Before attempting to deal with anger, it is essential to understand some things regarding anger. First of all, anger is one of the normal processes, emotions that we have. Anger in itself is not a bad thing, problems arise when anger is not managed properly. When anger gets out of control and becomes destructive, it causes problems in the workplace, in interpersonal relationships, and in general, causes a deterioration in the quality of life. Similar to other feelings, anger causes some physiological changes: When you are angry, your heart rate and blood pressure rise, and there is an increase in adrenaline and noradrenalin.
Anger may arise out of internal or external factors. You may be angry at a definite person (for example, your colleagues or your boss), at a situation (for example, getting stuck in traffic, cancellation of your plane) or because of your personal problems.
Anger is a mixture of emotional and physical changes. When you are angry, your body expends an enormous amount of energy. This energy spends itself sometimes on a person, a spouse or an object (like punching a wall). The last choice is when a person harms himself/herself. Another choice would be to suppress your anger until the next time you get angry. That would make you react more to the current situation. On the other hand, letting anger manifest itself without control may cause verbal or physical aggression.
The instinctive expression of anger is an aggressive reaction to the situation. When a person is under threat or danger, a reaction of anger is proper. One needs a certain amount of anger to protect one’s self.
Realizing what angers you
The first thing to do is to make a list of situations that make you angry, that trigger your anger. In this list, evaluate the items and note down what really angers you. This could be a current or past event that you haven’t yet come to terms with.
After evaluating the situations you have written down, ask yourself these four questions:
1- Is there any evidence that this situation is correct?
2- Could the situation be interpreted any other way?
3- How should I act to achieve some control over the situation?
4- If my best friend had been in the same situation, what advice would I give?
These suggestions may not work every time you get angry, it will be difficult to assess the situation correctly when you are angry. If the situation has arisen unexpectedly, and if your anger is growing, leave the scene and do the exercise then.
SOLVING THE PROBLEM
If you cannot deal with your anger with this exercise, you must reassess what really angers you. In order to deal with anger, you must be sure of what makes you angry. This is generally related to a person, but within the situation, it is not important who the target of your anger is.
Give yourself time to solve the problem.
It is not easy to try and deal with the issue without getting angry. However, the use of some techniques will help in dealing with anger.
First of all, it is important to confront with the issue, not with the person. It is important to understand the nature of the problem, and what it makes you feel. This way, your control over the situation grows.
Then, it is important to understand each other’s (your adversary’s) views of on the situation. Understanding your adversary means that person has the chance to tell you his/her thoughts on the subject. Thus, you can pinpoint your differences. While doing this, don’t start arguing about the differences, just point out that you don’t agree. This will be your way of solving the problem.
The next step is looking for solutions. Try to generate as many solutions as you can. Even though some may not sound very realistic, try to keep all solutions in mind.
Finally, you have to decide on a solution. This is the most sensitive point of the whole process. Being able to concede reciprocally, and to approve each other is very important for this process. It is also important not to have unrealistic expectations. The final solution reached may not be the ideal solution for both sides, but reaching a settlement is important.
It is important to sustain the agreement. It is also important not to react excessively to a situation that does not please you. Make a note of these facts.
DEALING WITH ANGER
1- The first step in dealing with anger is to recognize the situations that anger you. Being aware will allow you to be prepared for such situations.
2- Practice pausing between stimulus and reaction. Stepping away for the moment from the situation that angers you and giving yourself time will enable you to have more control over your reaction.
3- Before reacting emotionally, be aware of what you are really feeling.
4- Control your bodily reactions. Pay attention to which part of your body you are feeling your anger.
5- Consider the negative and positive results of the reaction you are going to show.
6- If the environment is suitable, do things that will let you spend some effort. For example, walk along the corridor, go up and down stairs…
7- Learn relaxation techniques. Taking deep breaths and simple relaxation exercises are very useful for lightening the feeling of anger.
– Take deep breaths (from your diaphragm).
– Quietly repeat sentences that relax you. “Calm down.” Repeat these while taking deep breaths.
– Use relaxing images from your memory or imagination.
Change the way you think. When you are angry, your thoughts may be exaggerated and overly dramatic. Try replacing those with more logical thoughts. For example, instead of saying to yourself, “This is terrible, everything is ruined,” you could say, “This is annoying, and it is normal that I’m upset about it, but it is not the end of the world, and being angry doesn’t change the situation.”
While talking about yourself or someone else, take care not to use the words, ‘always’ and ‘never’. Sentences such as, “This gadget will never work,” or “You always forget something,” are not only incorrect, they will make you feel you are right to be angry, and do nothing to solve the problem. Remind yourself that making yourself angry will solve nothing and will not make you feel better – in fact, it might make you feel worse!