Anger! State of mind…

Yes, anger is simply a state of mind but, it affects the whole body. Moreso, it affects relationships too. Anger can be both internal and external. Many experts have written about anger management, how to control it etc. The point is, should anger be managed or controlled? Before finding out that answer, I feel, we need to first understand what is anger and what causes it

The dictionary meaning says, it is “a strong feeling of annoyance, displeasure, or hostility”. If you look at the meaning carefully, you will see that all the mentioned feelings are caused due to high expectations or lack of understanding of the situation.

According to a research, 90% of the causes of anger are due to external According to a research, 90% of the causes of anger are, due to external circumstances and most of the cases are not in our control. What does this mean? Let us take an example to understand this better. The most common example is road rage. Let’s say you are on your way to the office, and suddenly a car, without any prior indication, cuts your lane. How would you feel? Angry, right? This feeling is caused due to an external factor which was not in your control. In another situation, let’s assume, your boss comes to the office in a bad mood, which you are not aware of, and starts yelling at you for simple things. This may upset and anger you, right? Again, the cause is an external circumstance which was totally not in your control. If you stop and think about the last few instances when you got angry, you will be surprised to find that in most cases, the cause was external and/or not-in-your-control conditions.

The second reason for anger is due to internal situations, when the anger is on oneself. This kind of anger is a very dangerous form of anger and needs to be controlled very early. This happens due to high expectation from oneself and/or because of not knowing one’s self-worth. The good news is that both, external and internal, reasons can be easily tackled if you learn to handle it before the actual trigger.

Anger causes resentment and hatred, which is like poison to the body. When you drink it, others do not suffer, it’s the person who drinks it, you, who suffers. Which means, what happens around you is not in your control most of the time but, how you would like to react to it, internally, is totally in your control. Do not let external things affect you.

Let me explain that by using a real life situation. You wake up in the morning to see there is no power at home. The backup power is running, but the geyser is not working. You call the power supply company, and they say they have a major break-down and it will take time for them to fix it. You loose your cool, feel frustrated and start venting out your anger at the company, telling them that they do a shoddy job, they are irresponsible etc. But does that solve the problem? Does the power get restored once the call gets over. No! In stead of that, if you try to understand the situation and discuss with them and try identifying some workaround wouldn’t that be more helpful. All that getting frustrated and yelling will do is, it will spoil your mood and as a result maybe your entire day too. Above all this, once the power is back, if you call the power company and express your gratitude to them, even their day will be made. This way both parties have a relaxed day and the tiredness eases out.

So it’s how we handle the situation that matters. It may not be as smooth as mentioned in the example above, always. Yes, you will have your share of anger. However, in most cases, we can resolve issues much quicker by maintaining a cool composure. Another thing to be mindful of is that, you can’t impress or satisfy everyone. There will be people against you always but, getting angry for it doesn’t help. 

According to a Yale University study, people who get angry frequently fall sick often, and their immune system gets affected, in return. A National Medical Association of America’s research has shown that, more anger leads to increased chances of significant health issues, including heart attacks and high Blood Pressure. This is due to the excessive flow of adrenaline into the blood and no physical action after that.

So, what is the solution? Does counting reverse (10-1) help? Does deep breathing help? The answer is, maybe and may not be. Let me tell you why. Assume you are angry at this moment. Will you be able to tell yourself, “let me count 10-1” or, will you vent out your anger. Can you think of “breathing hard” or do you feel like yelling at the other person? Yes, you may practice these if you are getting angry quite often. The point is, why do you have to get angry in the first place?

Practice these few techniques to prevent or avoid getting angry. Its easier to avoid anger than to control or manage it.

Let it go:The first thing we need to learn is to let go of those situations which make us angry. Practice making a conscious decision to let it go. For example, make a decision that you will not react to anyone on the road. Even if someone cuts your lane or anyone causes and nuisance on your way. Learn to ignore it because, even if you get angry, the situation will not improve. Your reaction to these incidents, while on your way to the office, will have a cascading effect. If you reach the office in a bad mood, you will find yourself reacting to small things, upsetting your day and so on. You may end up spreading his negative energy to others around you too. It may affect the decisions you need to make at work etc etc. So learn to let it go.

Learn: Learn from your previous experiences. Before you go to bed, write down or think of, the situations when you got angry during the day. Think about what you could have done to avoid it because, in most of the cases, we can actually, avoid or ignore it. Learning from your experience will make you better equipped in handling anger in the future.

Expectations: High expectations from others and self is another one of the significant reasons for anger. Know the people you are working with and make sure that you do not expect higher than wht they can deliver. Expecting less and getting more out of someone will make you happy rather than angry. When it comes to yourself, have patience. There is no limit to what you can achieve, but sometimes it may not happen as planned, so have patience and trust yourself. Whenever you are angry with yourself, take a walk or do some exercises which will relax your muscles and ease that anger within.

Self-control: Practice self-control through meditations and proper planning. In meditation, we learn breathing techniques which help in self-control. If you get into a situation of anger, you know how to breath hard and control your anger. Exercises also act as a useful technique for self-control — exercise at least for 45 mins every day.

External factors: Do not allow others to control you or your emotions. Do not be a slave to others. Learn to repress or ignore the external factors as required. As most of  the causes of anger are external factors, your response to it makes a big difference. Learn to forgive and move on if it has hurt you, rather than reacting to it through anger. It is you who will get hurt when you respond, that is something you need to remember always.

Feedback: Be open to feedback. “Feedback” is generally understood as a negative term. When one gets feedback from someone, they should be open and receptive. Anger should not be the reaction to any feedback. Learn to take feedback in a positive mindframe.

If one religiously follows all the above mentioned techniques, does it mean that they will never be angry? No… It is human nature to get angry. These techniques can help a person avoid getting angry very often. Getting angry is not always bad; it sometimes teaches you the art of survival. Once, when a 100 people were asked, “Do you like being angry or happy?”, 100 out of 100 of them replied that they want to be happy. That’s the natural human desire. Then why not invest time in learning the art of controlling our emotions and feel happy always? The secret is to know that, “there are people out there who will make you angry, but it’s up to you to choose the way you want to react to their behaviour”! Have a Peaceful Life!

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