Anger is a problem. Just writing that will cause people to say, “It’s not a problem”. The fact is that one out of five people have anger management issues. Anger by itself isn’t a problem it is when anger becomes destructive to others or to the self that is becomes a problem. Anger is a response to a threat and sometimes the threat isn’t really a threat at all and yet the body reacts as if it was. Sometimes anger becomes a habit and that habit reacts to situations that result in emotional outbursts, destructive actions or behaviors, and that is a problem.
People that put others down, that are highly critical of others, and that speak negatively of others behind their backs often have issues with anger. As you can imagine people with unmanaged anger issues often have difficulty in relationships with others. It is easy to see that people that with negatively charged attitudes and behaviors can suppress positive interactions at work, at home or in other social settings.
Suppressed anger can cause serious problems as well, leading to high blood pressure or even depression. Physically expressed anger can also be harmful to people that are in close proximity to others. Even angry words can be harmful to those near the angry person.
So, what do you do? How do you manage anger?
- Define the threat? What caused you to get angry?
- What are the facts? Was the threat a real threat, an imminent danger to you?
- Step back, take a deep breath
- Remember a time that you were peaceful, let the experience in.
- Shake it out, release the tension.
- Create a new possibility – what positive action can be taken from this experience.
Oh, the steps are simple enough alright but in the moment where the heat is the highest how are you to be calm enough to work the steps?
It takes practice. It takes time to recognize that anger is upwelling in you and then it takes energy to stop and look at anger objectively. It takes practice to stop and review your feelings. It takes practice to recognize the source of your angry feelings.
What makes you angry?
What thoughts or actions create anger for you?
What do you experience when you are driving down the road and you suddenly realize that you coming up way to fast on the car in front of you? How do you respond?
If everyone is doing the best they can in the moment then anger may be misplaced. It is only our interpretations of the issue that creates anger. The situation itself has no emotional content.
Take the time to practice the steps. If that doesn’t work, get help, find someone who you can work with to help you reduce anger in your life.