How much have you lost and blamed anger? Have you been around others who tell you that you are not the same person when you are angry? You are not alone. A lot of individuals struggle with anger.
Let’s begin by understanding what anger is. Anger is “an emotional state that varies in intensity from mild irritation to intense fury and rage,” according to Charles Spielberger, PhD, a psychologist who specializes in the study of anger. Anger is not a “bad” emotion. It is just an emotion. It is a response and communication to yourself when something doesn’t feel right. I encourage you to think of what it is telling you, be curious, instead of judging yourself – but for this there must be a level of delay to breathe, think, and process. That is not as easy as noted.
What angers you? What do you get upset with? And to what extent?
There are external and internal factors that may result in anger. You could be angry when running late, when someone doesn’t do as promised, when you (or someone else) make a mistake. Memories, worries, and personal concerns can result in anger.
Have you heard the Aristotle quote:
“Anybody can become angry – that is easy, but to be angry with the right person and to the right degree and at the right time and for the right purpose, and in the right way – that is not within everybody’s power and is not easy.”
One of the recommendations I have for you be curious of what angers you: do you feel disrespected, alone, hurt, neglected, abandoned….? At that time, take a moment to understand what that word means to you. How were you disrespected? Understanding what disrespect means to you provides a foundation for you to communicate with others.
While anger is not a negative emotion or a bad one, everyone is still responsible for their own behaviors and actions. Have you noticed that there are some individuals who are isolated? Some who punches things? Some who release anger by lashing out to others? Be aware of how you behave and what you do when you become angry. You have a choice to modify to healthier ways to process this anger if you notice that you behave in a way that hurts yourself or others.
I will leave you with a few techniques:
- Take a time out – some time to yourself may result in an ability to deescalate the situation and think thoroughly.
- Take a deep breath – this helps counter the fight or flight response, regulate the nervous system, and distract your thoughts. (Example: Take a deep breath through your nose; breathe in slowly, time the breath to last 5 seconds, hold the breath for 5 seconds, you can do less time if it’s difficult or uncomfortable, release the air slowly (again, time 5 seconds), repeat this process for about 5 minutes.)
- Move – physical activities such as walking, running, or exercise releases hormones which allows that sensation of “runner’s high,” with a paired reduction in stress, anxiety, depression, and anger.