This new article will show you everything you need to know about how to manage anger issues.
Controlling anger is not easy, but it possible with the right strategy and effort. It is important that you take early steps to control your anger, recognize the signs that precede it and reverse the symptoms it creates.
How To Manage Anger Issues:
1. Accept That You Have a Problem
Like alcoholism or any type of addiction, until you accept you have a problem, you will never start looking for solutions or ways to manage. Neither will you be prepared to take concrete action. Hence, the FIRST step is to accept that you have a problem – and that problem is related to anger control.
2. Keep Track Of Your Angry-Reaction Episodes
You will be surprised to know that most people will not know what makes them angry. They would say things like, “Nowadays, I get very angry. Everything annoys me.” or “I “seem to have no patience at all. I am angry all the time.” But if you ask what exactly angers you, you would not be able to say it concretely.
As you have seen earlier, it would be immensely helpful if you keep a log of the instances when you got angry, the reason why got angry and how you reacted to the provocation. As advised earlier, you need to make a note every day write down:
- about what made you angry;
- about how did you respond;
- whether the reaction to the anger was justified.
Record these factors every day for 1-3 months and study the patterns that emerge. What are the triggers that make you angry? What is your style of dealing with provocations? What type of anger you project? How harmful it is to you? How harmful is to the people around you?
3. Make the Best of Your Support Network
Nothing can be achieved in isolation. In this instance too, you need to enlist the help of your family and friends if you want to conquer your anger. Give quality time to your family and friends and support them while they support you.
It is very rare that people can fight serious problems alone. This is why you need to enlist the help and cooperation of your dear ones in your quest to conquer anger.
4. Strategies to Short-circuit the Anger Cycle
We have spoken earlier about strategies that will help you manager anger. These strategies are designed to interrupt the cycle of anger and prevent its escalation to regrettable heights. You can work out your own “anger-stoppers”; here are some examples to get you going:
Walk away when you feel anger is mounting. This is perhaps the best ever circuit-breaker. Removing yourself from the scene will prevent heated exchange or doing anything that would boomerang on you.
When you feel on the verge of losing it, yell at the top of your voice, “STOP”. This might get a few smiles and stop your opponent in his tracks; but it will also stop you from working up a horrible angry mood.
Count up to 10 before you open your mouth to say anything. This usually works best couples with the “walk-away” strategy. You may sometimes need to count up to 20; or 100. The point is that you need to do something else until you are able to get a grip on yourself.
Breathe in deeply and focus on the inhale-exhale process for a minute or so. Deep breathing exercises can be learnt through meditation – a process that was discussed in the earlier chapters for your benefit.
Push your thoughts towards pleasant times. Imagining pleasant scenes, remembering comforting and happy times can throw cold water of your rising temper and cool it down almost instant.
When you feel anger rushing in, close your eyes briefly and recall something very pleasant. The change in the mood will take your mind off the anger trigger and you will be able to look at the situation with a cool mind.
Retire to a safe, pleasure haven. At work place and home have earmarked a place where you spend thinking about good things, smelling soothing aromas, and feeling good. This is the place you could use for meditation.
When you are feeling anger rising, go to your retreat room/ place and meditate for 5-15 minutes – or more if you have the time or inclination. Just 5 minutes in meditation would change your mood altogether.
Do something you like. Doing something you like is meant to take your mind off your anger. However, be careful that you do not make it as a reward to get angry.
Do it as a short-circuiting strategy to your anger keeping in mind that there is a very thin line between this goal and programming your mind into believing its reward for your anger.
Avoid grabbing a smoke, shopping, gambling.
Also Facebook, alcohol, sex, pornography and any other such thing that might get you addicted to a wrong thing. It should not be like jumping from the frying pan into the fire.
Laugh Aloud – it surely sounds awkward and you might get a few eyebrows raised at this odd behavior, but laughing out aloud is an exceptionally powerful and effective anger circuit-breaker.
Laughing out aloud – even when you do not mean it and it is only the mechanic thing – lowers your blood pressure, helps releasing toxins from the body and calms the mind.
Also, the reactions you will see on the faces of the people around when you start laughing out aloud will be good enough to change your mood.
5. Make a Conscious Effort to Bring In Empathy
Empathy is a great (1) circuit breaker. Try visualizing what could be the reason for the other person to behave the way he/ she does. It is not always easy to remove yourself from your hurt feelings and try seeing the other point of view – but it is well worth the effort.
Very often, all you need is a brief respite between the provocation and reaction to change the path of your action completely. Also, giving a person the benefit of the doubt makes you a better person; just knowing that you are able to rise to the occasion will make it worth your while.
