It’s perfectly normal and human to feel angry when you’ve been mistreated or wronged; anger becomes a problem when you express it in a way that harms yourself or others.
You might think that expressing rage is necessary to earn respect but in actuality, anger is much more likely to impair your judgment, influence how you are perceived and even get in the way of your success.
Internalizing a few anger management tips would keep you from lashing out, resentment and speaking off the cuff when you’re offended.
Today’s edition promises anger management tips to help express your emotions without hurting others and keep your temper from stealing your life.
Anger is human’s best survival emotion. The harbinger of resilience – it sustains your fighting spirit when you feel threatened. David Seddon MA Couns, Dip, BA Philosophy, maintains that, ‘anger is often caused by deep sadness and, most often of all, it’s caused by fear‘. He further stressed that anger is a terrible bully that has a way of muscling out all your other feelings. That line resonates with most people who get angry partly as a defence. Anger requires a mental component that scientists do not believe animals possess.
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Regardless of this, animals such as koalas, beavers, cows, dolphins, slow lorises, prairie dogs, swans, hippopotamuses etc., have been seen to express anger. The kind of rage displayed by these animals might most likely be an expression of fear.
So, is anger related to fear? Yes, fear is a cousin to anger, they both relate to our deep need for a sense of control. Anger enhances fear and vice versa. Fear is much more related to loss of control, which can be indeed terrifying.
So, when the going gets tough, anger keeps you going. This is why some people are quick to anger and seem to enjoy it.
What are the effects of anger?
Constantly flaring up all the time or always spiraling out of control can have serious consequences on you and others.
– Career –
Yes, constructive criticism, artistic differences, and heated debate are helpful in a work environment. However, constantly lashing out unprovoked makes it difficult to work with others. It also erodes trust and respect cos you are unable to check yourself.
– Mental health –
Energy levels drop when you’re always angry. Anger consumes huge amounts of mental energy. It distorts your thinking, making it harder to concentrate or enjoy life. It can also lead to or worsen stress, depression, and other serious mental health problems.
– Physical health –
Anger stimulates your body to produce high levels of stress hormones. This makes you more susceptible to heart disease, diabetes, a weakened immune system, insomnia and high blood pressure.
– Relationships –
Misplaced or mismanaged anger can inflict lasting wounds on the people you love most and get in the way of friendships as well as work relationships. Always exploding in anger makes it difficult for others to trust you as they won’t be free to speak honestly, or feel comfortable with you.
Can you control your anger?
I’ve come to agree that suppressing or dismissing anger is unhealthy. Still, be mindful that outbursts and rants only reinforce your anger issue. ‘Controlling your anger’ is similar to flogging a dead horse. You should rather handle it like a real thing.
Make a conscious effort to identify it, understand it, observe its effect, work with it and essentially, ‘accept it’. Although difficult, accept it because it’s easier to live in denial and blame others for provoking you to anger.
I wouldn’t consider myself dangerous although I once wished my mum would slip from a stool she climbed while arranging our study. Earlier, she had yelled at me for not helping out with chores. I was out for exercise that Saturday morning and she already knew my routine. I was red with anger that she insisted I don’t play football that morning. My ill thought that morning was borne out of anger and resentment.
My mother isn’t perfect but she’s the best mom in the world.
A true African woman who gets what she wants when she wants. She’ll give a left back-hand swipe, but draw you closer with the right.
Sometimes, I could be my mother’s best pal. Years ago, my siblings would say I and my mom were emotionally alike. Fast forward to this date, my anger management ship is still sailing. Once in a while, I find myself spiraling out of control, especially with those I love dearly. Sometimes, it turns destructive and gets me into trouble. As a result, my relationships haven’t been all rosy.
Luckily for me, in the course of my anger management expedition, I’ve learnt valuable lessons to share. I’ve realized that owning my emotions is key.
Is it difficult to control your anger?
First off, these are difficult times for a lot of persons. Stress levels have grown amidst the pandemic, natural disasters and looming economic and financial crisis. People have been left frustrated, peeved, antagonized, bitter, infuriated and irritated. If your stress levels are through the roof, chances are, you’re more likely to struggle with managing your temper.
What can you do to curb excessive anger with your loved ones?
The short-term effects of anger can be crippling. It’s capable of ripping a hole in your relationships. To continue as a family, we cannot continue to fail with what needs to be done. We cannot continue to irritate each other.
I’ve since learned to work with my mum like we’re team mates. At some point, I had to summon courage to hold an adult conversation with her. It played out well cause I strived to identify what the problem was. Then I had to prep myself to be transparent, accepting, understanding and compassionate. This has greatly helped me see how much the bond we share has been strengthened. It gave us a chance to feel love on a soulful level, without fear or resentment.
