Do you get angry when your employees do not cooperate? Do you suffer from a road rage when someone cuts you off in traffic? Do you have a tantrum when your siblings break your belongings? Anger is a normal emotion like any other, and expressing it constructively is healthy for human beings. However, it becomes a problem when it is repressed or when it is chronic or when it gets out of control. Anger is a contagious emotions and it is manifested differently by different people, but the result is the same – Anger fuels anger” Most of times we express anger based on what we have learned from our family of origin as well as from life and relationship experiences. But we can unlearn unhealthy behavior and learn constructive ones.
Excessive anger has mental consequences and has the potential to disrupt relationships. It is also the cause of many health problems. This is because the emotion of anger has physiological effects. It involves teeth grinding, muscle tension, increasing heartbeat, shortness of breath, fist clenching, sweating, prickly sensation, numbness, and flushing. If these physical symptoms take place for a long period of time, they could be dangerous for the health of an individual. Below are a few effective techniques you can experiment with in order to control excessive anger.
1. Break Entitlement
Remember when we were kids, and used to throw temper tantrums to get the things we wanted? Well, this is not a healthy practice for adults to follow. The healthy way to deal with anger that comes when things are not going our way is to accept that it exists. Once we are aware of it, we need to realize that it was caused because of unrealistic believes and idealistic views and accordingly we need to change our perspective and attitude to more realistic one.
Everyone has their own way of viewing the world and living life, nobody is bound to give you explanations or to do as they are told. So accept that the world is not fair, and that it is okay to win some and lose some, and nobody owes you anything if you lose.
2. Do not Sweat the Small Stuff
It often happens that the circumstances are not as big as the amount of anger you have built up inside. This is usually because the anger may have been piling up for quite a sometime, and just a little act then triggers you and takes you over the edge.
Moreover, when you are angry, you want to justify the anger and also tend to exaggerate the reason behind the anger. A bad day is not equal to a bad life. Similarly, if an individual has made you angry, you cannot forget all the good things they have done, or you cannot blame them for everything that goes wrong in your life or relationship. Do not let irrational thoughts intensify your anger, and do not make a big deal out of small situations.
3. Let Go Of Shoulds, Ought tos, Musts and Have tos
We all have expectations. We have set ideas in our minds about how things should be. When things do not go our way, or people do not behave in a certain manner, it causes temper flare-ups. It is important to have realistic expectations from people. The shoulds, ought tos, have tos, and musts not only cause trouble for others, but for us as well. This is because they are our way of controlling situations that are happening in our lives and the life of others.
When we impose how things should be, we become critical about everything the other individuals do, which makes us angry. So let go of our perfectionist values, and stop being judgmental about people, as it will create problems in our relationship. This way, we will be able to take charge of our anger, as we will not be applying our standards on others.
4. Identify Your Triggers
We all are so busy being right and angry that we forget the reason behind the fury we are feeling. Before you act on your impulses, think about why you are angry in the first place. Is your child’s habit of listening to loud music annoying you? Are you exasperated because your husband always forgets important dates?
When you know the reason behind the temper, you are more likely to find ways to address your need and control your anger. Identifying the trigger is the first step towards containing it. In such a situation, if you are not able to control it, you will have the option of distancing yourself from the trigger as well. Lastly, do not let people get the worst out of you. You are in charge of your emotions, so direct them constructively.
5. Be Assertive and Address your Anger
When you convey your feelings to the individual directly and firmly rather than screaming in their face out of anger, they are better able to understand your perspective and needs. This gives rise to healthy discussion rather than verbal fights, accusation and blaming each other. Moreover, you should address the source of the anger, rather than going around and telling everyone else about their faults while avoiding a confronting them. By being assertive, you are respectful of yourself as well as the other people. You are honest and act with integrity and confidence.
6. Take Timeout
When things are getting out of hand, and you know that it will not end well if you spend even one more minute in that surrounding, you need to take a timeout. Time out helps you to cool down before your anger gets out of control. This makes you relax and help you analyze the argument in a peaceful state of mind. You will lessen your stress through these breaks, and this way, the overheated argument will not turn into a full-blown fight.
Anger causes more difficulties for the person themselves than for others. As Mark Twain said, “Anger is an acid that can do more harm to the vessel in which it is stored than to anything on which it is poured.”