Anger is a normal emotion which gives rise to a sense of antagonism towards someone when you feel they are trying to do you wrong. Very often anger is an automatic response to either physical or emotional pain; for example, you could get angry if don’t feel well, feel rejected, experience betrayal, feel threatened or when an underlying need is not being met.
We may not be aware of it but there are certain changes that take place in our body and mind when we get angry. There could be physical changes like – rapid heartbeat, fast breathing, clenched fists and jaw, sweating and trembling, muscle tension, restlessness, feet tapping etc. Similarly, there could be emotional changes like – guilt, irritability, feeling overwhelmed, frustration, anxiety etc.
Although everyone experiences anger, not everyone expresses it in the same way.
There are those who express it in an outward manner, which means they are aggressive, raise their voice, throw or break things and sometimes resort to verbal or physical abuse.
The second type is those that express it in an inward manner by denying themselves anything that makes them happy or having negative self-talk etc.
The third type is the passive type. They are basically passive-aggressive and deal with their anger by sulking, being sarcastic or snide or give people the silent treatment etc.
Whatever the method of expression, when anger is in excess it could affect our professional life, our relationships and even our general health.
It is important therefore that we manage anger. This does not mean that we ignore or suppress it but learn to communicate and express it in better ways. There are a few things we can do which could help us manage anger better.
a) It is imperative that we recognise and accept that we are not in control of this emotion. Being self-aware will help to find potential solutions and make the right decision.
b) Record your anger when you have an episode. Write down what happened before, how you felt during and after the episode. Over a period this will help you to identify certain trigger points and also get you in touch with the real feeling behind the emotion.
c) Identify the thought patterns that induce anger eg. do you believe that a particular person is always doing things just to irritate you? OR Do you tend to blame others for your reaction? OR do you believe that things have to go your way? Once you identify these negative thought patterns you can then work towards being more flexible and learn to adapt.
d) Other techniques include:
- Not holding grudges.
- Taking a step back and talking once you have calmed down.
- Using humour to lighten up.Meditation and deep breathing.
- A healthy diet, good sleep and regular exercise.
Different techniques are effective for different people. Learn to use one to manage your anger and express yourself in a constructive manner.
– Sujatha Kumar, Clinical Psychologist, Mind Your Fitness!