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Anger is a normal and healthy emotion. Yet, unnecessary and excessive anger is a major cause of stress. Anger poisons our daily life and the lives of those around us. When happens, repeated anger can be costly, both physically and emotionally.
Some people have a short temper. It does not take a lot for them to get angry. They say that they can’t control their anger. But that is not true. People cannot always control how they feel, but they can almost always control how they act or respond to their feelings.
If someone cut you off on the freeway, or your boyfriend eliminated the sentimental birthday card your mother send you by mistake.
So, you go crazy, you scream, and a vain pup up in your forehead. It happens to many of us.
But did you know that anger, not only impact your mental well-being, but it is also negatively effects your physical heath.
Anger is unavoidable. We all have a limit, in which beyond that point we explode. Even the most relaxed person can reach the point of no return.
Would being upset with yourself will help?
Will punching a wall make you feel better?
The answer is clearly NO.
Looking at the brain in these moments of anger and rage reveal the primitive impulse that drives this uncontrollable survival need. The historical object within our brain, the amygdale, hijacks the neo-cortex or the rational mind.
At the time of threat or anger, the Amygdala instantly sends an alarm which produces a rush of neuro-chemicals, hormones, adrenaline dopamine into the blood system.
Heart beats increase rapidly and forcefully preparing the body to react instantly to a threat to save our life. This process is done without thinking or consciousness. If we think, it would be too late.
This primitive yet sophisticated mechanism makes sense and is very effective when is used in a life of death circumstances. If you are about to be eaten by a tiger or be hit by another caveman, you obviously need to escape the situation.
However, if you only drive in a car in the express lane and in front of you a car that does not move fast,
Or the lane in a supermarket checkout moves slow and you get angry,
this response does not serve a useful purpose. In other words, today, anger serves you well only in extreme situations of life or death, but not on regular daily interactions.
Write down your anger triggers and reflect.
So, how do we engage the pre-frontal cortex to deal with anger?
When something or someone pisses you off, like when you fed up, or someone on the road does something stupid, instead of yelling or laying on the horn, you take a deep breath.
Spend 2 to 3 minutes breathing deeply, inhale through your nose and exhale through your mouth. Imagine breathing calm blue air and pushing out red toxic angry air.
By controlling and slowing your breathing, you relax your nervous system and reduce your stress, which is a part of anger.
Unclench your fist
Loosen your shoulder
and let your muscles calm down
This exercise will help you lower the tension in your body and will make you feel less anxious.
Write down in details what made you angry.
Understand your anger triggers
So, you know how to deal with them next time you face them
It is important to understand the context of your anger and see the big picture while putting things in perspective.
Think rationally rather than emotionally.
Are you going to be angry about the issue tomorrow…..eh….Possibly
What about a week from now…eh…. Maybe but definitely less angry
What about a month from now eh… Probably not
A year from now….You probably won’t even remember.
This exercise give you the power to distance yourself from the incident and put it in healthy perspective. It allows you to feel your anger, yet process it peacefully and rationally.
You need to find a healthy way to process your anger otherwise you will get into a difficult health and mental problems.
Remember to relax and breathe deeply. Work through your anger by reflecting and seeing the bigger picture.
I cannot promise you won’t get angry ever again, but hopefully these steps provide you a better way to manage your anger.