From reckless drivers to inconsiderate neighbors, anything and everything can tick us off. With myriad annoying stimuli that we contend with every single day, it’s hard not to get angry.
Here’s the problem though. There are long term effects detrimental to one’s physical, mental, and emotional well-being if a person goes through life like a ticking time bomb. These can manifest as headache, insomnia, high blood pressure, and a trail of broken relationships. This is the reason why it is essential that we learn to manage such a negative emotion.
Look, anger, while negative, is a human instinct. It is but natural to get annoyed when a co-employee is slacking off or if your partner does stuff that push all the wrong buttons. The key here is managing how you react when you feel angry. Your reaction, which you have control over, will definitely make the difference.
Here are some ways to deal with anger in a healthy manner:
· Walk away first and cool down. Recognize the emotion and take time to regain calm and quiet.
· Once calm, process whatever you are feeling visà- vis the situation. Identify the reasons why you got angry. You can also identify the outcome you want to achieve.
· If you persist seeing red, you can approach a trusted friend or counselor. Since he/she is not directly involved, he/she can most probably help you see the situation from a different perspective.
On the flipside, anger unchecked can lead to disastrous results. As much as possible, DO NOT:
· Ignore or repress your anger. Once you reach a tipping point, all hell will break loose.
· Explode like a mad man. Not only is it bad for you and your health, it will also negatively affect the object of your anger.
· Go on social media. You might post something that you might regret later.
· Quit or walk out. Walking away is different from walking out. Walking away from the situation is the deliberate act of calming down so you can properly think things through. Walking out is basically just giving up without even trying to remedy the situation.
· Make decisions. Once you are at the height of your emotions, chances are, you are not thinking clearly. Breathe in and out. Take the time to think things through. Remember, it takes years and years to build relationships but it takes one hurtful word to destroy them.
The stoic school of thought also gives a suggestion when it comes to handling anger, that is, to “really take the time to think about what is motivating other people.” This is a whole new level of self-denial, mind you. This line of thinking challenges us to “take the time to act as if we are trying to help them (the cause of the anger) escape punishment from the judge and jury that is the emotional and vindictive part of our brain.” Easy to say but difficult to do, right? While it might be so, just like any skill, given enough practice, we will eventually find ourselves being able to do better anger management.
I close with these words from American pastor, Joel Osteen: “Every day we have plenty of opportunities to get angry, stressed, or offended. But what you’re doing when you indulge these negative emotions is giving something outside yourself power over your happiness. You can choose to not let little things upset you.”