Controlling Anger In A Stressful World
Controlling anger is a difficult task especially if you are used to allowing your anger to control you.
Anger is an emotion that if not dealt with properly can build up to the point of imploding or exploding.
People who see anger as wrong or sinful tend to suppress their anger. Suppression is not an effective method for controlling anger. People who suppress their anger as a means of control, tend to hold it inside thinking that it isn't okay to express their feelings. By holding anger inward, although this may seem noble, creates a feeling of intense anxiety. This will effect your emotional wellness in a negative way. This anxiety could even be based on the misbeliefs that they would somehow lose control if they were to express their anger or lose respect of the one they love by doing so. Allowing anger to implode chronically over long term, can also be a big contributor of physical illness and disease.
People who explode with their anger do things outwardly. They have a tendency to react outwardly with violent behavior by breaking things, saying hurtful things, yelling, and even putting holes in walls. This is also an ineffective method for controlling anger. Explosive anger is almost always destructive in one way or another. What ends up happening is that the one exploding usually isn't very proud of their behavior and as a result becomes depressed and disappointed in themselves. Their internal self-talk is usually also very destructive and self-defeating, causing only more anger at themselves.
There are right ways and a wrong ways when controlling anger. Both ways, imploding and exploding, are not healthy ways in dealing with anger.
One thing you must understand is that anger is not wrong! Anger is a normal human emotion. It is rather what we do with it that matters! There are better ways for controlling anger that are more productive. These ways can produce greater respect for yourself and others.
When controlling anger, ask yourself the following questions...
Why am I angry?
Give a clear answer to this question. There are legitimate reasons for anger. Make sure they exist before allowing yourself to become angry. Many times people become angry over something they assume. Their imagination gets the best of them and they imagine all sort of things that could go wrong. They become angry over something that has not happened yet. This is not a legitimate reason for being angry. Make sure that if you are angry, it is because your anger is based on something real that actually happened and not based on your imagination.
Is my behavior justified?
The truth is that there is no excuse for behaving badly. When people are angry, they feel they are justified in that bad behavior. People usually become critical of others when they are angry. They have a tendency to become violent in their actions or words. It is not uncommon for people who are angry to belittle the one they are angry at. Some people use their anger as a reason for revenge. The truth is, there is no reason for bad behavior. You can be angry and express this anger in a way that produces respect. You will never get respect when you are yelling, name calling, hitting or breaking things. Controlling your anger in a productive way will produce better results and you will gain more respect from others around you as a result.
What actions can I take to resolve this situation?
Using healthy methods for confrontation is important to resolve situations by first letting the other person know you are angry. You can do this without all the extra drama. Believe it or not, you can relieve your anger by sharing how you feel in a respectful way. Everyone owes it to themselves to be honest about their feelings. You can always do this respectfully and without bad behavior.
There are times when we cannot resolve a matter. In this case, it's a matter of allowing yourself to decompress by looking at things realistically. Give yourself permission to let go and forgive. Turn your anger into compassion by feeling sorry for others. God only knows what struggles other people are facing. We can never understand why people do some of the things they do and that is why we cannot judge one another. Vent to a friend and then put things into proper perspective. Many times you can resolve a situation by confronting the one that has angered you. Believe it or not, you can be angry and not be hurtful to yourself or another. Instead, confront the situation knowing you are doing what is healthy for you. As uncomfortable as things may feel, by confronting a situation, you are building your self-confidence as well as decompressing your anger. Even if the other person does not want to recognize what you are saying, by letting them know how you feel is enough to release your anger. For many, doing this produces a lot of anxiety. It is important when confronting another, to use your skills. Using your positive self-talk, breathing skills, and by exercising beforehand really helps.
Breaking the Habit of Reacting Badly
People with explosive tempers have a habit of reacting badly to others when angry. Most of the times their behavior is so immediate and they don't allow themselves much time to think about their behavior. It seems automatic as though they don't have any control over their emotions. Well, the truth of the matter is that we all have a choice as to how we will react. People who react badly simply give themselves permission to do so. Creating a new habit when it comes to controlling anger, takes time and practice. It takes courage to break the old habit and be willing to do things differently.
The Anger and Anxiety Connection
It's not uncommon for people suffering with anxiety to also have issues with anger. Anger and anxiety usually go hand in hand. It isn't usually easily recognized because we usually see them as two separate entities but they have more in common than you will ever know. When anger is not based on something real that has happened, it is usually based on an anxious mind. Usually fear of an impending doom or just the mistrust of others. It is not uncommon for pessimistic people to become angry about their fears and worries.
For more information on controlling anger and aggression, there is a section in Tom G. Stevens' FREE online book called "Overcome Anger and Aggression" that will help you learn more about breaking this destructive cycle.