Step by step approach to managing your anger by Emmanuel EttiEmmanuel Etti 14th May 2020 0 COMMENTS
Anger is a healthy emotion. It’s normal and neither good nor bad. It’s a healthy emotion as any other because it conveys a message, telling you that a situation is upsetting, unjust or threatening. It becomes unhealthy or a problem when you express it in a way that hurt others. Simply put, anger is a powerful emotion or feeling you experience when you think someone has done you wrong. For example, he has behaved in a cruel, unfair or unacceptable way. People being people, there’s always a possibility for you getting angry on a daily basis. You may therefore get angry either because you are HURT probably as a result of past happenings, frustrations from current situations or fear from what could probably happen.
Given this background, it’s necessary to learn how to manage or control your anger, express your emotions without hurting others, and keep your temper from hijacking your life. I’m not going to talk about steps on how to get rid of it or eradicate it as that’s not possible. Most people inherit this temperament while some developed it based on hurt or experience.
Facts on Anger Management
There have three ways people approach anger management:
Passive aggression – these set of people tend to be silent, lonely, procrastinators and pretend everything is fine simply because they want to be in control.
Open aggression – these are the “venters”. They have the ability to lash out in anger, becoming physically or verbally aggressive and can often time hurt themselves or others. They confront you immediately they get pissed. They may lose sight of what they said during the situation until a while later where they tend to regret their words. The result isn’t always pleasant as it leads to fighting, shouting, accusations and other negative scenarios.
Assertiveness – these set of people think before they speak. They speak in a confident, patient, open and flexible manner not raising their voice in the process. They talk and listen being open to help in dealing with the situation at hand.
In a relationship, suppressing and ignoring anger isn’t healthy as venting only causes more harm. It fuels fire and reinforces your anger problem. It’s always helpful to be assertive when angry and not venting nor being passive aggressive. Have you ever respected someone who gets angry at every little thing you do? If you can’t control yourself, people will only be afraid of you, but they can’t respect you. They will also not be open or feel free with you. People will only be willing to listen and accommodate you when you communicate your message in a right and calm way. You can’t control situations, but you can control the way you respond to it. Try not to be verbally and physically abusive. Always have a choice to respond to people or things. You can only learn how to manage or control anger. You can’t get rid of it.
Step by Step Approach to dealing with your anger
Step 1: Be aware of warning signs. Becoming aware of your own personal signs that your temper is starting to boil allows you to take steps to manage it before it gets out of control. You also have to pay attention to the way anger feels in your body: pacing or needing to walk around, seeing red, having trouble concentrating, pounding heart, tensing your shoulders, knots in your stomach, clenching your hands or jaw, feeling clammy or flushed, breathing faster, headaches are all ways to let you know that you are angry.
Step 2: When you are angry, acknowledge it. Once you see those signals, keep the blame to yourself. Stop blaming others for getting you angry as this will only make things worse.
Step 3: Identify your triggers or what caused it. Hurts, frustrations or fear?Big fights often happen over something small things. However, there’s usually a bigger issue behind it. If you find your irritation and anger rapidly rising, ask yourself, “What am I really angry about?” Identifying the real source of frustration will help you communicate your anger better, take constructive action, and work towards a resolution. Look at your regular routine and try to identify activities, times of day, people, places, or situations that trigger irritable or angry feelings. Learn how to deal with anger at level 1 (triggering event) because once you allow it get to level 2 (negative thoughts), it becomes difficult. Avoid being stressed out as well. Find out how, who, where, when, and what triggered your anger.
Step 4: Determine who’ll be in control from onset. Once you identify what triggered you, get control of the situation immediately. Most times it’s good to live with belief that everyone can misbehave. Don’t always expect people to be responsible. Once this happens, you won’t be disappointed and then get angry. You expected it so you should have planned on how to get control over such situation
Step 5: Choose how you’ll respond to it.
- Take some deep breaths. Deep, slow breathing helps counteract rising tension. The key is to breathe deeply from the abdomen, getting as much fresh air as possible into your lungs.
- Get moving. A brisk walk around the block is a great idea. Physical activity releases pent-up energy so you can approach the situation with a cooler head.
- Use your senses. You can use sight, smell, hearing, touch, and taste to quickly relieve stress and cool down. You might try listening to a favorite piece of music, looking at a treasured photo, savoring a cup of tea, or stroking a pet. Stretch or massage areas of tension. Roll your shoulders if you are tensing them, for example, or gently massage your neck and scalp.
- Slowly count to ten. Focus on the counting to let your rational mind catch up with your feelings. If you still feel out of control by the time you reach ten, start counting again.
When you start getting upset about something, take a moment to think about the situation. Ask yourself, how important is it in the grand scheme of things? Is it worth getting angry about it? Is it worth ruining the rest of my day? Is my response appropriate to the situation? Is there anything I can do about it? Is acting worth my time? If it isn’t then simply let it go.
Step 6: Stay calm, take care of yourself. Taking care of your overall mental and physical well being can help ease tension and diffuse anger problems. You can do the following:
- Manage stress.
- Talk to someone you trust.
- Get enough sleep.
- Exercise regularly.
- Be smart about alcohol and drugs.
Step 7: Use humor to relieve tension. When humor and play are used to reduce tension and anger, a potential conflict can even become an opportunity for greater connection and intimacy.
Step 8: Recognize if you need professional help. If, despite putting these anger management techniques into practice, your anger is still spiraling out of control, or if you’re getting into trouble with the law or hurting others, you need more help.
Mr. Emmanuel Etti is a writer and certified Supernumerary Police Officer with a demonstrated history of working in the education management industry. He currently works at the Lagos Business School, Pan-Atlantic University, Lagos, Nigeria.