Feel like you're about to explode? Feel like you want to take things into your own hands? Feel ill you’re so angry?

Anger is a normal, healthy emotion, but how you manage it in situations involving anti-social behaviour is very important - it can mean the difference between being seen as an innocent victim or being accused of anti-social behaviour yourself.

High blood pressure, depression, anxiety, digestive problems, heart attacks and colds or flu are all ways that anger might affect your health if it's not dealt with constructively.  These symptoms may add to the misery of the ASB you are experiencing so here are some helpful tips if you find yourself in a difficult situation:

  • Recognise your anger signs. Anger can have physical symptoms, such as a faster heartbeat, breathing more quickly, clenching your fists or tension in your shoulders or stomach. Learning to recognise these signs can alert you to just how strongly you are feeling.
  • Breathe slowly. Breathing out for longer than you breathe in can help relax you and may also help you calm down and think more clearly.
  • Count to ten. This will give you time to cool down, may also help you think more clearly and therefore overcome the impulse to lash out.
  • End the situation quickly. To avoid your anger flaring up again, the best way is to end the conversation and to leave as quickly and politely as you can.
  • Leave the situation.  This may not always be possible, but removing yourself could help you start to feel less furious.
  • Express your anger in a healthy way. Once away from the situation, you may still feel furious about it and need to find a way to let it out.  You may have ways of your own already, or you could also try screaming into a pillow, hitting a punchbag or going for a run, for example.

Managing anger in the long term

If the ASB is ongoing and a resolution isn't imminent, you may find these ways of controlling anger useful.

  • Exercise and relaxation can reduce high stress levels.  Running, walking, swimming, yoga and meditation are just a few of the activities you could try.
  • Look after yourself and make time to relax regularly and ensure you get enough sleep.  Drugs and alcohol can make anger problems worse.
  • Get creative. Writing, making music, dancing or painting can release tension and help reduce feelings of being furious.
  • Talk about how you feel.  A friend or partner with a willing ear could help you express some of your anger and may give you a different perspective on the situation.
  • Think about how you think. You might find yourself thinking at some point, "It's not fair!" for example.  If this thought is persistent, it could be unhelpful as it might keep you focused on what's making you angry and upsetting you.  This is probably also what the ASB perpetrator wants.  Letting go of such thoughts will both help you calm down and thwart the perpetrator.

Getting help with anger

If you feel you need help dealing with your anger, you could see your GP as there might be anger management courses or counselling that could help you.

For a printer-friendly version of this information see here: Furious

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