How to manage Anger?

“Anger is never without a reason, but seldom a good one”- Benjamin Franklin 

Everybody gets angry very quickly, its not something one has to be proud of. I hear people say in a pompous manner “You know I am very short tempered”, then immediately my inner voice says “what? who the hell in this world cares your bloody anger” but instead I laugh at those people and continue to shake my head to what they are saying. The size of a man is measured by the size of the things that make him angry. If you cannot control your anger you cannot control yourself which is an obvious chink in you armor. If you find yourself losing the strength of your temper strings then it is time to make some changes in your behavior. Let us explore how

Methods which will not work for sure

There are many theories on anger control and management but sadly very few are effective. One of the most common and dangerous misconceptions of anger management is “anger ventilation”. Some people(even a few psychologists) advise to vent out your anger on someone or something so that you will feel relieved , though this technique sounds quite seducing its advantages are far from the truth. When you vent your anger on someone/something you will not feel relieved( the relief that you get is instead pseudo-relief and its lifespan is momentary) and may also face disastrous consequences. Another common misconception is suppression of anger. To be frank this is a better option than the former and is very widely used by people especially when you have no other option and also in situations where even your minute display of anger can cause a calamity in your life( like before a higher authority, principal ,etc). The problem with suppression is our internal “anger-holders” are too fragile and even a slightest moment above the threshold can put a person into serious trouble.

Internal Mechanism

Before we get into the solutions part, let us understand the working of our brain during the moments of anger ( please do not get angry on me, I am neither a medical student nor going to bombard you with complicated chemicals and brain parts. I promise we will keep it simple ). As “Daniel Goleman”, the author of Emotional Intelligence, says  the universal trigger for anger is the sense of being Endangered. The threat can be both physical and symbolic. Some examples of Symbolic threats include a rude behavior by your colleague, a verbal brawl in office. Whatever might be the threat or trigger, two types of chemicals are released in the brain. For convenience’s sake let us call them    Type A chemical/Ripple and Type B chemical/Ripple. When Type A chemical is released, anger lasts for a short time and the energy surge fizzles out after a few minutes. When type B chemical is released it may last even for days together and slowly the anger gets accumulated and may act as a breeding ground for future angers (it is also called anger upon anger). Stress is a common factor which induces Type B ripple through the nervous system. A person is more likely to react angrily after a hectic and grueling day in office than a person who has come from a spa. That is the reason it is difficult to talk logic with some one who is angry. Slowly the anger gets compounded and reason decreases exponentially.

The Solution

Psychologist “Dolf Zillmann” sees two main ways of dealing with anger. One way is to change the frame of reference. Diffuse the anger by observing the thoughts which cause it in the first place and question the authenticity of those thoughts. Observe your thoughts from a different frame(perspective) and in an unbiased manner. Once we get to the cause of the problem or contemplate why we are getting angry , half the work is done. The reasoning part once again takes over the control and puts your thoughts in order. You may also contemplate the consequences of your anger and really question yourself what is the use of being furious. Second way is using distraction to your advantage. That is not allowing your anger to get compounded. This can be done by simply walking out of the situation to a more lonely place to cool off psychologically. Exercise and deep breathing also help tremendously.

“Anybody can become angry – that is easy, but to be angry with the right person, to the right degree, at the right time, for the right purpose, and in the right way – that is not easy” –Aristotle

–Raviteja Visakoti

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