Generally we find a disturbed young boy getting angry very easily. He has the passion to achieve but lacks right direction. He gets frustrated with other’s success. He wonders what is missing in him. When he does not get a convincing reply, he gets angry. In such a state, he finds his energy to be draining out depriving him the enjoyment he deserves otherwise.
Anger is an emotional state ranging from minor irritation to intense rage. It can affect us in all stages of our age. The physical effects of anger include increased heart rate, blood pressure, and levels of our energy hormones like adrenaline and noradrenalin, preparing the person to move, and increase of the blood flow to the hands, preparing them to strike. Perspiration increases (particularly when the anger is intense. It becomes the predominant feeling behaviorally, cognitively and physiologically when a person makes the conscious choice to take action to immediately stop the threatening behavior of another outside force. The external expression of anger can be found in facial expressions, body language, physiological responses, and at times in public acts of aggression. Angry persons make loud sounds, attempt to look physically larger, bare their teeth, and stare. Anger, in its strong form, impairs one’s ability to process information and to exert cognitive control over his behavior. An angry person may lose his/her objectivity, empathy, prudence or thoughtfulness and may cause harm to others.
But when it does not find its appropriate outlet in expression and gets out of control to turn destructive, it can lead to problems—problems at work, in your personal relationships, and in the overall quality of your life. And it can make you feel as though you’re at the mercy of an unpredictable and powerful emotion. Unexpressed anger can create other problems. It can lead to pathological expressions of anger, such as passive-aggressive behavior (getting back at people indirectly, without telling them why, rather than confronting them head-on) or a personality that seems perpetually cynical and hostile. People who are constantly putting others down, criticizing everything, and making cynical comments haven’t learned how to constructively express their anger. Not surprisingly, they aren’t likely to have many successful relationships.
Modern psychologists view anger as a primary, natural, and mature emotion to mobilize psychological resources for corrective action. Anger is a completely normal, usually healthy, human emotion. It is a natural, adaptive response to threats; it inspires powerful, often aggressive, feelings and behaviors, which allow us to fight and to defend ourselves when we are attacked. A certain amount of anger, therefore, is necessary to our survival. Uncontrolled anger can however negatively affect personal or social well-being. Some time, displays of anger can be used as a manipulation strategy for social influence. It can potentially mobilize psychological resources and boost determination toward correction of wrong behaviors, promotion of social justice, communication of negative sentiment and redress of grievances.
The angry person usually finds the cause of his anger in an intentional, personal, and controllable aspect of another person’s behavior. One technique for controlling anger is finding agreement with another person rather than a conflict. Since it is injurious to health, in some countries, courses in anger management may be mandated by their legal system. The three main approaches are expressing, suppressing, and calming. Expressing your angry feelings in an assertive—not aggressive—manner is the healthiest way to express anger. To do this, you have to learn how to make clear what your needs are, and how to get them met, without hurting others. Being assertive doesn’t mean being pushy or demanding; it means being respectful of yourself and others.
Anger can be suppressed, and then converted or redirected. This happens when you hold in your anger, stop thinking about it, and focus on something positive. The aim is to inhibit or suppress your anger and convert it into more constructive behavior. The danger in this type of response is that if it isn’t allowed outward expression, your anger can turn inward—on yourself. Anger turned inward may cause hypertension, high blood pressure, or depression.
Some people really are more “hotheaded” than others are; they get angry more easily and more intensely than the average person does. There are also those who don’t show their anger in loud spectacular ways but are chronically irritable and grumpy. Easily angered people don’t always curse and throw things; sometimes they withdraw socially, sulk, or get physically ill. People who are easily angered generally have what some psychologists call a low tolerance for frustration, meaning simply that they feel that they should not have to be subjected to frustration, inconvenience, or annoyance. They can’t take things in stride, and they’re particularly infuriated if the situation seems somehow unjust: for example, being corrected for a minor mistake. One cause for this situation may be genetic or physiological: There is evidence that some children are born irritable, touchy, and easily angered, and that these signs are present from a very early age. Another may be socio-cultural. Anger is often regarded as negative; we’re taught that it’s all right to express anxiety, depression, or other emotions but not to express anger. As a result, we don’t learn how to handle it or channel it constructively. Family background plays a role. Typically, people who are easily angered come from families that are disruptive, chaotic, and not skilled at emotional communications.
