Have you ruined a relationship or physically injured yourself or others as a result of being angry? Is there a consistent pattern of outbursts and rage fueled episodes? Then you probably need to learn to manage your anger.
Anyone who says they never get angry is probably pulling your leg! It happens to all of us. Anger is a normal and even healthy emotion but unbridled rage and anger can wreak havoc on your relationships, health and state of mind, but getting control of your anger is easier than you think.
First, here are some commonly held misconceptions about anger:
- Misconception: Don’t hold it in! Let it out!
Truth: Suppressing and ignoring anger is unhealthy but having an outburst is no better. Instead, look at what is actually causing you to be angry and try to address it.
- Misconception: Anger, aggression and intimidation earn respect and can get you what you want!
Truth: No one respects a bully! They may fear bullies but they don’t respect them. People will be more willing to listen to you and accommodate you if you communicate respectfully.
- Misconception: Anger is uncontrollable!
Truth: You can’t control the situation or how you feel but you can control how your express yourself. You can express your anger without being verbally or physically abusive. How you respond is absolutely your choice and within your control, even though how you feel may not be.
How Anger Can Ruin Your Life
- Physically: Anger means stress and stress means increased susceptibility to chronic disease such as heart disease, diabetes, weakened immune system, insomnia and hypertension.
- Mentally: Chronic anger zaps your mental energy, clouds thinking and reduces your ability to concentrate, focus or enjoy life. It can open to the door to depression and other mental illnesses.
- Career: Constant lashing out alienates colleagues, supervisors, clients and erodes any respect they may have for you.
- Relationships: Uncontrolled anger leaves lasting scars in the people you love most and gets in the way of friendships and relationships. People will find it difficult to trust you, speak honestly or feel comfortable around you.
How to Get Control
What’s really behind your rage? Anger stems from what you learned as a child. If your family was always angry, you may see this as normal and be more susceptible to such expressions of anger. Anger may be a knee jerk reaction to cover up other feelings. If you have a hard time compromising, can’t express much else but anger or view different opinions as a personal challenge, then your anger is probably covering up something deeper. Look within, find out what that is and then make peace with it.
Be Aware of Warning Sings and Triggers! Anger is a normal physical response and thus becoming aware of the warning signs or the things that can trigger you can help you better prepare for the flood of emotions and thus deal with them better. Pay attention to physical signs such as pounding heart, breathing faster or knots in your stomach. Also the psychological signs such as overgeneralizing (Everyone always interrupts me etc…), jumping to conclusions and blaming.
Learn how to cool down! Take deep breaths, listen to music, understand what happens to you when you’re angry and look out for it. Exercise, both regular and just when you’re angry, is an excellent way of releasing pent up energy, maintaining a steady state of mind and controlling your anger. Apps like ayubo.life, which is available for both Android and iOS, can help you start and keep exercising. When you get angry, always ask yourself: How important is this, really? Will it matter next week, next month or next year?
No matter how angry you are, you can take control of the situation and how you react to it! Be the bigger person and don’t give into the urge to ‘let it out’. Instead, be smart and express yourself in a healthy way and, if you feel you absolutely can’t, don’t hesitate to seek professional help from a therapist.