What are some common ways to reduce and to control aggression?

Expert Answers
mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Naturally, the best way to deal with aggression is to do the most that one can to prevent it. However, once aggression occurs, there are several responses that can be made to reduce the effects. Of course, defining aggression is sometimes difficult because people do not always agree upon a particular action as being aggressive.

Moyer (1976) argues that aggression may be no more than verbal or symbolic, but violence denotes “a form of human aggression that involves inflicting physical damage on persons or property.

  • Knowing what causes the aggression

Fear is often a cause for aggression, but because it gives rise to a quick, emotional feeling, people often mistake their own fears as anger. Thus, aggression results from a perceived threat. While the person who feels threatened can sometimes arrest his/her aggressive behavior by saying to oneself, "I'm afraid," the offending party can retract the inciting remark or calmly try to avert any aggressive behavior.

  • Choosing to express the emotion in a way other than aggression

There are ways to relieve one's pent up emotions that are not aggressive. Writing down one's feelings is often therapeutic, or communicating in a polite manner sometimes prevents physical aggression.  Moving the body in a non-aggressive manner, such as walking away, helps to release the adrenaline that has rushed into the system and relieve the tension.

  • Sharing feelings with friends and family often helps

There is much to be said about the verbal release of feelings and the understanding of loved ones as a preventative for aggressive behavior. Since these people know the aggressive person, they often can allay that person's fears by building his/her self-confidence.

  • Professional counseling is also helpful

For those who find themselves becoming aggressive or passive aggressive frequently, it may benefit them to seek help from professionals. 

  • Here is a list of other ways that a person can prevent aggression from occurring:
  1. Be solicitous and understanding of others
  2. Avoid negativity
  3. Display cultural sensitivity
  4. Be positive and encouraging of others,
  5. Reinforce appropriate behaviors
  6. Avoid assumptions and rash judgments
  7. Avoid power struggles/unhealthy competition
  8. Be aware of remarks and actions that trigger aggression
  9. Make strong efforts to eliminate/reduce the effects of "trigger situations"
  10. Manage problems quickly
  11. Be prepared to deflate or cope with incidents of aggression if they do occur.