Have you ever been angry? Anger is a re-action, not an action. And it is a natural emotion that most everyone has experienced at one time or another. Can anger management techniques keep you in check? When do you know that it has gone too far, moved from a normal emotion to a debilitating condition?
Psychologists say that anger is completely normal and healthy, so if you didn’t gt angry once in while that unto itself may be a problem.
Things happen in life that at times make angry; the day or a meeting doesn’t go as planned, an idea of yours is shot down at work, or creative work is turned down. Sometimes people sick their nose in your business where it doesn’t belong, or vent their own frustrations by insulting or bitching to you.
You can feel the anger rising like a temperature gauge on a reactor ready to explode. There are times that you might yell, bang a desk, or a door. Throw and break something even. This unto itself doesn’t denote anger problem, per se, depending on how often it occurs.
On one occasion I was at a gas station with my wife and eight year son in the car with me. The attendant finished with one car, and then another pulled up and he assisted them as he ignored that we were sitting and waiting. I took a breath and let it go. Then another car came and he did the same. My blood was starting to boil.
I got out of the car and took a hose on a free pump and began pumping the gas myself. As the former car pulled off he approached me, challenging me. “You can’t be doing that” he said. I explained I had sat and watched him ignore us time after time, so decided to do it myself. I spoke calmly, though with an edge of anger. he in turn had a lot of attitude and grabbed the nozzle of the hose in an attempt too pry it from me. We tugged back and forth for a moment.
Then I snapped, and without either of us letting go rammed him up against a poll spouting “Do you have any idea how badly I can hurt you right now!”
Out of the corner of my eye I saw the terror in my wife and son’s eyes as they looked on. I was immediately embarrassed by my actions; that I let some gas attendant set me off like that.
As a strong athlete man in his early 30s this was not a solo incident for me. I often met aggressive behavior — whether physical or verbal — head on. During poker games I’d fly off into a rage when someone did something not knowing they were losing and catch a lucky 5% card to win the pot.
Looking back on these incidents with the clarity that only time can provide however, I came to understand that I abdicating control of my actions at the whims of others. And it was this understanding that set the foundation for the change that occurred within me.
Anger Management Techniques
Certainly if you fly into a rage [when something doesn’t go your way]. verbally or physically abusing people or property, or yourself, these could be signs that outside help is needed. But if you’re of right-mind thinking and strong of will, you can regain control of your actions on your own. It is simply a matter of “choosing” to do so.
So before seeking help, do some reading, access anger management resources to take back control of your reactions.
What worked for me was to firstly to gain understanding. I did so by building a foundation on two simple but profound concepts:
- The words of other’s do not define me; what they say about me defines them for saying it, not me for the target of those words.
- When I allow the words or actions of someone to “push my buttons” and set me off, I am essentially handing control of me to them.
When something doesn’t go your way, or someone actually tries to ruin your day [by deflecting their internal anger to you], lashing out is not the productive answer.
If and when you start doing things that can either harm you or those who are around you – that’s when you should start worrying. The feeling isn’t the problem, it’s the way you handle it that completely makes the difference.
Taming the beast inside you isn’t easy. You might have fleeting moments of causing harm to someone for pissing you off or for screwing things up for you, whether intentional or not. This instinctive reaction is normal according to experts. But you have to reign in your anger.
So the next time you find yourself feeling anger rising up within you, try these simple methods to defuse yourself:
1. Think first, talk second. In the heat of the moment you’ll likely say things you wished you hadn’t. Don’t say anything, think first – am I going to allow them to manipulate me? Gather yourself and only then speak, and only if you have something productive to add.
2. Count one to ten. When the cycle ends and you’re still edgy, do it again. Clear your mind of everything except the counting.
3. Avoid unhelpful ways of thinking. Allowing negative thoughts and phrases to bounce your head will only spark your anger.
4. Pull yourself out of the situation. When faced with an explosive situation and rising anger, simply walk away. It’s not hard, it’s a “choice” you have to make. Let go of your ego to win the battle.
5. Be artsy. And no, we’re not kidding. This is the best and the healthiest way to vent out your anger without hurting yourself or anybody else.
6. Walk, jog, jump. Whatever it is, just exercise. This will help you minimize your stress levels and will eventually get that anger and irritation out of your system.
7. Breathe. This is by far, the simplest choice. Close your eyes, block out outside interference and breathe; listen to only your breath. Do some reading on Zen meditation and begin practicing daily for 15 minutes.
8. Go to your friends. Friends can be a non-judgmental sounding board, someone you can vent to, not at, who can take it all in and provide advice, and/or talk you down to a calm state.
9. Know when to seek help. If these and other harmless tricks don’t work, then you may have anger issues that require professional help. don’t be embarrassed to ask for it. Talk to a licensed psychologist within your area, and let him or her give you the assistance that you need.
Anger is a reaction, not an action. As such to manage anger one needs to retool the brain to act in a way that is counter-active to its instincts; to avoid reacting to words and actions.
Try to avoid putting yourself in tense situations. Controlling your anger can also spare you from health problems such as high blood pressure, heart problems, headaches, digestive problems, and skin disorders.
If you can’t control your thoughts and actions then seek out a psychiatrist to help you.