You’re trying harder and harder. But at the right time, you lose control over your anger. And start acting harshly on others.
It’s bad. You already knew it; however, you feel helpless.
Is it your case?
I was there a few years back. And this bad temper took me towards a ridiculous situation. I lost my good impression. I lost friends. And the chain goes on.
But after getting affected mentally, physically, and spiritually, I realized “this is not the real me.” And I must manage this anger as soon as possible.
Then I applied a few techniques, and after regular practice, now I can manage my temper in any situation.
But to be honest! It’s not something that would happen suddenly, or if you are thinking of eliminating it from yourself, then also you will get disappointed.
Yet, consistent practice will help you to stay calm even if the whole world is going wrong around you.
So without further ado, let’s dive right in!
Effects of Anger that makes us feel apologize
Before you move directly onto the tips to control your Anger, first, let’s understand its consequences.
A few effects of Anger are something that you already know. Yes, you can guess them!
- Anger makes you feel anxious, depressed and tense
- It prevents our mind from thinking about what’s right and what’s wrong
- Anger affects your performance
- It breaks relationships because you can’t stop your mouth from speaking words that hurt
- Arguments, self-harm, assault, or abuse
And so on.
But do you know? Anger also has a positive impact on people’s life.
According to a study published on springer, Anger has positive effects on decision-making in a business context.
However, it’s tricky to deal with anger in the right place for the right reason.
So if you want to implement the anger management tips successfully, then you must understand the science behind an angry mind. And that takes us to the next point.
How does Anger Affect Your Thinking?
As stated by Dr. J. N. Fuller—a clinical psychologist, Anger affects our prefrontal cortex, which is responsible for judgment and decision-making, and we tend to make some impulsive decisions in this state.
“Higher-level orders of thinking, may not be, even though there might be the sharpness of mind at times it really is about survival. So the frontal lobe, which is involved in sort of executive functioning which means planning and judgment and things like that sometimes doesn’t make the best decision when we are angry,” he says.
To understand our brain and thinking process at the time of Anger, we need to go back to our ancestors living in forests.
As described in the expression of emotions in man and animals by Charles Darwin, at that time, our body was programmed to respond against severe stress conditions where fighting was also critical.
When there is danger, the amygdala, which looks like an almond, starts spreading signals and activates our neurotransmitter catecholamines.
Within a few seconds, our body’s Fight or flight signals begin to flood it with some kind of hormones such as adrenaline and nor-adrenaline. Several other neurotransmitters also start releasing.
Our body heats and heart rate increases, breathing becomes faster, and attention rises, and all other metabolic functions hinder.
In this situation, our mind prepares our body to fight against stress, and it’s all meant for survival.
But in our day-to-day life, what causes us to feel anger as we’re going to fight against a wild animal in the jungle?
Well, our physiological and psychological process works in the same way when we feel insecure, frightened, or hurt.
Whenever we get angry with someone’s action or reaction, we tend to react in a way that we need to protect ourselves from such a threat.
That causes us to take some action super quickly; that’s not enough to process in our prefrontal cortex. And as a result, we regret our actions after cooling down.
Does Anger cause harm to our body?
We feel guilty about our words as an anger response. This is because we can’t use our rational brain, i.e., the prefrontal cortex, and become out of control.
But does Anger damage our body in some way?
According to Harvard medical school, Anger may lead to severe chest pain, heart attack, stroke, or a critical heart rhythm.
Dr. Murray A. Mittleman—an associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, stated,
“Anger causes an outpouring of stress hormones like adrenaline, which makes your heart beat faster and your blood pressure rise. It also makes your blood more likely to clot, which is especially dangerous if your arteries are narrowed by cholesterol-laden plaque.”
Based on an article published in the national forum journal of counselling and addiction, Anger affects our brain and body in multiple ways.
As our brain starts releasing stress hormones adrenaline and nor-adrenaline, our blood pressure rapidly increases, and muscles become tighter and upright. Increased rate of breathing affects our circulatory system resulting in a stroke.
Besides internal effects, extreme arousal due to Anger causes us to abuse words and other offensive behavior.
Further, some anger management activities include hopelessness or anxiety, sleeping problems, thoughts of self-harm, and further crying.
