Anger, it seems to be one of the few emotions that comes as naturally as breathing. Nobody escapes its clutches for long and yet despite its negative connotations, it is an important release valve that can help ensure our mental health and wellness.
In this blog, we’ll give you the download on anger and how to manage it so it becomes an asset, not a liability.
According to psychologists, anger is a healthy emotion; it’s an automatic response to pain or discomfort such as feeling attacked, deceived, frustrated, or unfairly treated. Like all emotions, it serves an important purpose.
For one, it provides an opportunity to upskill your emotional intelligence and do some introspection.
How’s that you say? Anger is like an alarm. It alerts us to perceived vulnerabilities in ourselves and triggers a fight response. The trick is to ensure you listen to the alarm and then choose to acknowledge it. How you choose to acknowledge it is a definitive sign of your emotional intelligence.
The funny thing with anger is often the object of our anger is not the primary reason for our anger.
Say your mom is demanding you clean your filthy room. Your first reaction may be anger. Anger that someone else is demanding how you spend your time or shape your priorities. You may feel the need to rebel or lash out, but when you weigh the consequences for doing so or the mere futility, you resign and do as you’re told. Now, when the job is done and you’re able to find things in your room again, it’s funny how that anger disappears and a sense of accomplishment often lofts over you.
In this case, anger may alert us to a possible infringement on our freedom, but in exercising a little emotional intelligence we realize that our mom loves us and has no real interest in limiting our freedom, but is trying to constructively help us develop into a mature individual.
It is always difficult to see this in the moment of our anger, but if we exercise discipline and tap into that rational part of our brain we are able to dismiss the reason for our anger and then let it go.
When you take constructive steps to addressing the root of your anger in a disciplined and rational way, you are managing it in a healthy and intelligent way. However, when our anger trumps our discipline and overcomes our reason it can be a destructive thing.
Just like fire, if it is used prudently it can be life giving, but when used foolishly it can reign destruction on you and those around you.
Handling your anger in a healthy, constructive way is a skill and like any skill it requires dedication and patience to master.
Common unhealthy responses to anger includes suppression, violence, aggression and passive-aggression.
When you deal with anger poorly, you’ll increase your chances of developing mental health issues, cardiac issues and heighten your likelihood of developing drug addictions or alcohol abuse to help you cope. No kidding. It is a powerful emotion that ruins many lives.
Not sure how to deal with anger in a healthy way? We’ve got some top tips to help you out:
Don’t react, think
Think and try to understand your anger before you react. Anger can be lifesaving when you’re being mortally threatened, but let’s face it, we don’t live in the jungle or savanna any more. We live in a civilization. Letting anger master you instead of you mastering it is a recipe for disaster in today’s world. We know you know exactly what we mean. So, do yourself a favor when anger washes over you, count to 10 and ask yourself why you’re angry and if what you want to say or do we’ll make things better or worse.
Do some exercise
Anger can be a difficult thing to shake-off. If your anger is something you just can’t find a way to let go of, try channeling it into exercise. Remember, many of these emotions served very practical purposes throughout our evolutionary history and so sometimes it may be nature’s way of getting us out of our chair and into the gym.
Respond when you’re calm
You’re in control. So, despite how you may feel or the expectations others may have on you, it is you and you alone who determine how you respond to your anger. A cool head tends to prevail in most circumstances. Do yourself a favor and choose to respond when you’re able to bring to bare all your faculties. It is a solid strategy to get ahead in life.
Don’t hold a grudge
Almost every civilization esteems the power and practical benefit of forgiving and discourages holding grudges. There is a simple reason for this, forgiveness, whether it be forgiving another or yourself, is critical to your mental health and a peaceful society.
Holding on to your anger and refusing to take steps to let it go is like driving a car with no oil in it. You may make it a few miles, but it is only a matter of time before something gives in that engine of yours and your car quickly changes from an asset to a liability.
A grudge doesn’t help anyone. So, dig deep and remember that experiencing anger is natural, holding on to anger is a choice.