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You want to rip his head off, tell her off, or let your stack blow. But you know you can’t, unless you want to hurt someone and end up in prison.

Anger can be a difficult emotion. Many people misunderstand the nature of anger and how to deal with it. There are no easy answers when it comes to emotions, because people have different emotions and different ways to deal with them. However, there are a few tips that I find helpful for me. Perhaps they will be helpful for you.

1. Recognize the benefit of anger.
Anger is a signal of caution, according to some therapists. Someone presents a danger to you, and you become angry. The anger is a signal that the situation needs to be dealt with in a positive manner.

A co-worker once offended me, and I became angry. So I went to him and asked if there was a problem we needed to deal with. He said, “No.” Then, I detailed what offended me. He said he did not mean it in that way, so I took him at his word. And my anger was over.

Often, people have unmanaged anger because they refuse to deal with the underlying causes. If you are angry because a spouse is mistreating you, deal with it. Don’t allow them to hurt you any longer. You will feel a sense of empowerment, and not anger, if you proactively address the problem.

2. Own what belongs only to you.
I cannot make other people behave. I can provide consequences to their behavior, but their attitudes belong to them. My attitudes belong to me.

“He made me mad,” somebody says. A person cannot make you mad; you decide to be mad. People who do not take responsibility for their actions and attitudes expect everybody to act in a way so they will not make them angry. This is emotional laziness. Someone can hurt me, but it’s up to me whether I am hurt in my emotions.

3. Redirect your emotions.
It’s much better to take out your anger on a punching bag than on your spouse's face. Anger management may include exercise or art. However, take it from me that you don’t need to eat to manage anger. I gained over 100 pounds during times of difficulties. Losing weight is much harder than gaining weight.

Choose not to hurt someone. Retaliation never makes a situation better. You may feel temporary relief, but the stakes and the danger rise.

There are many ways to handle anger, and these are just a few tips from my experience. However, I believe the main key is to take positive action. If you sit back and let harmful situations turn into bitterness and anger, you will ruin yourself.

You can get bitter or better. I choose to be better. What about you?