Beating Your Anger

Angry woman
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio

Anger can be a good thing when used properly. When you do a poor job in work, school or life it can make you angry and inspire you to change. Anger is a perfectly healthy response to injustice. However, what we do with anger and how we process it can either improve us or destroy us. When anger is not properly dealt with, it can lead to outbursts, frustration, resentment and even outward poor behavior causing more damage to the object of your anger rather than resolution.

Rather than holding your anger inside until it manifests in a bad way or lashing out uncontrollably, it is good to learn how to better control your anger in a more productive way.

Recognize you are getting angry.

The first step is being mindful of your mood. Sometimes people do not realize how angry they are until it is too late. I have a problem with this myself. I try to convince myself my anger is just minor annoyance. Denial is not helpful. EWhen I convince myself it is just minor, I push it down without resolution. Admit you are getting angry. To yourself, and maybe even aloud. Telling another you are starting to get angry can be beneficial to having another change their behavior before you overreact. Walk away from the situation, and recognize that in anger, we do not always act or think rationally, so it is best to find a way to disburse your anger. Change your thoughts and/or surroundings to something more positive to get rid of the anger.

 Assess the situation and take an inventory on the validity of the anger.

The first thing that happens when we get angry is our heart speeds up, giving us a sense of urgency. Anger is the emotion that gives us a need to react. When defending your family from a predator in a cave, this is a great emotion. However, to modern humans, this is a handicap that can cause as many problems as it solves.
You may need to cool down. Literally. Step outside, even just open the freezer door. Anger causes you to literally feel hot and uncomfortable.
There is nothing wrong with withdrawing. Especially if tensions are rising. There is no pride lost in walking away. Some people, especially men like me have a desire to win, no matter how absurd. But walking away does not make the other the victor. Think about the times people have walked away from you in frustration. Did you feel a sense of victory? Usually no. It’s not that big of a deal.
Find something else to do. If you feel the need to save face, then go make some food, clean something. You can make the excuse that you have other things to do and go take your frustration out on those weeds in the garden. Or even exercise. Angry exercise is the next best thing to angry sex.

Do calming exercises.

Meditation, breathing techniques and other calming actions are the obvious go-to’s as well. I do not think it needs to be said how effective closing your eyes, grounding yourself and doing some controlled breathing or meditation can be. Even putting on some calming music can really work wonders.

Why are you really angry?

If you are like me, the reason I lash out is rarely the real reason I am angry. The steps above are good for preventing you from holding anger inside, but when you do not properly vent, you end up angry at other people. Did you just yell at your son because of something your boss did that made you angry? Are you really angry at that Twitter poster? Or is it something your husband did earlier that is the source of your anger?If you can locate the source of your anger and realize it is displaced, you will quickly realize you are lashing out on the wrong person or thing. Being mindful of the reason for your anger helps you better control it. 

This is a beginning to being happier. Once you can figure out the things that really make you angry and then deal with them in a productive manner, you will notice yourself becoming less and less angry. In time you won’t need to reflect on your anger, you will spot it right away and let go in a healthy way right away, leading to a happier life.

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