The first step to controlling anger is understanding it. While anger and anger management are complex topics, this article will help you by providing some basic information and methods that will make your anger that much more manageable.
What is anger
First of all, don’t make yourself bad for having anger. Anger in itself is nothing wrong. Anger is wrong only if you hold it in, or if you express it in an unhealthy way. This is where anger management comes in – what is healthy and what is unhealthy?
Anger is a protection mechanism – it lets you and others know that your boundaries have been crossed. It is telling you that something bad is happening, and you have to do something about it.
Back in older times, anger gives you the spurt of energy needed to defend yourself in case of a physical attack. Now, of course, physical violence is frowned upon, as is shouting and screaming. While it may make you feel powerful, lack of control is actually a mark of childishness and weakness. Controlling your anger and expressing it in a healthy, mature way is vital in this day and age more than ever.
What is the proper way to express your anger then? There is nothing wrong with stating your feelings assertively. You can tell the other person that you are feeling angry, provided that you show respect for all people involved. This is the mark of maturity and power. This also lets anger serve its purpose by letting them know that they are crossing your boundaries.
This can be hard to do sometimes – as anger often just flashes upon you. A good way to prevent this is to make a list of your triggers. These triggers are unique to everyone – what makes me angry won’t necessarily do the same for you. For example, people shouting and raging at me doesn’t affect me at all – but someone making snide cocky remarks will really push my buttons.
Knowing my triggers makes it easier to catch myself before I lose my cool.
The thoughts that cause the emotions
What happens then? When you feel the rush of emotions, when your thoughts begin to get sharp – “How DARE he!” – what can you do?
Your thoughts start the whole chain of reaction – even when anger flashes upon you, it is often just the thought happening so fast that you didn’t catch it before you explode into anger. So cut it off at the source – cut off the thoughts, and the anger will die soon after.
The best way to do this is to stop – and feel. Feeling occupies your mind so it can’t think – it can’t do two things at once. What do you feel? Everything. Feel the air as it goes in through your nose. Feel the fabric of your shirt on your skin.
And if you can, feel the anger. Give the anger a colour, a feeling. Don’t think about it. Feel it directly. Does it feel like a tightness in your chest? In your throat? Does it have a colour? Does it make you hot? Shut off your mind, and feel it directly. Don’t make yourself wrong, and don’t act upon it. Just feel it, and it will dissipate. Thus the word anger management is a bit of a misnomer – you actually dissipate it altogether.
Without anger, you can handle the situation with true power and maturity. Of course, the topic of controlling anger is more complex than this. And there are ways you can transcend anger altogether.