The problems teens face are unique and challenging – every teen goes through rough spots that triggers their anger. But anger can be disruptive to everything in your life – and hence managing it is vital.
What is anger
To manage anger, you have to first understand what it is. Anger isn’t wrong, or bad. But more importantly, it doesn’t give you power. Anger is a defence mechanism. It lets you and others know that something is wrong – that someone is doing something that you don’t like.
It is only when anger is expressed in an unhealthy way that it becomes dangerous. And anger can be addictive, especially when it gives you a “rush” of power – and it can make everyone afraid of you – further making you think that you are powerful because of anger.
But think rationally – anger is costing you a lot. It can affect your friends, your romances, your family relationships, your social standing (although sometimes it doesn’t look like it), your work, and your studies. This is where anger management comes in, and by reading this, you’ve taken the first steps to maturity and true power.
Overcoming anger is true power
The best way to deal with anger is to acknowledge it. Know that you are angry – it is there to protect you, after all. But deal with it in a powerful, mature way. Screaming, shouting, and physical violence is childish and weak, despite how it may make you feel.
When you recognise your anger rising, the best way to manage it is to stop thinking. What do I mean by that? Your thoughts are what cause you to be angry. Whenever something happens, your mind will flash out “How dare he!” or “How can she do that to me!” Sometimes the angry thought is triggered by past memories, or worry about the future. Sometimes it is an event that makes you angry – a traffic jam, or a sporting event you lost, for example.
Your thoughts then begin to feed your anger. The anger rises and makes the thoughts even more distorted and charged, which in turn makes your anger worse.
So – cut off the anger at its source. By stopping the thoughts, you keep a clearer head – anger can make you see the situation as much worse than it actually is. When you stop the thoughts, the anger dies out soon after it (not immediately though) because it has nothing to feed it.
What are the best ways to stop your thoughts? Standard anger management practices teach you to actually replace your angry thoughts with positive thoughts. They suggest doing so by repeating a positive phrase – “Calm down”, or “Take it easy”, or similar. That is a great suggestion – but when you are seeing red, it might be hard to remember.
What has worked the best for me is deep breathing – and feeling it with your body. Feel the air as it goes into your nose, as it goes into your lungs. Do this for a few minutes. As your mind is feeling the air, it is “distracted” and so stops the angry thoughts, allowing your anger to die down. It is helpful to get out of the situation if you can – go for a walk, sit outside for a while.
Once you have calmed down, you have regained your power and your control. Think of a mature, assertive way to handle the situation. While each situation is different, and cannot be covered in this article, good guidelines are to express your feelings, but with respect to both yourself and the other person. There is nothing wrong or weak with telling them that they made you angry if you show respect. Only from there is it possible to work something out.