Anger is simply one of our emotions, given to us as an indicator of an injustice and a motivator to take constructive action to right a wrong. Unfortunately, anger also shows up whenever our goal is blocked (e.g. when our time schedule gets suddenly altered) or whenever one of our fears, pain, or struggles (e.g. anxiety/co-dependency/poor self-esteem) gets triggered. Oftentimes, most people go destructive with their anger expressions, leaving more damage in their path–to themselves and others around them. Instead, here are some options for managing your anger in healthier ways:
- Recognize your anger. Increase your self-awareness by reading your body’s biofeedback before things get ugly.
- Are you starting to get agitated/irritable?
- Is your heart pounding faster?
- Getting tense?
The faster you notice these internal gauges getting a little hot, the faster you can make a better choice with your increasing anger.
- Explore your anger. When you get furious, get curious. Take a step back to reflect and process mentally–and even physically, by removing yourself from the inciting situation to a private or calming place to breathe and ask yourself the questions:
- What is ticking me off about this?
- What’s behind my reaction?
- What core value of mine is being poked?
- What goal of mine is being blocked?
- And, Is that a selfish goal or a worthy goal?
Without taking this crucial, and often overlooked, step, the average person looses his/her cool by plunging ahead destructively.
- Filter your anger. After answering those exploratory questions–sometimes even with someone you trust to be objective/un-emotional about the issue–you are in a good place to decide what to do next:
- Do you accept the situation and let it roll off you since you may be making a mountain out of a molehill, or because it’s something broken in you that you need to deal with first? OR,
- Is there an action plan that needs to be developed to funnel your anger toward focus on a solution so that this situation doesn’t happen again, or doesn’t affect you so negatively next time?
- Express your anger. Short of going to an “anger room” where you pay money to demolish old technology/furniture with sledge hammers and baseball bats, the anger has to go somewhere. Yelling at people, getting revenge, throwing things, doing risky behaviors, diving into an addiction–none of these destructive reactions lead to anything positive long-term. Venting just spins you up every time you vomit it out again. Look for another way to “protest” that doesn’t destroy:
- Consider journaling–raw writing like a madman/woman without editing
- Writing about how you feel right now on a piece of paper and burning it on the barbecue
- Having an imaginary conversation (with amped-up emotional release) in the confines of your car in a deserted parking lot.
- Getting physical is a good way to get out that stress, too, and you may want to go for a long run or practice tabata (high-intensity punching and kicking).
Anger turned inward can morph into depression–so, it truly is important to engage it with your chosen “pressure relief valve.”
- Address your anger. With this particular anger-trigger, work a plan that can prevent this situation from inflaming you again.
- Have the courageous conversation.
- Develop a better system.
- Put more margin in your life.
- Go to counseling for more tools on how to handle disappointment.
You are seeking to “get ahead of it” and not fall victim to further bad reactions that will raise your blood pressure and increase negative stress in your life, and in those with whom you life and work.
Please share this post with others who can benefit from more tools on anger management. And if you want to schedule a free 45-minute coaching session to explore your next moves, let’s do it! firstname.lastname@example.org is how to contact me.