Anger Management Tips: How to be emotionally detached
Face and embrace other people‘s differences — People interacting, working or living together are likely to argue or disagree. As is common with couples, you’ll hear remarks like ‘’they seemed to be the perfect pair’’ but before long, they split up and have bouts of children custody cases.
In pictures, some appear good but underneath that lies a mountain of hurt, anger, resentment, sadness, and fear that they have been unable to share and express in their relationship. Some are just “pleasers” who avoid conflict at all cost. Other times, one person controls the relationship and the other submits unquestionably. Either way, they avoid facing and embracing their issues.
On a child-parent level, I’ve realised that the deepest emotional connections of love are the ones where it allows a child and parent to genuinely express the most difficult feelings at the most difficult times. As an adult and a parent, my mother tried to conceal her vulnerability. I understood the reason behind this and demonstrated that as a grown up, I was always ready and willing to embrace her and her true feelings—anger, fear, pain, and love.
Anger Management Tips: Practicing effective communication skills
— Creating talk time can be difficult, but it’s essential if both parties must work things out. Again, I’ll make reference to my mother. She barely had time to rest let alone address any issue. She was a dedicated career woman, always returning home stressed and worn out. Talking wasn’t always a walk in the park. Sometimes, I had to get my dad to fix a date for what we termed, ‘frankly speaking’. This was so necessary as we expressed our thoughts regarding behaviour – without judgment, attack, or blame. My dad always ensured we were specific, constructive, and positive.
During such discussions, I had to adopt a more fitting approach to convey my thoughts and feelings without being confrontational. Firstly, I always admitted to my role in the problem and in turn, explained how her behaviour affected me. For instance, when leaving the house with my friends, she would insinuate that once it’s past curfew time, ‘stay where you are and don’t come back to this house’. I had to tell her that those words were unwelcoming.
Anger Management Tips: Listening
— A culture of listening should be imbibed. Everyone’s perception, whether or not you agree with it, remains workable. Listening without interrupting or judging works. By just being curious about the reasons my mother wanted me home before the street lights came on, I understood her fears and concern for my safety. Her points may not add up now and again but it’s all love in disguise. I actively engage, maintain eye contact with her, make puppy faces if I have to and say things like, ‘Mom, please I don’t understand this part…’ just to keep her talking and easing off the build-up.
Anger Management Tips: Reconstructing your thoughts
You’ll be setting yourself up for frustrating times if you always expect others to be or do right. You can encourage others to express themselves and whether you agree or not, simply make your point in a manner that says, “I understand and believe that’s the way you see it.”
Anger Management Tips: Empathize with your partner
Regardless of the nature of a relationship, be it romantic, work or family, emotional intelligence is the condiment that spices up relationships. Feelings are never right or wrong; they’re just feelings; all of them are honest. Expressing empathy communicates that you heard and understood other people’s feelings without judgment.
Always equip yourself with the ability to monitor your own and other people’s emotions. It doesn’t need you to be a superhuman. All you need is to be able to discriminate between different emotions and label them appropriately. Afterwards, use emotional information to guide thinking and behavior. Nobody knows it all in these areas but it wouldn’t hurt to try.
Anger Management Tips: Take it in turn
Giving others an opportunity to truly feel heard and validated works like magic. They’re more likely to feel better. It further promotes understanding and helps you reach a consensus on solutions. After listening to others, they should in turn listen to you. Share your story too. The other party should empathize with your thoughts and feelings.
Anger Management Tips: Work as a team
It’s appropriate to always put the issues on the ‘table’, view it as a team, and resolve it. Being excessively angry steals from you the ability to take a critical look at the primary issue. However, when you give the other person an opportunity to be heard, you’re more likely to be rational and work toward solutions. Also, you should identify specific actions each person concerned can take to fix his or her portion of the problem.
Anger Management Tips: Love
Receiving love the way you enjoy it is valid. No one, not even you or the offending party is exempt from love. You’ve probably heard love isn’t enough. It is a selfless act to love others the way they desire to be loved. Pay attention to subtle cues, spend time listening or observing than talking. Finding out what others want isn’t rocket science, it takes attention and care.
- Create the habit of loving — Love isn’t seasonal. Don’t be a hypocrite who waits till Christmas, Salah, Independence day or every other holiday, celebration or milestone to show other people you love them. Love doesn’t have to be give and take. Real love is loving people who don’t deserve to be loved or cannot love you in return. Difficult? Yes, but it’s the truth. Express love with gifts and affection. Consciously doing small acts of love every day creates and reinforces your decision to love others. Practicing love habits boosts connection and understanding. Appreciating others doesn’t have to be materialistic, it could be as simple as greeting each other after work every day. When you show your love, you will feel your love.
In conclusion, experts maintain that anger is a normal, healthy emotion shared by everyone, everywhere. The critical point lies in being able to control situations around you. Guard your emotions jealously, do not ever let your anger get out of hand or land you in trouble.
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