It’s best to find out what it is that triggers your anger, and then to develop strategies to keep those triggers from tipping you over the edge. You need to reduce both your emotional feelings and the physiological arousal that anger causes. You can’t get rid of, or avoid, the things or the people that enrage you, nor can you change them, but you can learn to control your reactions.
Since anger is more harmful, you should manage your anger very well. The use of deep breathing and meditation can be used as a means of relaxation. Other interventions include learning empathy, stress management skills, forgiveness, changing how you speak about yourself or others and improving optimism. As an intelligent person, at the time of anger, you can calm down inside. This means not just controlling your outward behavior, but also controlling your internal responses, taking steps to lower your heart rate, calm yourself down, and let the feelings subside.
If you are involved in a relationship where both partners are hot-tempered, it might be a good idea for both of you to learn these techniques.
•Breathe deeply, from your diaphragm; breathing from your chest won’t relax you.
•Use imagery; visualize a relaxing experience, from either your memory or your imagination.
•Non-strenuous, slow yoga-like exercises can relax your muscles and make you feel much calmer.
•Drink some cold water at the time of getting angry. If you see someone is getting angry, you may please serve him/her the same.
•Try replacing your hurting thoughts with more rational ones. For instance, instead of telling yourself, “oh, it’s awful, it’s terrible, everything’s ruined,” tell yourself, “it’s frustrating, and it’s understandable that I’m upset about it, but it’s not the end of the world and getting angry is not going to fix it anyhow.”
•Be careful of words like “never” or “always” when talking about yourself or someone else. “This machine never works,” or “you’re always forgetting things” are not just inaccurate, they also serve to make you feel that your anger is justified and that there’s no way to solve the problem. They also alienate and humiliate people who might otherwise be willing to work with you on a solution.
•Remind yourself that getting angry is not going to fix anything that it won’t make you feel better (and may actually make you feel worse).
•Logic defeats anger, because anger, even when it’s justified, can quickly become irrational. So use cold hard logic on yourself. Remind yourself that the world is “not out to get you,” you’re just experiencing some of the rough spots of daily life. Do this each time you feel anger getting the best of you, and it’ll help you get a more balanced perspective.
•Angry people tend to demand things: fairness, appreciation, agreement, willingness to do things their way. Everyone wants these things, and we are all hurt and disappointed when we don’t get them, but angry people demand them, and when their demands aren’t met, their disappointment becomes anger. As part of their cognitive restructuring, angry people need to become aware of their demanding nature and translate their expectations into desires. In other words, saying, “I would like” something is healthier than saying, “I demand” or “I must have” something. When you’re unable to get what you want, you will experience the normal reactions—frustration, disappointment, hurt—but not anger. If you find someone angry on this reason, try to get him appreciated or you may do it.
•Sometimes, our anger and frustration are caused by very real and inescapable problems in our lives. Not all anger is misplaced, and often it’s a healthy, natural response to these difficulties. There is also a cultural belief that every problem has a solution, and it adds to our frustration to find out that this isn’t always the case. The best attitude to bring to such a situation, then, is not to focus on finding the solution, but rather on how you handle and face the problem.
•Make a plan, and check your progress along the way. Resolve to give it your best, but also not to punish yourself if an answer doesn’t come right away. If you can approach it with your best intentions and efforts and make a serious attempt to face it head-on, you will be less likely to lose patience and fall into all-or-nothing thinking, even if the problem does not get solved right away.
•Angry people tend to jump to—and act on—conclusions and some of those conclusions can be very inaccurate. The first thing to do if you’re in a heated discussion is to slow down and think through your responses. Don’t say the first thing that comes into your head, but slow down and think carefully about what you want to say. At the same time, listen carefully to what the other person is saying and take your time before answering.
•Listen, too, to what is underlying the anger. For instance, you like a certain amount of freedom and personal space, and your “significant other” wants more connection and closeness. If he or she starts complaining about your activities, don’t retaliate by painting your partner as a jailer, a warden, or an albatross around your neck.
•It’s natural to get defensive when you’re criticized, but don’t fight back. Instead, listen to what’s underlying the words: the message that this person might feel neglected and unloved. It may take a lot of patient questioning on your part, and it may require some breathing space, but don’t let your anger—or a partner’s—let a discussion spin out of control. Keeping your cool can keep the situation from becoming a disastrous one.
•Silly humor can help defuse rage in a number of ways. For one thing, it can help you get a more balanced perspective. When you get angry and call someone a name or refer to them in some imaginative phrase, stop and picture what that word would literally look like. This will take a lot of the edge off your fury; and humor can always be relied on to help unknot a tense situation.
