Anger, by definition, is a strong feeling of displeasure or hostility. Anger is a normal human emotion. It is neither good nor bad. It is uncomfortable, however, and doing something to reduce anger is often necessary.
Anger management depends on awareness. Be aware when you are angry, recognizing your unique initial signs of anger. Be aware of how anger ideally works as a healthy force in our lives so that its positive information might be understood and its useful energy might be channeled in productive ways.
Anger can have value when it produces a positive change. Getting mad at yourself for being overweight can lead to getting yourself together and losing pounds quickly.
However, anger can lead to aggression and violence. Anger is damaging when resulting behavior produces physical, mental or emotional injury to self or others or interferes with our ability to do our job or interact with others.
Causes of Anger
There are many causes of anger. It can be caused by both external and internal events. However, it is not the event itself that causes anger, but rather the importance and meaning placed on the event by an individual. What makes one person angry may not have the same effect on someone else.
Most of what we get angry about fit into these four categories:
- Mistreatment: Unkind words from colleague, unpleasant conversation with your boss, ridicule, and name-calling can cause lasting pain. Physical abuse can be both physically and emotionally debilitating.
- Unfairness: This occurs when you are accused of doing something wrong or are blamed for a situation even though there is no justification or proof.
- Disappointment: People often say they are disappointed when in reality they are angry. Disappointment occurs when people can’t get something done the way they think it should be done.
- Nuisances: It’s easy for irritants to make people feel out of control. Annoyances can progress to anger. Some examples of nuisances are someone in the express lane with 50 items or someone who cuts you off while on the freeway.
Why do you need to manage anger?
Poorly managed anger is at the root of many serious physical, social and emotional problems, from heart disease to neighborhood violence. Anger kills. Not only does anger drive people to shoot, stab or inflict violence on others, it poses serious health risks.
Anger can cause hypertension, high blood pressure, and depression. People who have high levels of anger have a greater risk of dying from coronary disease and even cancer.
Hostile people can have weaker immune systems. Several studies show that anger can predict shorter life-spans. Unexpressed anger can lead to pathological expressions of that anger, such as getting back at people indirectly, putting others down, and criticizing everything. Anger is like a slow-acting poison. It eats away at you and courses through both the mind and body.
Techniques to Manage Anger
Change the way you think: Replace your irrational thoughts with rational thoughts and your destructive habits into positive ones. Remind yourself that getting angry will not fix things, but only make them worse.
Relax more: Simple relaxation tools, such as deep breathing and relaxing imagery, can help calm down angry feelings. Know what triggers your anger. Keep a diary to help you see what things make you angry. Find a way to avoid or fix them. If you having problems at work, your colleagues irritate you easily, why don’t you start with getting a better pair of work shoes and decluttering your office space. Eliminating simple irritations will help you calm down and get through the day more easily. For more stress relieving techniques read this article for stress management.
Find a way to solve the problem: Anger is often caused by problems that we can’t avoid or escape. The best attitude is to focus on how to handle and face the problem. Make a plan to solve the problem and stick with it.
Improve how you communicate: When you become angry, you tend to jump to conclusions and act on them without thinking. Listen to what others are saying and think through your responses so discussions stay under control.
Find the bright side of life: Humor can help defuse anger in many ways. It can help unknot a tense situation and help you face your problems more constructively. Anger is a serious emotion, but it’s often accompanied by ideas that, if examined, can make you laugh. Find reason to laugh many times through the day. Send your office peers something funny and work-related to start your day with a smile. Make someone a cup of coffee. Do whatever pleases you, but always look at the bright side of life.
Change your environment: Give yourself a break and make sure you have some “personal time” scheduled into your day.
Other Tips for Easing Up On Yourself
Find better time to discuss sensitive issues: Are you easily irritated early in the morning before you got your morning dose of coffee? If there are certain times of the day you are prone to becoming angry, avoid discussing problems or dealing with people during that time. For example, if you and your spouse tend to fight when you discuss things at night, maybe you are tired or distracted and should plan better times to talk about important matters.
Avoid what annoys you: Don’t make yourself do what annoys you. For example, if your child’s filthy room annoys you, don’t go in it or shut the door so you don’t see in it when you pass by.
Find alternatives: If you know specific events or incidents make you angry, find alternatives for these when possible. For example, if you don’t like driving in heavy traffic, find a time when the traffic will be light and drive during those times or find an alternate route to your destination.
Get a mentor: If no other technique seems to work to control your anger, counseling may be for you. Counselors will work with you to develop a range of techniques for changing your thinking and behavior.