Aristotle observed over 2,500 year ago, that: “Anyone can become angry — that is easy. But to be angry with the right person, to the right degree, at the right time, for the right purpose, and in the right way — this is not easy.”
Anger is an instrument of exercising control – because angry people get what they want. To them, their anger is a precious thing. And thus it is not uncommon that people would hold on to anger for months, even years. Why? Because their anger brings them some pay-off. Using anger is a way for people to express a feeling of ‘not good enough’ towards people around them, their surroundings and every other thing that they can blame.
How do you know if you have anger inside you?
Do you overreact to situations which you later regret?
Are you often upset over things or have a recurring grudge?
Has anyone other than the one you were angry with ever received your angry outburst?
Do people try to appease you only to stop you from getting angry?
Are other people, including you, scared of your anger?
Have you noticed a negative impact on the people you live or work with due to your anger?
Have you ever become violent when you were angry?
These questions are difficult to face, yet we are all guilty of using anger sometime or the other, and sadly, very often on our loved ones.
What can you do?
Most people think the opposite of expressing their anger is suppressing it; however what they need is to calm themselves from the inside. It is not about controlling the external behavior only, but also modifying your inner response.
Anger is a natural feeling, hence suppressing is never a solution. It only makes the person eternally hostile, cynical and passively-aggressive. Anger may not be a bad thing, yet one must consciously choose to express it with control and civility and never violently.
Some helpful tips on how to deal with this emotion:
1. When you are angry, don’t speak – Silence will give us the time to gain control over the emotion which otherwise is controlling us. This way you are also certain that you have not hurt the feelings of others, and have not allowed the matter to aggravate. Remember, angry words will receive unpleasant responses.
2. Shift your focus from those who tend to make us angry – It is strange that some people enjoy the spectacle you make of yourself when you are mad with anger. They think, and quite rightly that they control your mood. You must break that notion that they hold so much worth so as to make us angry. Being indifferent to them would discourage them to provoke us.
3. Use logic to deal with anger – By using a logical dialogue in your mind, you can remind yourself that the anger you feel is not fully rational and will not help you, and rather make things more complex. In this manner, you can train yourself to ‘argue’ with the feeling and gradually conquer it.
4. Be kind to others – A very generous and uplifting approach to heal yourself is by understanding that the other person may not have any malicious intent after all and has unknowingly and unintentionally created a situation for you to get angry. Being kind will restore your inner calm and help you be less angry.
5. Value peace and try not to ‘sort it out’ every time – At times, it would be a wise to weigh the expression of anger to the unrest it would create. Peace is the reward of your forbearance and it surely requires great maturity. The urge to ‘sort it out’ would gradually subside. An angry outburst causes lot of corrosion to the environment, which ironically one may have to be in, long after the anger has subsided.
6. Focus on something else – When we are overcome by the feeling of anger, all our energy and mental focus is concentrated on that one matter which has angered us. We find ourselves incapable of thinking of anything but that which has made us angry. Consciously choosing to focus on a pleasant and positive thought is the best remedy for deflecting our energy to the positive feeling.
7. Value your dignity – Generally speaking; people who get angry are also those who are full of remorse, whether or not they acknowledge it. Because being angry makes us speak or do things which we do not feel proud of later on. In fact we want to forget how irrationally we behaved and secretly try to undo the unnecessary and often disproportionate damaged caused by our anger. If we choose our dignified and refined demeanor over our anger at all times, we may learn to express it more politely and eventually have more control over ourselves.
8. Recognize the signs – Sadly, this is something others can do better for us. Nevertheless, there exists a definite pattern in our anger. Recall and analyze what is common in the situations that you are angry – it could be a specific person, a procedure, a particular incident which triggers your ‘hot button’ or may be when you are stressed or tired. Avoid them, or at least be more alert and aware in these circumstances.
9. Have more realistic expectations – Angry people demand fairness, appreciation, acknowledgement; basically they want things to go their way, always. This is not a real and justified image of the world. What you expect the world to be decides how you respond to how the world actually is! One must learn to accommodate and also be content with ‘what is’ and not express anger and disappointment for ‘what should be’. Be less demanding and critical of others and avoid fault finding.
10. Smile and be happy- Smile at children playing, smile at the person who serves you, smile at your co-worker, spouse, neighbor. It reduces your stress; it gets you another smile in response. It makes anyone happy. A happy person is less likely to get angry too easily and for too long.