Have you ever been so angry that everywhere you look you see what’s made you so upset? You can just about feel that steam rushing from your ears as cartoon images depict. It doesn’t matter what’s going on around you or what another person is trying to tell you, once you get to that full-tilt angry place, you can only seem to see red.

We all get angry from time to time and sometimes that anger feels so huge we can’t deal with much else but the anger and what we perceive as its cause. Many of us were brought up seeing and being taught that anger is not a “good” emotion and should never be shown or admitted. And in the very same families, many of us were brought up seeing anger dumped on others-- or ourselves-- in hurtful ways. The upshot is that many of us just don’t know what to do when we feel angry. Consequently it’s common to shove anger down until it gets so big we virtually erupt spewing those pent up feelings all over everyone.

It only takes one anger eruption to realize that this doesn’t allow you and the person you are angry with to communicate lovingly or peacefully. When shoving down and then erupting is your “anger management” practice, chances are your love relationship, marriage and other relationships will start to show signs of stress and disconnection. Trust and safety will erode as the angry person seems more and more unpredictable and out of control.

Sam grew up experiencing his father as hot-headed and his mother as cowering and fearful. It seemed that whatever Sam or his mother did, his father would become enraged by their actions or just their presence. Of course there were good-feeling fun times with his parents. But Sam and his mother always felt they had to be on guard because they never knew when the next anger onslaught would come. Now that Sam is married and has children of his own, he goes out of his way to avoid anger. He almost always agrees with his wife just to keep the peace and leaves the room when something about his kids’ behaviors irritates him. He feels tense and pressurized much of the time however. And just yesterday, during a long car ride Sam found himself shouting at his wife and kids about food crumbs on the car seats. In surprise, his youngest son began to cry. After his tirade subsided, Sam pulled the car to the side of the road and began to cry as well feeling helpless and unhappy.

How to deal with anger is a question that many of us grapple with. Whether you avoid anger only to have it erupt later on or you are a “hot head” who is often mad and lets everyone know, there are steps you can take to keep your relationships loving and connected—and at the same time be true to how you are feeling.

Try these suggestions….

1. Start to notice how your body feels when you are angry. What are the cues or signals that you are starting to get steamed about something?
2. Remember to breathe when these anger signals show up. Focus your attention on following your breath as you inhale and exhale.

3. Give yourself some space to come to a calmer emotional place. Don’t run away from how you are feeling or a disagreement. Instead, let the other person know you need to calm down and set a specific time when, together, you will re-visit the issue that triggered your anger.

4. If you find yourself thinking that there’s no time to deal with this right now, set a time when you will come back to these unresolved feelings. Be sure to keep this promise to yourself.

5. As you allow yourself to feel angry emotions, you may discover stories or beliefs attached to the feelings. This is quite common. Take some time to ask yourself whether you know each belief or story to be true or accurate.

6. Love and forgive yourself. Whether it’s for a specific action or just because you were angry and you judge that to be “bad,” give yourself the gift of love and forgiveness. If you were hurtful to another person, your apology or amends will come more easily from your heart if you first love and forgive yourself.

Feelings are neither good nor bad. They are just energy. As you learn to love yourself no matter what and find some peace with where you are, you can more easily expand that love to others. You may even find that you get angry less easily and less frequently. In fact, as you come to see red as just a color and anger as just a feeling, your relationships with your partner, other family, friends and anyone else may even be happier, closer and more deeply connected.

Author's Bio: 

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