Sometimes, forgiveness is the great action you can take for the person who annoyed you and for yourself. When you say, “Maybe this is a genuine mistake. I forgive you. Please see that it is not repeated.” The magnanimity of such a gesture could change his life and yours at the same time.
6. Apply Life TWO Most Powerful Rules
There are only TWO rules that govern human life:
- Rule No. 1 – Never sweat small stuff.
- Rule No.2 – Everything is small stuff.
It may make you smile as you read it, but look at these two rules closely. Considering that everything in life is changing, what could actually be the “big stuff”? Almost always, it is not the problem that breaks you; it the way you look at the problem that does it.
If you can help what worries you, by all mean do it and put your mind at rest. Go after the solution for your problem with all you have. If you help it, great; problem solved. If not, accept it and move on. Accept that sometimes, some things are not meant to be; and don’t stress over it.
This need some practice, but once you make up your mind to look always at the positive side or the constructive side – you will definitely be able to control your anger.
7. Stress on Building Mutual Trust
Trust is a very powerful emotion. It is very difficult to experience negative emotions with a person you trust. You need to invest your time and effort to build two-way trust with your loved ones – family, friends, colleagues, team members, etc. Trust would take time to build and set in effectively, but once it is there, it becomes the best antidote for anger.
8. Listen Twice As Much as You Talk
There is a joke about why human beings have TWO ears and only ONE mouth. It seems it is like Mother Nature (or God – whatever you believe true) was giving you a loud-and-clear message, i.e. “Talk less, listen more.” It is an excellent advice – whether or not you like the joke.
Half of the times an angry altercation could have been averted if one or both the parties ensured that what they heard was correct; or the communication which was mean to be passed on.
Assumption and miscommunications are perhaps the most common reasons for angry fights/ brawls/ life changing hatred.
Listen to what the others are saying (2); listen with rapt attention. Reword the communication and verify whether you got the message right – especially, if you do not like the message.
Do not be afraid to ask; you’d be surprised at how m any times you will find that you actually misunderstood the message because you were looking at it from a different angle.
9. Choose Assertion Over Aggression
When you do not like something, you have two choices – assert yourself and say, “NO” or get angry and hurt the relationship. It is easy to see why being assertive is the better choice. Next time you find something annoying you, do not be polite and bear it while gritting your teeth; neither should you explode into anger raining the choicest insults on those people.
Instead, be assertive. Say what you want politely but firmly leaving no scope for wriggling around. “I do not like this habit of yours.” Or “I am definitely not doing this because I do not like it.” Or “I find this type of behavior unacceptable.”
Let the person know that you do not like it, will not accept or tolerate it. At the same time, let the person know that you are willing to work together to find an alternative path that suits both.
Say, your spouse never helps with the household chores leaving you struggling and tired. Tell him, “Let us divide the household chores between us, so we both have some time together.”
This will work much better than yelling at him, “You never do anything around this house, you bum. What was I thinking when I got married to a caveman like you!”
10. Smile and the World Will Smile with You
Have you observed that most people tend to be attracted to happy persons? The sad ones are usually the ones avoided and left out. It sounds cruel and unfeeling, but this is the truth.
Once in a while you’d be happy to lend your shoulder to a friend, family member or colleague. It feels good to help others. However, if it becomes a daily affair it would start draining your positive energy encroaching into your good thoughts and making your grumpy and sad.
Hence, you would gradually distance yourself from these people who are constantly complaining about one or other thing life throws at them.
Anger follows these frustrated people like an inseparable shadow. You will find that naggers are never happy themselves. They look at themselves as victims of life and therefore, in their right to bite the head off anyone who engages with them.
So do not look at the empty half glass and cry; rather look at the full half glass and be happy. Consciously put in immense effort to keep your eyes on the positive side of your life.
Count your blessings and be happy; you will find that it is harder and harder to get angry when you have so much to thank for in your life.
11. Forgive and Let Go Of Emotional Baggage
Hatred, grudge, revenge are emotions that are more harmful to you than the person at whom you point it.
You cannot hate a person without relieving the hurt you felt; you cannot plot a revenge without keeping your pain alive; you cannot hold a grudge without relieving again and again the misery you have lived through.
Forgive. Feel the heaviness lifted off your shoulders. Forgiveness is a gift you give yourself NOT the other person. When you forgive someone and let go you disconnect yourself emotionally from that person.
In other words you become FREE from the emotional burden you’ve been carrying. The feeling is beyond words; it has to be experienced to be believed.