Anger Management 101
We’ve all seen a volcano (on the screens obviously!) The burning lava inside it rises and boils with every second…and as it crosses the threshold, BOOM! The mountain erupts in rage!
We aren’t any different when we are angry, are we? We channel the emotionally traumatized parts of us into aggression and outbursts. In a car of emotions, we can't let our anger take the driver’s seat nor can we stuff it up in the trunk. We must deal with it smartly to make our ride easy!
This blog is a guide to all the tick marks there are in dealing with anger issues.
Our anger is the inner voice that revolts when things are unfair. Anger can be healthy in setting boundaries and recognizing situations and behaviors which hurt us.
Anger issues arise not as a result of us feeling furious but as being unable to process, handle and express the strong waves of fury healthily.
Anger stems from situations that wound us not just psychologically but emotionally and physically too.
Ananya may feel very angry when her grandmother refuses her to go out with her friends, but as her values overpower her impulse, she suppresses it. Therefore, the intensity and expression of anger vary according to the depth and quality of our relationships with people.
Countless instances may trigger the dormant demon of anger when there is a lack of empathy, misunderstandings, or an inability to fulfill the expectations required from us in relationships. When each other’s irritating habits (forgetfulness, carelessness) exceed limits or when little annoying things pile up over time suddenly wriggle out of our minds; Or simply you’re infuriated because someone ate your sandwich! These instances bring tiny cracks in our relationships, paving the way for anger to seep into our relationships.
Misplaced anger is another common cause. Just like when your order gets delivered to the wrong address, your anger when exhibited on an innocent person, refers to misplaced anger.
- Do you feel angry frequently?
- Does your temper damage your relationships?
- Do you lose control over yourself when blinded by rage?
- Does your anger hurt others and make you feel guilty?
If your answers lean towards yes to these questions, you may have issues dealing with your anger.
Occasional anger in our everyday life is normal. It is important to recognize and rationalize the source of this anger and deal with it calmly and strategically.
Pause your emotions in that moment of fury. Count backward, drink cold water, focus on your breath, or just close your eyes.
Try relaxation techniques like box breathing (inhaling while counting to 4, holding your breath till 4 counts and exhaling as you count till 4), repeating a calming phrase (‘It's okay’ or ‘Chill’), imagining your happy/peaceful place or indulging in pranayama.
Just as when the milk boils, you turn off the flame, it's important to cool yourself down in the heat of the moment. Slowly analyze the situation and question yourself ‘Is my anger justified?’ or ‘How do I deal with this situation more maturely?’ and know that ‘When you blurt, you hurt’
When Sakshi is vexed at Aarav, she takes a moment to understand the reason behind Aarav’s behavior that irked her. If he forgot her birthday, she makes sure to ask him why he did it before reacting. (Possibly he was just planning a surprise party for her?) Talking, understanding, accepting the other person’s faults, and cementing the cracks with kindness and sympathy go a long way in nurturing healthy bonds.
3. React Mindfully
In the words of Buddha, “Do not return anger with anger, instead learn to regulate your emotions.” Avoiding battle and bloodshed by responding to the sword of anger not with another furious sword but with the shield of patience and empathy, recognizing the source behind the anger (parents’ concern gets expressed as anger at times), and realizing that the anger will weaken with time helps balance out the situation and lessen the list of regrets.
4. Admit and Apologize
Incidents of anger issues worsen when the opposite person remains casual about it. To foster blooming relationships, one must learn to define their tolerance levels, respect the other person’s boundaries, swallow your ego and admit your mistakes, apologize from the heart, and learn to forgive and let go without holding grudges.
When anger issues become intensified to the extent that you lose control over it and it starts hampering your relationships, there is no shame in seeking professional help to help you deal with your triggers in a much healthier way. The therapist could guide you to react better in such situations and to channel your frustration in a much more constructive way.
As Mark Twain very rightly said,
Anger is an acid that can do more harm to the vessel in which it is stored than do anything on which it is poured.
So, instead of labeling our emotions as good or bad, we must learn to accept them and know that they are natural. Expressing our feelings in the right way will keep our mind light and refreshed!
Written by: Aqsa Merchant (BA Psychology, FY, The Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda) Proofread & edited by: Rubal Prajapati (Counseling Psychologist and Ph.D. Scholar at Bharathiar University)