• Maz Connolly

10 Anger Management Techniques for Teenagers

Anger; it’s a perfectly normal emotion that we all experience and one that can cause major problems if we aren’t able to control it. As adults we are expected to have the emotional maturity to be able to deal with our anger in productive ways, but what about teenagers who aren’t only dealing with situations that might cause them to feel angry, but who are also experiencing changes in their hormones, exam stresses and peer pressure? The coping mechanisms they need to navigate their anger during these emotionally trying years may not have been developed yet but these 10 tips may help them to start building their resilience and make dealing with challenging situations slightly more easy for them going forward.

1. Breathe Deeply

When we get angry or stressed not only does our blood pressure and heart rate increase but our breathing gets shallower reducing the amount of oxygen in our bodies. Breathing deeply and really focusing attention on inhaling and exhaling can have a calming effect on both the body and mind, helping us to regain a sense of control over our emotions. As well as increasing oxygen levels deep breathing slows the heart rate, blood pressure and brainwaves all of which can help us to feel more relaxed and able to deal with the situation that caused the angry reaction to begin with.

2. Think before you act

If we act on our impulses it’s likely to make the situation worse. Although screaming, shouting or even getting physically violent may be what we feel like doing when we are overcome with anger, thinking about the consequences of those behaviours before we act may save us from further stress and aggravation.

3. Colour in

Colouring in or drawing is a fantastic way of distracting ourselves and can provide a creative way for us to vent our angry. How hard we scribble, light we colour, what medium we chose to use are all ways of expressing negative emotions in a healthy way. Remember pens, crayons, pencils or paints being used on paper won’t cause anyone any harm but they can distract us enough to calm down and be able to think about things rationally again.

4. Listen to music

Music can make us feel any emotion depending on our mood or the genre we choose. If we know that anger management is an issue for us having a pre-prepared play list with music that either soothes us, helps re-frame our thoughts or even encourages us to ‘dance it out’ as Meredith Grey from ABC’s Grey’s Anatomy would say means that we aren’t keeping it trapped inside or looking for unsafe ways of releasing it.

5. Exercise

Any exercise can benefit us when we are angry. Dancing, walking, running, cycling – anything that helps discharge the pent up energy and helps burn off the adrenalin can help restore a feeling of calmness and well being.

6. Take a Bath

Even when we are angry we deserve our alone time and where better than in the bath? Hot water, light bubbles and some soft lighting can provide the perfect relaxing atmosphere to help calm us and give us the time we need to restore our physical and emotionally resilience before facing “the world” again.

7. Talk to someone

The old saying “A problem shared is a problem halved” is just as relevant today as it was 20 years ago. Anger can fester and eat away at us if not expressed so whether we talk to a family member, a friend or even a stranger on a helpline such as The Mix (www.themix.org.uk) just talking about what’s making us angry can help us move past it.

8. Cry

Crying is natural. We cry with sadness and with happiness, so why not when we are angry? Tears are the body’s way of releasing emotions and help to cleanse and purify us from the inside. It’s healthier to cry our anger away than let it bubble up like a volcano waiting to erupt inside.

9. Scream

There will be times when no matter what we try, screaming is the only thing that will help us feel less angry. But rather than scream at the person or event that caused the anger screaming into a pillow, at a teddy bear or any other inanimate object that we can’t hurt may provide us with the release we need to help us feel grounded again.

10. Walk away

Whether we remain in a situation that is causing us to feel angry or not is a decision that we can all make. There may be consequences, for example if we walked away from a teacher, but ultimately our emotional well-being needs to be the priority. Heightened emotions and tempers aren’t likely to resolve an issue when either party is angry and in that case the safest thing may be to simply walk away until we feel in a more peaceful frame of mind to deal with it.

Despite what some people think, anger isn’t a negative emotion; it’s actually healthy to get angry so don’t be afraid of it. However, we do need to teach our children and young people healthy and productive ways to channel it if we want to keep them happy and healthy in the future.

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