Traditional group therapy and counseling techniques are not effective for everyone, so you may want to try alternative anger management therapy if you are uncomfortable in those traditional settings. Fortunately, there are many therapeutic techniques you can use to help control your anger, and finding the right technique can help you manage your emotions better.
Find Your Triggers
Before choosing a type of alternative anger management therapy, find the events that trigger your anger most often. The best therapy is often to avoid those triggers, and if you can do so you will find anger management much easier. For example, if traffic jams lead you to road rage, plot alternate driving routes where you are less likely to encounter problems, or consider using public transit systems so you do not have to be concerned about traffic at all. For every anger trigger you find, try brainstorming several ways to avoid the trigger if possible.
Writing out your feelings of anger and frustration can have a calming effect. As you work out your anger in words, you will gradually loosen up and release tension when confronting the problems that cause your anger. Whether you write long journal entries or just use the pages to vent, keeping an anger journal can be helpful. If you are seeing a therapist about anger management, he or she can recommend writing exercises to help you control your anger.
Practicing rhythmic exercises such as yoga or Pilates can help you relieve tension and help your anger drain away. Start with simple stretches and poses, but hold them long enough so you feel your muscles unknot. Choose a relaxing setting, such as a beach, meadow, private room, or other isolated area where you will not be disturbed.
Nature can have a very calming influence on you if you take the opportunity to walk in peaceful surroundings. Find several different trails, parks, or paths to use whenever you are feeling angry, and don't rush through the walk. Instead, stroll slowly and admire the natural beauty of plants, flowers, and wildlife around you, rather than focusing on your anger. Intentionally slow your pace, and breathe deeply to help your mind and emotions relax.
If you need to work out your anger in a more active way, find a type of vigorous exercise that you can focus on. Boxing, karate, and kick boxing are great options, but weightlifting, aerobics, cycling, and swimming can be equally effective. The key is to find an activity that will help you work off your angry energy without turning that energy into destruction.
Having a pet can help you control your anger, since they love you unconditionally. Dogs and cats are both effective pets to help you manage your anger, and caring for the pet will help you focus on his or her needs rather than your emotions. If you do have a pet, however, be sure you never turn your anger on him or her!
Drawing, sketching, or painting can all be effective outlets for anger you find difficult to control. You can create a unique scene that takes you away from your anger, or you can use artwork to symbolize your anger, letting it out as you draw. This is a great technique to use to help children control their anger as well, or for someone who is not comfortable with journaling techniques.
The relaxing scents of aromatherapy can help you stay calm in situations where you might be angry. Different scents - citrus, rosemary, vanilla, lavender, mint, eucalyptus, etc. - have different properties to help you feel calm or to induce better emotions than anger. Choose scents you enjoy, and keep scented candles, essential oils, incense, or air fresheners in those scents in places where you often find yourself getting angry.
Finances are a big stress and anger trigger for many people. If possible, find ways to trim your expenses and make more money to help alleviate that stress, or even consider using money as a reward for successfully managing your anger by allowing yourself to buy a treat when you control your outbursts effectively.
Taking time to enjoy simple things can help you control your anger and get more happiness out of life. Blow bubbles, jump in a pile of autumn leaves, blow the fluff off a dandelion, skip down the hallway, make a snowman, walk barefoot through a puddle, or enjoy other activities you may not have done since you were a child. You'll find yourself smiling!
If you are very stressed and find your anger reaching a breaking point, take time to get away from it all. Schedule a relaxing vacation without any schedules or commitments, whether it is a weekend cruise, a night at a bed and breakfast, or just a day at home to relax. You will be able to rejuvenate and revitalize yourself while controlling your anger.
Meditation is an effective alternative anger management therapy technique. There are many different types of meditation to choose from - experiment with different techniques until you find one that is effective for your personality and preferences.
Listening to or playing music can be helpful for controlling your anger. Choose music to match your mood, turn it up load (using headphones if necessary), and lose yourself in the melody, harmonies, and lyrics as your anger melts away. While some therapists will recommend soothing instrumental or classical music, it is best to choose the type of music you enjoy most to allow yourself to be completely relaxed.
Let Anger Go
With the right alternative anger management therapy techniques, from journaling to exercise to meditation, you can learn to control your anger and emotions effectively even if you don't use a traditional counseling setting. The key is to find what works for you and to work toward staying in control.
For more information and techniques, try these natural stress relief methods or create stress reliever kits to use when you're feeling angry.