Seven Ways to Control Your Anger and Avoid Committing a Crime

Whether you have a short temper or a relatively long fuse, once you’re angry, you’re more likely to do something you’re going to regret. Anger can cloud your judgment, making it more difficult to control your actions. In fact, Psychology Today recommends that you think of anger as an intoxicant like alcohol because it alters your mental state and leads to actions you wouldn’t normally do.

Anger and rage can lead to all kinds of crimes like assault, rape, domestic violence, cyber bullying, child abuse, kidnapping, homicide, and the list goes on. Many crimes of passion begin with anger. That’s why controlling your anger is an important skill to learn. If you need help controlling your anger, here are seven things you might try.

1. Stop and Take a Breath

Let’s say someone is getting in your face but you’re trying to keep your cool and avoid assault charges. Taking a few deep breaths may help you think more clearly and find the strength to resist a physical altercation. Breathing deeply is one of the best ways to calm yourself down. Deep breaths allow your body to exchange oxygen more efficiently, which helps lower blood pressure and stress. If you find yourself in a situation where the tension is rising, stop what you’re doing, think about what’s happening, and take some deep breaths.

2. Reframe What’s Bothering You

Have you ever felt like you hit every single red light when you’re trying to get somewhere in a hurry? On the flip side, have you ever dropped something in the car and hoped that the next intersection was a red light so you can pick it up while you’re stopped? In both situations, the light is red, but one of them is desired and one of them is annoying. If you find yourself becoming agitated on the road, it’s a slippery slope before someone or something tips the scale and you make a bad decision that leads to a traffic violation or worse. Try to reframe the way you see the red light as something that just is—not as something that’s there to get under your skin and ruin your day.

3. Find Humor in the Situation

Have you ever wondered why comedians seem to have more funny life stories than other people? They have so many funny stories because they look for humor in every situation. If someone cuts them off in traffic, they may be upset at first, but then they might try to come up with a humorous reason why the person did it. Or they might look for a funny bumper sticker that contradicts the action they just took. When you practice finding humor in things, it makes it easier to de-escalate situations.

4. Take Responsibility for Your Anger

This one takes more time and effort, but it gets at the core of managing your anger. This one (and the next one) are great to practice if you get angry a lot at home and want to avoid potential situations of domestic violence or child abuse. Learning to find ways to stay calm in spite of things that make you mad allows you to take back your self-control. When things make you angry, like the way your wife squeezes the toothpaste or the mess your kids make in their rooms, you can choose to not let that situation control you and make you angry. It definitely takes practice to be able to do this. It’s also important to realize that this doesn’t mean you have to go through life being okay with everything. There are healthy ways to communicate your emotions.

5. Communicate Effectively

If something angers you, share that information with the person(s) involved. But make sure you speak in a way that doesn’t tear the person down. Blaming and insulting someone only puts them on the defensive and makes the situation worse. Plus, it’s less likely they will even want to listen and consider your perspective. And don’t forget communication isn’t all about you. The more you listen, the better you can understand the other person’s perspective and potentially find ways to make the situation better for both sides.

6. Move Your Body

Even if you’re not angry at a particular person (maybe you’re mad about the outcome of a game) that anger can make it easier to become angry at someone else. Maybe someone is trying to calm you down and that makes you angry at them and more likely to commit a violent crime. If you find yourself in a situation like that, moving your body can be a great way to drain the anger. If you have the ability, get away from the situation and go for a run. If you don’t have the space to go for a run, find a place to do push ups, jumping jacks, or squats. Additionally, exercises like yoga are great to incorporate into your daily life to achieve a sense of calm on a continual basis.

7. Know When to Ask for Help

Like we mentioned at the beginning, anger is a powerful intoxicant that can take control of your life. If you can’t manage your anger with these or other techniques, you may need to seek out professional help. And if your anger has pushed you to commit a violent crime, the expert defense lawyers at Brown, Bradshaw and Moffat can help you navigate the criminal process. Give us a call at 801-532-5297 for a free consultation today.

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