•Angry people tend to feel that they are morally right, that any blocking or changing of their plans is an unbearable indignity and that they should NOT have to suffer this way. Maybe other people do, but not them! When you feel that urge, he suggests, picture yourself as a god or goddess, a supreme ruler, who owns the streets and stores and office space, striding alone and having your way in all situations while others defer to you. The more detail you can get into your imaginary scenes, the more chances you have to realize that maybe you are being unreasonable; you’ll also realize how unimportant the things you’re angry about really are. There are two cautions in using humor. First, don’t try to just “laugh off” your problems; rather, use humor to help yourself face them more constructively. Second, don’t give in to harsh, sarcastic humor; that’s just another form of unhealthy anger expression.
•Sometimes it’s our immediate surroundings that give us cause for irritation and fury. Problems and responsibilities can weigh on you and make you feel angry at the “trap” you seem to have fallen into and all the people and things that form that trap.
•Give yourself a break. Make sure you have some personal time scheduled for times of the day that you know are particularly stressful. One example is the working mother who has a standing rule that when she comes home from work, for the first 15 minutes nobody talks to Mom unless the house is on fire. After this brief quiet time, she feels better prepared to handle demands from her kids without blowing up at them.
•If you and your spouse tend to fight when you discuss things at night—perhaps you’re tired, or distracted, or maybe it’s just habit—try changing the times when you talk about important matters so these talks don’t turn into arguments.
•If your child’s chaotic room makes you furious every time you walk by it, shut the door. Don’t make yourself look at what infuriates you. Don’t say, “well, my child should clean up the room so I won’t have to be angry!” That’s not the point. The point is to keep yourself calm.
•If your daily commute through traffic leaves you in a state of rage and frustration, give yourself a project—learn or map out a different route, one that’s less congested or more scenic. Or find another alternative, such as a bus or commuter train.
•If you feel that your anger is really out of control, if it is having an impact on your relationships and on important parts of your life, you might consider counseling to learn how to handle it better. A psychologist or other licensed mental health professional can work with you in developing a range of techniques for changing your thinking and your behavior. When you talk to a prospective therapist, tell her or him that you have problems with anger that you want to work on, and ask about his or her approach to anger management. Make sure this isn’t only a course of action designed to “put you in touch with your feelings and express them”—that may be precisely what your problem is. With counseling, psychologists say, a highly angry person can move closer to a middle range of anger in about 8 to 10 weeks, depending on the circumstances and the techniques used. It’s true that angry people need to learn to become assertive (rather than aggressive), but most books and courses on developing assertiveness are aimed at people who don’t feel enough anger. These people are more passive and acquiescent than the average person; they tend to let others walk all over them. That isn’t something that most angry people do. Still, these books can contain some useful tactics to use in frustrating situations.
•Remember, you can’t eliminate anger—and it wouldn’t be a good idea if you could. In spite of all your efforts, things will happen that will cause you anger; and sometimes it will be justifiable anger. Life will be filled with frustration, pain, loss, and the unpredictable actions of others. You can’t change that; but you can change the way you let such events affect you. Controlling your angry responses can keep them from making you even unhappy in the long run.
•When someone you know is angry, he or she may stamp away or stop talking to you, or become quiet and withdrawn. Some people scream and try to hit or harm anyone close by. If a person is this angry, you should get away as soon as possible. Once you are away from the angry person, stop and think. Try to figure out what made that person so angry. Can you make the situation better? How does the other person feel? When the other person has cooled down, try to talk about the problem. Listen to what he or she has to say.
•Don’t lose control if you get angry. Taking it out on others never solves anything. Instead, admit to yourself that you are angry and try to figure out why. What can you do to keep the situation from happening again? If your little sister gets a toy and you don’t, it’s not OK to break that toy. Maybe you can ask her to share it with you. Or if your science homework is too hard, don’t rip up your notebook. Ask your teacher or a parent for help instead
•Adopt anger busters like talking to a friend you can trust, counting 1 to 10, getting or giving a hug, jumping jacks or another exercise, drawing a picture of your anger, playing a video game, running around the outside of the house five times as fast as you can, singing along with the stereo, pulling weeds in the garden, thinking good thoughts (maybe about a fun vacation or your favorite sport), taking a bike ride, going skateboarding, playing basketball or doing something active.
Be Happy – Manager Your Anger Well.