June 28, 2016

Think Before You Express Your Anger

Our feelings are influenced by our thoughts and perceptions. The way we perceive an event or interpret a situation gives rise to corresponding feelings, and how we cope with negative feelings like anger is an important factor that can predict our long-term health, relationships, and wellbeing. Living in constant anger is associated with higher death rates, higher risk for some cancers, high blood pressure, and heart disease. The goal of this article is not to eliminate anger completely, that would be a very hard task, since anger is a natural human emotion. My goal is to control and direct your anger, so that it doesn’t control you, or damage an important relationship or situation in your life. When anger is out of control, it’s important to control your emotions and calm yourself down, for your own sake as well as for the sake of those around you.

One of the most effective approaches to minimise the consequences if being angry is to identify the sources of the anger we experience. Once we know what makes us angry, we can develop strategies for dealing with it. Begin to identify triggers to your anger, in order to make a plan to eliminate those triggers. When we’re in the middle of a bad situation, it’s hard to think rationally, but after we calm down, we can consider the reasons the other person may have had for acting in a hurtful way toward us. Even when we are not able to completely understand another person’s motivations, when we’ve calmed down and established that we’re ready to get over the incident, sometimes it is possible to see the lighter side. By doing this, we can actually change the chemical response in our body from anger to humour, and avoid the damage anger can cause physically, spiritually and mentally.

Anger could be a response for stress. If you feel your blood boil, get a change of scenery: Take a walk. Breathe deeply. If you are able to remove yourself from the situation, do it. Getting away from what is making you angry will make it infinitely easier to calm down. If you feel overwhelmed with rage, and it’s not possible to remove yourself from the situation, slow it down by controlling your breathing. Deep breathing is one of the most important steps to manage negative emotions, and avoid the consequences that comes with it. When angry, count to three as you inhale, and keep breathing until you feel that you have regained control. When we become angry, there are neurotransmitters in our brain that release and cause a bolt of energy, so our heart beats faster, our blood pressure rises, and we get a rush of adrenaline that results in an altered state of consciousness. That’s why we stop rationalising, and that is why sometimes we can’t remember what we said or did when we were angry. When anger gets out of control and turns destructive, it can lead to problems: problems at work, in our personal relationships, and in the overall quality of our lives.

It is interesting to notice that reactive people often believe that those who don’t express their anger are weak, but in reality, waiting is a sign of strength, because it shows self-control. When we react immediately to something, we may become slaves of unpredictable and powerful emotions. When we are able to challenge ourselves to think through our feelings, we feel better prepared to handle what’s ahead without getting irritated or angry. If not given proper attention, our anger can progress to the point that interferes with our day-to-day life or our ability to maintain positive relationships.

Examine any ways that what is causing you to be angry has helped you to grow as an individual. Changing the way that you think about something from negative to positive can help you deal with your anger in a positive way. Look for benefits or unexpected good things about the situation and keep them in mind to help you change your reaction to it. Also, when you relate well to other people, express your needs, and talk about issues that bother you, you deal with potential anger proactively. If you suspect that the person responsible for triggering your anger feels remorseful and wants to make amends, reconciliation might work out. Just understand that forgiveness does not automatically leads to reconciliation.

Always give yourself time to think about what happened. In the heat of the moment, it’s easy to say something you’ll later regret. Take your time to collect your thoughts before expressing how you feel, and allow others involved in the situation to do the same.  When you are calm and collected, you are able to express your frustration in an assertive but non-confrontational way.

Remember that you can let your anger spill out and affect your relationships, but then you would only be spreading negativity and reinforcing negative energy around you. By consciously deciding to train yourself on how to handle challenging situations,
you can transform the way you handle social interactions in order to live a calmer and happier life.

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