Understanding Anger and its Management

Anger! We all know the feeling. Some of us know it so much more than others as it takes over our life when not managed. Anger is seen as an opposition towards someone or something that one perceives has done them wrong. Anger thus lies in the continuum of emotions, which are considered as unpleasant and negative. However, it serves a purpose and has its roots in our survival instinct. Anger helps us to find the factors that seem to threaten us in any way. It is used as a fuel, anger can help us to solve problems as it activates fight response. 

The same emotion which serves a purpose, if it gets out of control or becomes excessive, unidentified and unmanaged, may lead to havoc in your life and others connected with you. The harm can take a lot of forms: self-harm and violence towards others are two of them. Harm inflicted to self can be in any form, a person who directs their anger towards themselves may build a lot of hostility and frustration inside them when something provocative occurs. This anger that pesters them deep down can lead to guilt and self-loathing leading to self-harm by depriving oneself from the happiness and the satisfaction they deserve. A person can sometimes self-harm physically as well to get relief from the pain and hurt held inside as anger.
Sometimes manifestation of the same emotion takes the form of taking out anger on others rather than keeping it inside. This anger may manifest in the form of a loud roadside fight between two people whose cars had collided and sometimes even in the killing of a human being. It depends upon the intensity and severity of the emotion a person holds. However, in both forms you can learn better ways to save yourself from the pain it brings to your life. 
Like every behavior, we can learn to express and manage anger. If we observe the people who influence us, shutting themselves off and stop talking when angry, we might learn to do the same. On the other hand, if we grow up in a household with people who express disagreement and anger by verbal or physical abuse, we may learn also to do the same. Domestic violence, for instance, teaches young children to believe that violence is okay, and that cycle continues until help is taken. Thus, your behavior does not stay with you; it impacts young, impressionable minds. You can choose to do better today and decide to improve your satisfaction with life as holding on to your anger is synonymous to holding thorns in your hand that are making you bleed and hurt. 

How to manage anger?

  • Staying in touch with your emotions, and naming them is the first step towards your path to effective anger management. So, ask yourself how am I feeling right now? 
  • Identify the signs of anger in your body. For instance, your clenched fists, blushed red cheeks, ears getting hot, furrowed eyebrows and forehead and many other signs indicate that you might be experiencing anger. Catching these signs is a great idea as these signs appear as you begin to experience anger. Thus, identifying it when it is in its early stages can help you stay in control. 
  • The next step is to accept the emotion and tell yourself that it is completely human to feel angry but your anger should not hurt you or others. 
  • Breathe deep and try to calm yourself down and remove yourself from the anger provoking situation.
  • Anger would inevitably cloud your judgment and if you act upon your angry thoughts and emotions it might lead to regret later. Ask yourself why you feel angry and what purpose would it serve? Is it the best and only way to respond to the situation, or can there be better and more effective ways to deal with it? 
  • It is always a good idea to find out what most often triggers your anger and work upon those triggers. A pros and cons analysis will also help you find out the good and bad it brings with it. If the unhelpful aspects outweigh the good that anger brings you, it is a wise decision to choose an alternative course of action. Later on when you have sorted your thoughts and reflected upon the thought that underlies anger, you will be better able to deal with it.
  • Choose healthy ways of conflict resolution. Communicate your concerns assertively to the people you are having a conflict with. Reflect on your behavior patterns, write down about your feelings every day and keep healthy outlets of expressing yourself openly.
  • The key is to stay aware and in touch with yourself and you can surely deal with anger! HH

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