Anger – finding a way through the red mist
Most of us feel anger at some time, while anger has its place in our emotional toolbox, it often tells us when we or a situation is disconnected to our values and principles, when it is allowed to run out of control it can be a destructive force.
What is Anger
One might think of anger as a secondary emotion or a reaction to our primary reaction of feelings. We will often feel shame, hurt, upset, afraid, attacked, frightened, threatened etc. and this leads to the fury rising in us. This will manifest itself as verbal anger, or sarcasm or perhaps physical attacks. If may also be someone being very quiet and fuming (passive aggressive)
There are many myths about temper. That women don’t get as angry as men or that anger is always bad, that it is never expressed in relationships or that someone causes your fury and is responsible for it. Both genders are equally capable of antagonism and to the same depth.
Anger might flare when faced with a bully. We can see this as a good thing. Yet, no-one but you is responsible for your it. Actions may lose your temper but you are responsible for your anger and managing it.
Often there are distinct phases : a build-up, a trigger, expressing anger, cooling down and reflection and normalisation. Identify the phases in your own experience. Notice the feeling building till the moment you can hold your tongue no longer. Then lashing out, followed by the release of the feelings. Often people then talk about a guilty or reflective feeling as to whether they went too far, slowly this fades as they return to normal.
How can you help yourself
If you want to take control of your anger, it is an active process. You need to have self-awareness and exercise self-control at times, being ready to change your response. We can interfere with the different stages so in the build-up. Can you take the power out of the emotional?
During the build-up if you possibly can give yourself time to choose your reaction. Think before you speak. Collect your thoughts. You thought that you were done with timeouts when you were 10. Yet taking one now can make all the difference to the outcome. In familiar situations when overwhelmed by losing your temper use your knowledge. Timeouts are useful in the build-up stage and the trigger stages.
If you are angry, take deep breaths to counteract the feelings, slow things down – count to ten. Ask yourself if this will be important in 10 years’ time. Think about the physical sensations of your anger, the tension, the tightness and see if you can gently let go. All of these will help you to focus on solutions not reactions.
Anger is very destructive if unchecked, so this last tip offered is get professional help if you feel that you are not controlling it or you feel that you need more support in controlling it.