Anger is not a feeling any of us desire to have. Yet, getting angry about things and situations is very natural not just to us as humans, but also to the animals. But trouble happens when we say or do things while angry. Most of the time, after the fact, we have regret.
I have also said and done things in anger which I am not very proud of. I am sure you can recall incidents from your past that probably makes you feel the same way. The worst part is – we know it’s not good and yet, we lose control.
I have been consistently making progress in being in control of my mental attitude when something happens, or someone says something that upsets me. It requires consistent discipline and I will now share with you a bit of my knowledge and experience with anger management.
What is Anger?
Anger is a natural emotion that is not just limited to us as humans. It is a normal behavior of man and animal alike. All of us experience anger in our lives. We all get angry at different things while in home, in office, at our workplaces or, even in parties. Anger it is a part of the fight or flight brain response to a perceived threat of harm.
According to Charles Spielberger, a psychologist and specialist,
Anger is an emotional state that varies in intensity from mild irritation to intense fury and rage.
Sheila Videbeck describes anger as,
Anger is a normal emotion that involves a strong uncomfortable and emotional response to a perceived provocation.
What Causes Anger?
Since anger is an emotional state of mind, there must be a trigger that provokes those emotions, right?
With research, it has been found that anger can be caused by both external and internal events. Provocation, embarrassment, insecurity, hurt, shame, vulnerability or disturbances can cause anger.
You may be angry at a specific person (a family member, a colleague etc.), or an event (stuck in traffic, delayed flight etc.). Your anger could also be caused by worry or brooding about your personal problems etc.
Memories of traumatic or enraging events can also trigger angry feelings. Genetic inheritance may be also a cause of anger in some individuals.
What Can Anger Do To You?
Like any other emotion, anger is accompanied by physiological and biological changes. When I get angry, my heart rate and blood pressure go up. You may relate to this phenomena if you notice what happens when you are angry.
Research has proven that our body responds that way in the stage of anger because the levels of our energy hormones, adrenaline, and noradrenaline go up. It is also proven that uncontrolled and chronic anger may make you more susceptible to heart disease, diabetes, high cholesterol levels, a weakened immune system, insomnia, and high blood pressure.
When you get out of control because of anger, you may harm yourself, your family member or anybody. It is very difficult to guess the outcome of uncontrolled anger. On the contrary, showing anger in a very controlled manner during a negotiation may increase the ability of the anger expresser to succeed in negotiation as cited by Wikipedia.
Ways To Express Anger
As you can easily guess, the natural expression of anger is aggression. It inspires powerful, often aggressive, feelings and behaviors within us.
However, when we are in control of our nerves during anger, we either express or suppress our anger. There are three main ways we express anger:
The Common Expression – Immediate Reaction
The most common way of expressing anger is to show our immediate reaction to the situation that upsets us. This usually is an unconscious and uncontrolled reaction based on the past patterns registered in our subconscious mind.
This type of reaction may be a violent or non-violent depending upon your personality. However, if it is violent it may have a negative impact on your health. You may harm yourself or others.
This is not a desirable response. This is also an unsocial approach to anger management. Most probably, as you read this, you are looking for ways to get rid of this expression of anger.
Expression In Assertive Manner
To express your feelings in assertive manner is the healthiest of all expressions of anger.
This is a controlled expression that requires us to realize that we are angry. It requires us to know the reasons why we are angry.
This approach requires that we calm down and analyze the situation first. This means not just controlling our outward behavior, but also controlling our internal responses, taking steps to lower the heart rate. We must let the angry feelings subside first.
Now, it becomes easy to find the cause, the need and the demand which made us angry. We are now ready to express the same to the individual or to the mass in a nice and pleasant manner and rest assures that it will be met.
Redirection of The Energy
Sometimes, depending upon the situation, we suppress and redirect anger. This usually happens when we have the ability to control our anger in situations which are not favorable for expression.
The danger of suppressing the expression is that anger, not expressed outward, may turn inward. Anger turned inward may cause health hazards including hypertension, high blood pressure and/or depression.
10 Easy Steps To Effectively Handle Your Anger
Research has shown that out of control anger can do more harm than good in every possible way. Out of control anger is more likely to damage your health and relationships, impair your judgment, put hurdles in the way of success, and have a negative impact on your self-image.
Therefore, let’s discuss a few simple ways to develop assertive ways to express and manage anger. By gaining control on your anger you may gain a new way of life, as I am gaining with practice. Application of these following ten steps will help you in controlling your anger:
1. Take A Deep Breath
Are you going to react to a tense situation right away? Force yourself to wait for a moment. Breathe slowly and deeply and feel your breath. Repeat this breathing a few times. This slowing down may help defuse your anger a bit.
2. Do Some Physical Work
If you feel your anger is not coming down, go for a brisk walk or do your favorite physical work. Physical activity stimulates various hormones that can make you feel happier and more relaxed. This works like a charm.
3. Mend Your Speech Before You Speak
After you have controlled your aggression using the above steps, it’s time to communicate your concerns. It’s time to prepare your mind to take this step now.
However, at the moment of heat or anger, you may say something you may regret later.
Therefore, I prefer to take a few moments to collect my thoughts before saying anything and place it in a pleasant way. I encourage you to do follow this step very diligently.
4. Express Your Anger In Assertive Manner
After you have controlled your aggression using above steps and put your thoughts together, it’s time to communicate your disappointment in an assertive but non-confrontational manner.
Make your concerns and needs be known in a clear and direct way without hurting anyone.
5: Identify Possible Solutions
Identify the cause(s) of what made you angry. Looking for the cause and focusing your energy on a possible resolution, is a great way to calm the situation down.
With this approach, you may be able to deal with the situation or event in a proper and positive way. When we follow this step, the outcome is usually a pleasant one.
6: Stop Blaming Others
Normally we condemn and criticize others for the action or situation at the time of anger. This habit doesn’t help anybody. Instead, it only aggravates the situation.
The best thing to do when you are angry is, to stop blaming others. Be as respectful to others as you demand for yourself.
7. Do Not Hold Grudges
“Forgive and forget” is a very powerful tool. If you can forgive someone who made you angry, it may be a reward for you in the future.
It has been observed that a person who is guilty later on realizes his fault and repents. Your forgiveness will help others to fetch some time to do so.
8. Realize That You Can Only Control Your Behavior
It's unrealistic to expect everyone to behave exactly as you want them to behave. We all have our own unique mental and emotional needs and levels at which we think.
That’s why it is not fair and justifiable to expect the same level of action and behavior from others.
When you are upset, you can follow these steps, change your thoughts and defuse the situation. But if you start to expect others to do this, most probably, you are going to be disappointed.
9. Divert Your Attention
Sometimes, you may not be able to let go of the feelings of anger and frustration very easily. If you feel that way, diverting attention to some of pleasant memories, thoughts, events may be tremendous help.
Listening to your favorite music, reading a magazine or a book of your choice, or even watching a movie may lighten you up. Whatever helps your mind relax, engage in that activity and you will feel much better.
10. Get Some Help
If you face uncontrolled anger frequently, you already know that your anger is having an adverse impact on your health. You may want to seek some expert help to help you get control of your anger.
Anger management classes and counseling can be done individually, with your partner or other family members, or in a group.
Questions: How do you control yourself when you really feel angry on somebody or some situation? If you know any resource on anger management, would you like to add value to this post by sharing in the comments by clicking here? Thank you kindly!