Anger Management – Tips and TricksJune 17, 2020
Do you often find yourself getting angry with the people you care about and you don’t seem able to stop yourself? Do your loved ones tell you that you have anger management problem? Have you lost any important relationship or created problems for yourself at work because you could not control your anger?
If the above scenario describes you, then you need to do something fast to regain control and stop hurting yourself and others. The first thing to do is to recognise that you are choosing your anger. There are numerous reasons why people choose anger. Let us see which one may best describe you, below.
- Some people use anger to intimidate other people and eventually get what they want. By doing this, the angry person can control the behaviour of other people.
- Some people use their anger to get attention. If a person needs attention, it does not always matter whether the attention is positive or negative, as long as someone has taken notice of him or her.
- Anger can be used as a scheme to avoid responsibility. If a person does not want to do something, anger can be an easy way to get out of it.
- Sometimes people feel small and insignificant, and anger works to propel or provide courage to do something scary.
- Some people use anger for emotional release, the same way a pressure cooker lets off steam.
Do you see yourself in any of those scenarios? When you get angry, which one of these reasons best describes what you are trying to achieve? Perhaps you have another motive. Your behaviour is never random, and it does not just happen to you. Every behaviour is proactive. You do not choose a reaction because of something that happened outside of you. When you misuse anger, it is not responsible because anger almost always affects someone else’s ability to get their needs met. You not only have the right but also the responsibility to get your needs met, but not at the expense of other people.
One of the significant roadblocks to healthy relationships, both at home and at work, is the inability to manage one’s emotions effectively. Of all the psychological, emotional, and physical responses we experience in life, anger is perhaps the most difficult to control. You may get the initial satisfaction of making the other person do your bidding, but you may damage something else in the relationship unknown to you.
Alternatives to Anger
You must make a conscious effort about what you can do instead of using anger. It should be something that has the potential of getting you what you want while at the same time supporting others in their efforts to getting their needs met.
How you respond to anger makes a huge difference in the quality of your relationships, your physical and emotional wellbeing, as well as your effectiveness in bringing about positive and constructive changes in your life. Below is a list of some practical tips you can use to help you manage your anger more effectively.
1. Understand What Anger Is
Anger is an emotional and physiological response to adverse or threatening circumstances. When you feel that you have been treated unfairly or when you experience frustration relating to an unmet need or goal, your mind and body react. It is this emotional and physiological response that is called anger. Anger has the potential to help us protect ourselves and others, and can bring about the desired change. However, its relative value is determined mainly by how we respond to it. Anger is as a secondary emotion, and what this means is that it is an extension of the primary feeling of frustration.
Everyone experiences frustration in their life at one time or the other. The good news, however, is that many people can keep their frustrations from escalating into anger, but for some, it is not so easy. Hurt and fear are the primary emotions that frequently accompany anger. Anger is most experienced and intensified when these primary emotions are ignored. Consequently, effective anger management is about learning how to identify and properly express hurt and fear.
2. Control Your Initial Response
The emotional and physical response triggered by a real or perceived offence or threat usually gives way to feelings of anger that can range from mild anxiety to violent rage. The higher the sense of hurt, fear or frustration, the higher the intensity of your anger. Always remember that your immediate response to anger may not always be the most constructive. You must pay attention to your words and actions so they don’t become a destructive expression of your hurt.
Delaying your reaction by as little as ten seconds can mean the difference between a good and a bad outcome. During this time, you may want to take deep breaths and consciously tell yourself to slow down and to respond instead of reacting. A response is characterised by thinking before you act, considering how your action may affect others, and imagining a positive result. A reaction, on the other hand, is spontaneous and is evidenced by thoughtless action with little concern about the result except to release the tension brought on by the anger.
3. Acknowledge Your Anger and Its Source
Admitting to yourself, and, at times, to people around you, that you are angry is one of the solutions to managing your emotion. Simply saying you are angry can help reduce the intensity of your feelings. When you fail to acknowledge your anger, you run the risk of holding it until it overflows or begins to destroy you physically, spiritually and emotionally. Bear in mind that emotions that are buried alive do not die!
4. Limit Your Exposure What Activate Your Anger
Continual exposure to traumatic images, thoughts and circumstances can intensify your emotional response. If you find that your anger increases when you watch the news, read the newspaper or talk about an offence or injustice with a friend or co-worker, you may need to reduce or eliminate these activities significantly.
The same holds if you are exposed to someone who intentionally, or unintentionally provokes you by being critical, blaming or mean. The best thing you can do is to respectfully excuse yourself from that situation and only re-engage when the situation improves. Engaging in alternative activities such as exercising, calling a friend, reading a book, playing with children, or watching a movie, when frustrated or angry, can give you the much-needed break to avoid an emotional reaction.
5. Take Constructive Action
Effective anger management includes engaging in constructive and creative expression. Here are examples of how you may respond to your anger.
- Identify what you are angry about to prevent your anger from spreading to other issues.
- Regularly practise relaxation techniques.
- Avoid reliving the experience and intensifying the emotion.
- Do not exaggerate the incident, stay rational.
- Express the emotions that often accompany anger.
- Explore options relating to problem-solving.
- Practise your response and focus on being in control, speaking calmly.
- Think before you speak and listen carefully.
- Use humour to diffuse your annoyance.
- Make sure the timing is right for expressing your thoughts and feelings about an issue.
- Talk constructively and honestly with friends, family and co-workers
6. Forgive the Offender
If the offence you have suffered is personal, unfair and deeply painful, it is in your best interest to forgive the offender. Regrettably, forgiveness is usually not what we think about when we have been mistreated and deeply hurt. Instead, we are likely to be more focused on some form of retaliation.
Lack of forgiveness often leads to bitterness and resentment, which means you will suffer more than you need to. It has been said that holding on to bitterness is similar to drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.
A decision not to forgive your offender gives them the power to continue hurting you long after the offence has been committed. Forgiveness is not easy, but it is critical for your wellbeing. A great book on forgiveness is Forgive and Forget by Lewis Smedes. It not only helps you to understand the importance and the value of forgiveness, it also helps in walking you through the process of forgiveness.
Anger is not always easy to control. However, if you are honest with yourself and are intentional about engaging in the process of change, you will be successful!