Healthy Expression of Anger
Expressing your anger in healthy way not only prevent you from getting into trouble, getting sick mentally and physically and will help your relationship, it will help you becomes happier person and will provide you with more fulfilling life.
The following are steps to express anger in a healthy constructive way.
- Don’t react – be patient – One of the worst thing that you can do when you are angry is to react impulsively. When you are angry, you don’t integrate the rational mind with the emotional mind and react based on your feelings without thinking clearly or seeing the bigger picture to act in a beneficial way. So, try to take your time, calm yourself down and then respond while assessing the situation in a more logical way.
- Clarify your need – When you are angry, your anger feeling serves as a personal indicator that your needs have been infringed upon. Once you calm down and have a clear vision, you can identify your need and understand why you are angry. Then, you can understand your situation and options, analyze it and act in the best way that move you forward toward your long terms goals.
Just like an alarm or sirens on emergency vehicles that informs us of an emergency situation, anger is a powerful emotion that warns you or signals you that someone or something has “violated” your needs. It informs you that you need to take actions to meet your unfulfilled needs. In order to respond in a mature way, you first need to identify your needs. This can be done when you are calm and patient. Once you identify your need, you can communicate your needs to the other person.
- Identify your emotions – Emotions are very important in our life. Emotions dramatically effect your thinking, behavior and actions. Emotions effect you physically and at the same time, your body affects our feelings and thinking. When individuals ignore or repress their emotions, they are setting themselves up for physical illness and chronic stress. Therefore, it is important to identify your emotion and be able to express it in a healthy way. Accordingly, once you identified your unmet needs, new emotions surface within us. These new emotions are the results of other needs that are also not satisfied. Take a note of these new emotions and needs, as they will also help you understand the source of your anger. They will help you communicate your anger to the person who made you angry in the first place.
- Communicate your emotions and needs in healthy way – When you are calm and ready to communicate your emotions and your needs to the other person, you should do it in a respectful, assertive communication while your statement is expressed in a non-argumentative way.
Bellow, please find specific steps to communicate your needs assertively:
- Observe the behavior
First, start by explaining to the other person the behavior or action that made you angry or upset. Describe what he or she did in an objective manner. At that stage, don’t bring up your emotions, while using statement that cannot be argued. Make sure that you are not using words that attack the other person.
For example: “When I see that you come 30 minutes later than our meeting time …”
- Express and clarify your emotions
Express your feelings that have emerged when you observed this behavior. The vocabulary of emotions is large and unfortunately we do not use many of them to clearly express our emotional state. Emotions like: blue, disheartened, ashamed, discouraged, incompetent, bored, fearful, alarmed, humiliated, frazzled, judged, stuck, envious etc. are only few words to describe how colorful and descriptive emotions can be. The right description of our emotional state will make the other people understand how you feel and the impact of their behavior on you.
For example: “… I feel upset (disappointed, irritated, ticked off, paranoid etc.) …”
- Express and clarify your needs
Explain your needs; your unmet needs. The clarification of your needs allows the other person to connect your emotional state with your unmet need and bring to their attention how their behavior impacted you and made you feel the way you feel. It also prepares them to hear your request.
For example: “… I would like/need you to come on time (notify me when you are late etc.).…”
- Make a request
Make a specific request in a behavioral term that would clarify to the other person what they can do to help you fulfill your needs? Be open and flexible in your request and ask them what they think about what you just said.
For example: “… Would you be willing to come on time next time we set a meeting? (or let me know when you are late)”
Managing emotions, particularly anger is not an easy process. It takes time, practice and mainly awareness and patience. It is very much OK if you just say, “I need some time to think about what to say (how to respond). I’ll get back to you later. etc.” The key point is to be patient and not say or act impulsively and aggressively. Take whatever time needed to communicate your needs to the other person in a clear and assertive manner.
If you “failed” to act in a healthy way or acted aggressively, don’t be angry with yourself. Take the time to reflect on your needs, emotions and behavior. Your reflection will prepare you to the next time to need to handle challenging feelings. Also, it would be mature and constructive to take a moment to apologize about your statements or behavior. Not only you would earn few points with the other person, you are providing positive energy and moving toward managing your emotions in a healthy make to make you happier.
Please visit author, Moshe Ratson at his google+ Profile: