Anger is one of the most influential and important emotions humans have. It is an emotion that often comes out when your siblings change the TV channel without permission. From simple silly events to big ones, many instances induce the feelings of anger in us, albeit at different intensities. Everyone gets angry. It is a primary emotion. Anger is an emotion that has both psychological and physical changes. Anger causes heart beat, blood flow and breath rate to increase along with various other physical changes in our body. When considering psychological changes, anger reduces our concentration, tolerance, patience etc.
Though anger is one of the basic emotions that humans have, that does not mean that every instance of anger is warranted. Some individuals tend to be more ‘hot headed’ than others. They may get angry over the smallest things, have a hard time letting go of the anger, and the emotion they feel over the smallest thing could be of an unproportionate high intensity. Such bouts of anger are not appropriate and can, in many cases, be disadvantageous and even dangerous. So, let's look at some ways through which we can manage our anger., by reducing the emotional feelings as well as the physical changes that anger causes.
Relaxation: making use of relaxation techniques like deep breathing and imagery can help in reducing the emotion of anger. One simple way is to breathe deeply, fill your stomach with air, and hold it for 2 seconds and then exhale slowly, all the while letting go of the anger you feel.
Yoga and exercise: Yoga and similar exercises can help in relaxing your muscles and attain a better sense of calmness. However, it's recommended that it be practised daily for optimal results.
Self- statements: When you feel yourself getting angry, remind yourself that getting angry would not solve anything. Understand the ways in which your words inside your mind are influencing your emotions. ‘I must’ ‘I demand’ is demanding in nature and more aggressive than ‘I would like’.
Problem solving: Most often, it is the liability to find a solution to a problem that leads to frustration. Thus learning skills necessary to be able to be a better problem solver would be beneficial in controlling anger.
Use humour: Humour can be helpful in channeling anger in a different and more beneficial as well as less aggressive way.
Change the environment: Sometimes, modifying the anger provoking situation helps in reducing anger. Taking a few minutes to remain silent, removing yourself from the situation for some time, taking some personal time etc can help.
Identify the triggers: Everyone has a few triggers that provoke anger. Identify those triggers and understand why they attained the triggering capacity. Identifying that trigger can help by either avoiding it or by solving it and taking away its ability to create the emotion of anger.
Communication: Improving communication skills and learning better social skills can help reduce the possibility of anger coming from conversations. It can also equip one better to converse without having to become angry and being completely confrontational.
Understand that anger is a problem at times: some instances and situations call for the person to feel angry. However, a lot of the time, anger is an unwelcome guest that often steals the show. It is important to understand which situations require anger and which does not. Equally important is the understanding of what level of anger is necessary. It is inappropriate and often strenuous to experience high intensity of anger for something that is small like accidentally spilling some water, for instance.
Asking for help: When you are not aware or able to understand if your feelings of anger are warranted or not, it would be beneficial to seek help for family and friends and get their opinion on the situation.
Identify early warnings of escalation and explosion: Sometimes anger exceeds the necessary intensity and the situation gets worse when the person engages in violent and aggressive behaviour. Identifying signs that such things are about to happen would be helpful in avoiding them.
Anger is a normal emotion that sometimes comes out even when it is not needed. Some individuals have a hard time understanding what level of intensity of the emotion needs to be displayed. The above mentioned strategies can be effective in reducing the feelings of anger and gaining control over the emotion. It is also important to understand that anger can be a mask. Anger is an emotion that comes as a substitute to cover other uncomfortable emotions as well. It can be a coverup for, for example, sadness, though this may not be the case at all times. Management of anger is an important ability. Sometimes, understanding where the anger is coming from can also help. Seeking help from a psychologist can be useful for this. Remember, you are the one feeling the emotion.
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