How often do you find yourself fuming with rage when someone tries to overtake you on the road? Or how likely is it for your blood pressure to just shoot up when your child refuses to eat dinner?
If your answer is somewhere along the lines of ‘too much’ or ‘a lot of times’, that is not a good sign. There is no simpler way to put this than ‘anger always leads to more anger’ and you must learn to control it before it controls you. The best way to do that is, of course, learning the art of anger management.
It is Natural but Destructive
If you were to define anger in the simplest of words, perhaps you would say that it is a natural human emotion or a naturally occurring emotional state that can be categorized in terms of its intensity that ranges from mild irritation to full-fledged rage and fury.
Like any other emotion or feeling such as happiness or sadness, anger also brings with it a number of biological, cognitive and physiological changes in the mind and the body.
Some of the most common signs associated with anger are high blood pressure and heart rate, hormonal changes, perhaps even an adrenaline rush. While it is certainly the body’s natural response that you can’t really stop from happening, it is equally destructive. Anger becomes dangerous and destructive when it gets out of control. Once uncontrollable, you will always find your anger creeping into your work and professional life, and even your personal life, where it wreaks great havoc in your relationships and on your overall health and well-being.
Why Do People Get Angry?
This is one of those life’s puzzling questions to which there is no fixed or definite answer. However, if you really do want to practice anger management, you must understand the reasons why people get angry, and also why some people get angrier, more often than others.
According to Dr. Jerry Deffenbacher’s 1996 model of anger, anger results from a variety of factors. In this model, he explains that it results from a combination of a particular trigger event, qualities, and characteristics of the individual, and lastly, his or her appraisal of the situation.
This is simply described as a situation or an event that serves as a trigger for the anger emotion. An example of a triggering event could be; being insulted by your boss, your car breaking down in the middle of the road, etc.
Such instances cause a person to get angry; however; there are several other mitigating factors that add to the anger other than just the trigger event.
These characteristics involve an individual’s personality traits that basically influence the ways in which they react to their anger. Research has it that there are particular characteristics or traits that make people more prone to experiencing anger. Some of these include competitiveness, low tolerance levels, etc.
So, if you have low tolerance levels, for example, and your car breaks down in the middle of the road, you are most like to display intense anger or even rage because of that trigger event.
Person’s Appraisal of the Situation
Eventually, how much anger a person exhibits in a certain situation boils down to their personal outlook of the situation. Most psychologists refer to this as “cognitive appraisal”, which involves appraising a trigger event as punishable, responsible or inexcusable which is what causes one to get angry.
In other words, appraisal also means how you interpret a situation, and it is also highly probable that it doesn’t make you angry. This is why some people do not get that angry in a given situation compared to others that get worse with every second.
Anger Management Strategies
Although anger is a natural emotion and the body’s automatic response to pain or stress, it is important to tame it and keep it at bay. You can do that by implementing the following anger management tips and strategies.
Think Before You Speak
Most of us often end up saying something in the ‘heat of the moment’, only to regret it later. Such things are said out loud without thinking. This is why it is very important that when you are in a state of anger, you must take a few seconds or minutes to collect your thoughts and then say anything. This is also essential because saying things out of anger simply escalates the situation if anything at all.
Mort often than not, angry people jump to absurd conclusions that aren’t even remotely true. Not just this but then they also act on those conclusions which make matters worse. They fail to take a step back and understand that it is their anger making them reach such conclusions, which are usually inaccurate.
The best way to deal with that is to effectively communicate with the other person. Communication solves half the problem because then you know exactly what the other said or meant.
Engage in Effective Problem Solving
One of the key elements of anger management is trying to identify possible solutions. This involves resolving the issue at hand instead of focusing on what got you angry in the first place. So your car broke down? No worries, try to get help and restart your car instead of getting mad and furious over why it happened.
There is a cultural belief which says that every problem has a solution. So, the ideal way to deal with an infuriating situation is to try to come up with a plausible solution. And if the answer or solution doesn’t come to you straight away, don’t fret over it or lose patience. As long as you make a serious attempt at effective problem solving, you are good to go.
Practice Relaxation Techniques
Sometimes, all that anger management requires you to remain relaxed and patient. Simple and easy relaxation tools like deep breathing can help calm down feelings of anger and annoyance.
One of these techniques includes relaxing imagery in which you picture a relaxing and peaceful scene, and then repeat a calming phrase or word. For example, the phrase, “take it easy”. Repeat it to yourself while breathing deeply. You can also practice meditation, yoga or listen to soothing music as a way to relax or calm yourself.
Anger is easily one of the toughest emotions to battle; however, it is not impossible. Always remember though, you can’t completely get rid of anger from your life, but you can certainly control it. And try to control it to the extent that it doesn’t affect both your mental and physical health.