Most of us experience feelings of anger on a regular basis. Although it is a perfectly normal human process, if it is not managed properly, it can often be self-desructive and cause major problems in relationships, both personal and professional.
What is anger?
Anger is characterised as a delusion. The mind reacts to the object of your anger, be it animate or inanimate, and immediately exaggerates the object’s bad qualities. Because anger is based on exaggeration, the thought process of an angry person is unreliable. This is why, at the time, you may think your anger is justified, yet later feel that you reacted badly to a situation.
In a moment of anger, the human body undergoes both emotional and physical changes. Chemicals, such as adrenaline, flow through the body, generating a huge surge of energy within. This energy needs to be released, which is why people often want to take out their anger in a physical way. If this energy is surpressed, it can lead to pent up anger, which will be released at a later time. Pent up frustrations can cause a person to seemlingly overreact to future situations, because the initial energy build up was not dealt with effectively.
Effective anger management is, therefore, vitally important and there are a variety of techniques which can be employed to help:
Exercise – in order to effectively deal with anger, you should be aware of the positive feelings connected with anger, as well as the negative ones. One positive effect of anger is the increase in energy flowing through your body. It may, therefore, be possible to use this energy in a constructive way. Going for a run, the gym or playing a competitive, non-contact sport could work as a personally rewarding way of re-directing this energy. Gentle stretching exercises can work to relieve the muscular tension caused by feelings of anger and frustration.
Relaxation – planned relaxation techniques are a great way to relieve stress and anxiety. Relaxation can take many forms. Some people like to simply listen to music or watch television, which works as a form of escapism. For other people, a long soak in the bath may help to promote calmness.
Meditation is also an effective anger management technique. Taking slow, deep breaths can help to calm the brain. During meditation, the aim is to push distracting thoughts away and try, instead, to focus on positive, peaceful thoughts. Relaxation techniques are best practiced alone, and therefore, it is important to find a quiet location where you are unlikely to be interrupted.
Rationality – one technique, which may take a lot of practice, is the rational dissection of whatever has made you angry. Go to a quiet place and calmly ask yourself:
- What is the problem?
- Is there any evidence to back up my own interpretation of the problem?
- Could there be another explanation?
- What action can I take to control the situation?
- If a friend was in this situation, what advice would I give them?
This technique works to avoid an irrational response to anger, which is generated by the sudden rush of chemicals through the body.