose and out through your mouth.
Forgiveness is tricky, as people disagree on who deserves forgiveness and when.
However, focusing purely on your own well-being, it's beneficial to forgive those at least who have dealt you minor slights.
This stage of how to release anger toward someone is about exercising your empathy, primarily.
Why did this person do what they did?
How did things look from their perspective?
Can you rationalize it, so you can imagine doing the same thing if you were in their shoes?
Sometimes, actually verbalizing forgiveness is important.
At other times, it's more about a silent process inside you, where you accept that this person is fallible but doesn't deserve hatred.
Even if you think you don't know how to journal, don't worry - it's simple.
There are a few ways to use journaling to help let go of your anger.
For example, you might write down all your feelings of rage and then destroy the pages, symbolizing letting go of the anger.
Alternatively, you can focus on changing your mood by writing in a gratitude journal every time your mood turns negative.
For this, all you need to do is focus on writing 3-5 things that make you feel good and grateful.
Sometimes, this is all you need to see that a source of anger is smaller than it felt.
How To Let Go Of Anger Using Self-Hypnosis
Finally, our subconscious has a huge amount of power over what angers us and how intense that anger becomes.
While the above exercises can help to change this, self-hypnosis is a more direct route to changing your thoughts and feelings.
Our anger management self-hypnosis program focuses on helping you learn how to deescalate and calm down in the face of anger so that you feel empowered to let go of it.
Hypnosis for anger is a private, powerful process that can be done at any time, and which can only change the things you want to change.
As well as helping reshape subconscious responses to anger triggers, our anger management program also gives you some quick, easy meditation techniques for dealing with flashes of anger at the moment.
So, if you're struggling with frequent anger or stuck on old grudges, this could be the solution you've been looking for.