Anger Management: Why and How Should I Practice it?
No, we’re not talking about the Adam Sandler movie (if you haven’t seen it, consider yourself lucky), we’re talking about dealing with one of our most powerful emotions, which is none other than anger. If you’ve clicked on this article, you’ve probably reached a point in your life where you feel that it’s time to start managing your emotions instead of allowing your emotions to get the better of you. Kudos, you’re taking the first step in the right direction!
First, let’s dive deeper into why you should practise anger management.
Your anger is capable of hurting others, and yourself
The way we express our anger not only takes a toll on the people around us, but on ourselves as well. Whether it’s by uttering something malicious you wouldn’t normally say when you’re calm, or by resorting to physical violence, the intent behind those feelings is to lash out aggressively. Have you ever noticed once those feelings of anger and hate have dissipated, that mixed feeling of shame and regret rushes in and nestles itself in your mind? Once you’ve realized this, it’s too little too late, as the damage is done and you can’t take back what you said or did in your angry state. The bottom line here is: anger is capable of clouding your judgement, and it can lead you into a downward spiral of emotional turmoil when the realization of your actions sets in.
Your health and personality may be affected too
Aside from your state of mind, getting hot-tempered easily would cause long-term effects on your body such as hypertension, gastric pain and high blood pressure. These complications are likely to arise if you are in the habit of bottling up your anger. You may think holding it in spares the victim from witnessing your wrath, the so-called act of ‘keeping it together’ but what it actually does is turn that pent-up rage inwards, which leads to adverse effects on your health. Not to mention how all that suppression can cause you to behave in a passive aggressive manner, instead of confronting any issues directly. Unexpressed anger can alter your personality and change who you are as a person.
It can be surmised that anger, if left unchecked, can be pretty destructive; but it doesn’t have to be! Here’s how you can process those angry feelings.
Express your emotions assertively
The keyword here is assertively, as opposed to aggressively. There is a difference, people. By being aggressive, you are outwardly threatening or showing signs of inflicting violence upon another person, while being assertive means you are conveying your concerns or displeasure to the other party in a calm and up-front manner. The latter is an effective way to resolve the issue at hand without hurting anybody, which is an ideal situation for all parties involved. This works when you’re having disagreements with friends, colleagues, and even with your superiors! By responding assertively to a situation, you are fully in control of how you react. Remember, communication works better than intimidation.
Channel your anger someplace else
What if you’re past the point of being assertive and those angry feelings are bubbling close to the surface? No worries – you can always find other ways to get those feelings out of your system, such as by channeling your anger with an activity. This can be done in many different ways, and it works differently for each person. For example, you may find that taking up a strenuous activity such as martial arts may help rid yourself from all the adrenaline your body has produced in response to your anger. If you’re more expressive, having your emotions shown through painting or writing can help make your anger more tangible. Even simple acts such as squeezing a stress ball, tearing up newspapers and screaming into a pillow might help. Time to experiment!
Be intentional in managing your anger
Ironically, when someone else tells us we need to relax, or ‘chill’, it does little to contain the rage monster that comes alive when we get angry. That is why it is better for us to consciously take a step back once we realise our feelings are about to be getting out of control, and take some time to calm ourselves down. Breathe in, breathe out. That’s usually the go-to advice in dealing with our feelings of anger. Focus on your breathing, and let those feelings ebb away. Basically, it means you need to turn on “Zen” mode and relieve yourself of anger. Meditation or yoga may be useful, as it relaxes the body, which in turn relaxes your mind.
Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong when you do experience anger, as it is a normal emotional response to certain things which your mind recognises as unfair or unjust. It’s only a matter of learning how to express it properly. By practising these tips, you may find yourself being able to convey your anger in a healthier way, and you will no longer need to consciously restrain yourself. And ultimately, you will find yourself much happier than you were before.