We all know that tempers vary from person to person – that is absolutely normal. In today’s society, anger is perceived as a negative emotion and a sign of weakness. That is why we believe that anger must be controlled, with some even saying that we should not even give ourselves the right to be angry under any circumstance!
However, I would argue against this point. Anger is an absolutely normal emotion that we feel. A lot of the time, it is not a conscious choice. Power to the people who have somehow managed to control it to the point that they no longer feel it, but you must never feel inferior for not being able to achieve the same outcome. It is simply part of being human.
What we do need to keep in check though, are our actions when we get angry. This is something we all need to learn how to control. Anger is never an excuse for mentally, verbally or physically hurting ourselves or anybody else. This is where proper anger management comes in – and no, don’t follow the examples of the protagonists in the movie of the same title!
One of the measures of emotional intelligence is one’s ability to keep anger under control, and not allow it to ruin relationships with others. Besides, chronic anger is not a good thing. It might result in poorer health outcomes such as high blood pressure, increased anxiety, headaches and muscle tension. Your immune system will also take a hit if you are often angry. Needless to say, poor anger management can lead to actions you might regret later. If you think you might have trouble controlling your anger, there are some ways you can deal with it.
The first thing to do is acknowledge that the anger is yours, so take responsibility for it rather than start blaming others for it. It is your physiological system that caused this emotion; others only act as the trigger. This is not an easy concept to embrace or accept, but it is the truth, and it will help you in the long run.
Only after that can you apply certain techniques that might help. The most common method endorsed by professionals is to give yourself a ‘time out’ before responding. It takes a while to learn these and allow them to become instinctive, but once you do, it will be well worth it. Physical techniques include mindful deep breathing, squeezing a stress ball, or performing some form of physical exercise, if it is possible. Mental techniques include prayer and meditation.
If you find yourself getting angry often, there are some ways you can try to manage your anger. These include cleaning up your diet, eating healthy food, getting enough sleep and managing your stress levels. If you also suffer from certain mental disorders, the best course of action to take would be to seek professional counselling. Sometimes there are really no shortcuts, especially when the issue is deeply rooted, such as with post-traumatic stress disorder.
Now that we have discussed what to do with your anger, what should you do when others become angry? The first thing to do is to diffuse the situation. Do not tell people to calm down! When they are in such a mental state, people are prone to being reactive and not rational. Whatever you do, do not respond with anger. If you do, the situation will only escalate.
You can begin by acknowledging their anger. Start off by saying that you can see or hear that they are angry. Chances are that if you give them a chance to expel their anger (not in a physically abusive way of course), they will probably recover from their anger more quickly. If you see that the situation is spiralling out of control and the anger is directed towards you, remove yourself from the situation first.
However, if you do decide to undertake such a procedure, assure the person that it is not the end. Assure them that you will still have a chance to meet after everyone has calmed down and are in the right frame of mind to think rationally. This is a fair resolution for everyone, isn’t it?
I hope this article has helped you in some way.
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