How To Manage Anger – A Simple Way Out Of Hot Temper
We all get angry sometimes. Anger is a common and normal emotion, and it can be harmless. There is no problem with getting angry sometimes, the problem would be how you manage it.
Anger is an emotion that is neither good nor bad. Like any emotion, anger conveys a message. It tells you that a situation is annoying, unjust or threatening.
It is perfectly normal to feel angry when you have been cheated, mistreated or wronged. But anger becomes a problem when expressed in a way that it harms others and yourself. This type of anger is unhealthy, and it is the major reason for this post.
Anger is unhealthy when it flares up all the time or goes out of control. This type of explosive, high frequency anger can have serious negative impact on our health, relationships and state of mind.
The good news is that getting chronic anger or hot temper under control is easier than many people think.
Let me give you a prescription that would help you manage anger, when you are not angry and when you are.
And by “manage anger”, I mean getting it under control and within a short time, minimizing the harm it causes to yourself and others.
When you are not angry
When you are not angry, this is the time that you can think clearly and rightly, so THINK. The first thing is to recognize that when you are angry, you hurt yourself and others, and that is a good thing. Anger is exhausting and hardly gainful. Admit that you actually desire to bring your anger problem under control.
Do you need any motivation to embrace the above thought pattern?
Think about what benefits you have derived from being angry in the past. Can you think of any? No, there is hardly any.
But the consequences of chronic anger or hot temper will not be difficult to recount or imagine. Here are some of consequences of raging anger:
- It harms your physical health: Constantly dwelling in high levels of anger stresses you and makes you prone to heart diseases, insomnia and high blood pressure.
- Chronic anger harms your mental health: It takes so much energy away from you, clouds your thinking, and makes it harder to concentrate in anything. This can increase your stress level and may even lead to depression.
- It harms your relationships with others: It makes it difficult for people to feel comfortable around you or to speak honestly. Anger can cause problems that leave lasting marks in the hearts of those you love.
Next, embrace the following facts about anger:
- It is unhealthy to ‘hold in’ or suppress your anger. It is equally unhealthy to vent anger; this only reinforces your anger problem.
- Anger and aggression or even intimidation doesn’t earn you respect and can’t help you get what you want. The truth is that people will be more willing to listen to you, and accommodate your needs if you communicate in a calm and respectful manner.
- Anger is something you can manage. You may not be able to control the situation you are in or how it makes you feel, but you can control how you respond, how you express your anger.
When you are done digesting these facts, ask yourself what the possible root cause of your excessive anger problem is. Understanding the underlying cause will help you to avoid or minimize your level of anger. If you can think of any, then you should begin from there to address the issue.
Regardless of what the cause of your anger is, when you find yourself angry, there is a simple way out. And it comes next.
When you are angry
Haven reasoned the consequences of anger and realized the fact that how you respond when you are angry is under your control, you have now made the decision to manage anger better.
So what is the simple way to get your hot temper under control?
The answer is really simple: STOP and THINK.
You see, chronic anger is an emotion, a very strong emotion. To strive, it has to kill reason, which is the part of you that makes you rational and truly responsible. When you act in hot temper, it is not longer your rational self that is acting but your emotional self.
When anger takes control, emotion takes charge until you reclaim your ability to reason objectively and clearly. The first step to this is to STOP focusing on the emotion. This is no doubt going to be the hardest part of your anger management practice. It may take time but is completely doable.
Take a momentary break from feeling, talking and certainly from acting. All of these, at that moment of anger, have been compromised.
The trick is to try to disengage yourself from your anger emotion, reclaim your thought and channel it to something else.
Doing this will not come easy, especially if you are in chronic anger and have not practiced the STOP and THINK method before. It helps to take a deep breath, hold it for some seconds and then release. Use that short span of time you secured from the exercise in disengaging yourself from the angry feeling and situation. You may have to do it a couple of times in quick succession to obtain result.
Another common approach that works for me is to give myself a mental task, something to engage the brain productively. I often resort to counting 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 in my head or reciting A, B, C, D. As elementary as these task may be, they have always proved helpful during my angry moment. They help shift your focus from feeling to reason.
By reasoning you engage yourself actively in productive thinking, and then decide a cause of action to take. If you have mastered anger management you could think about the current situation. Otherwise it is good to think about something else entirely, producing no reaction to the anger situation.
The general cause of action to take is to withdraw from the anger situation, both mentally and physically as may be necessary.
There are other conceivable methods that can help you practice the STOP and THINK approach to anger management. You can focus your attention on someone you love, or something you love doing. Think about an important task you are yet to complete. You can even think about the consequences of anger listed above. Also, you can simply ask yourself “what would I gain from being angry?” This works for me.
Try different methods to see what works best for you. The difficult part is actually practicing a chosen method. If anger overshadows your reasoning you may not even remember to implement any of the methods. That is why it is important that you bear in mind those things discussed for ‘when you are not angry’ above.
The good news is that once you begin practicing a method, it is easy to get use to it. And the result will amaze you.
I hope that you would find this practice helpful in managing your anger problem like I do.
Have a beautiful relationship!