However, there are some cool ways to control ourselves from the consequences of bad anger responses.
5 Ways to Control Your Mind From the Effects of Anger
As a study on anger management among medical students, about 62% of students suppress or let go of their Anger occasionally, while 20% do it all the time.
From this study, it is clear that Anger is a kind of emotion that we can control. It’s not happened to us; we are the cause and consequences of our bad temper.
Therefore, here I have a few tips that can save your life from the worst situations. Let’s move forward in detail.
- The Ultimate Step: Defuse Before Strike
As described by Dr. W. Doyle Gentry in the book “Anger management for dummies,” there are different levels of Anger.
If someone’s behaviour annoyed you, that means you are at the level between 1 to 3. If something makes you angry up to a 4 to 6 level, that means you’re mad. And when your irritation rises up to a level of 7, that means you are mildly angry. And above that causes you to reach your extremities, and that is severe rage.
Someone’s annoying behaviour or something that makes you patience-less might make you angry. And this is the stage when you can apply some tips to control your anger, it can defuse the rage before it strikes hard.
Many times, people tend to chew gum or count down up to 10 for dealing with anger. It’s helpful sometimes. But not always.
When these little tips don’t work, you can apply the following steps to relieve anger;
- Finding a quiet place
- level your Anger or irritation from 1 to 10
- Close your eyes
- imagine yourself in the same or different situation that causes you angry
- Find the alternative way rather than showing Anger
- think of a positive situation to defuse the bomb
- again measure your irritation level
- if you feel calm, then distract yourself with some slow music
- Open your eyes and continue the day
- How to Respond and not to React
Imagine. You are at the office, and you’re busy with workloads. At that moment your boss orders you to submit a weekly report. What would be your reaction? Do you feel irritated? Do you show Anger?
On the other hand, think of yourself in a quiet room at home. You are busy with writing an article. Your wife urges you to go out and buy some groceries. What would you do?
In the first scenario, you respond to your boss rather than reacting to it. However, in the second situation, you’d like to react harshly and shout loudly, “Leave me alone.”
Well, in both cases, you get distracted from the “flow” state and get annoyed. But you choose to be angry in the second case.
Why? Because you know shouting at your wife may not lead you to a dangerous situation. But if you’d react to your boss, he may take it seriously and kick you out of the company.
However, you can also apply some logic to the second situation and respond to your wife calmly. When we feel someone weaker than ourselves, we tend to hurt them by showing our Anger.
But we can control this type of anger response by counting down to 10 and then think of the possible outcome after your reaction.
- Develop Interpersonal Skills
Sometimes expressing anger mindlessly means you lack something. You may lack social and interpersonal skills that you don’t know how to deal with people correctly.
If most of the time you get angry due to some people, then developing or improving your social skills is the foremost way to control Anger. In this way, you can protect your career and relationships from destroying in the future.
Here is good news for you. You can make your interpersonal skills better every day. I have some tips on how to do this from the book “anger management for everyone” by Raymond Chip Tafrate and Howard Kassinove.
- Be aware of your body posture, gesture, eye contact, and overall body language.
- Be an active listener and show empathy.
- Approach others with enthusiasm and ask open questions (questions which have comprehensive answer rather than just yes/no)
- Express a positive attitude by complement and humor
- Keep yourself away from negative conversation such as unwanted advice, criticism, debate, etc.
Remember, all of these steps are skills you need to become a master, and therefore, it’s essential to learn and practice these skills regularly.
- Play an Optimist Game
Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement. Nothing can be done without hope and confidence.
~ Helen Keller
Playing an optimist’s game means imagining a situation in a different way. You can find a possible solution to a particular case.
Here I’d love to give an example from the book “The Cow in the Parking lot” by Leonard Scheff and Susan Edmiston.
“You are at the grand opening of a new shopping mall on the edge of town. You’ve been driving around looking for a parking space for ten minutes. At last, right in front of you, a car pulls out of a spot. You hit your turn signal and wait as the car backs out. Suddenly, from the other direction comes a Jeep that pulls into space. Not only that, but when you honk, the driver gets out, smirks, and gives you the finger. Are you angry?
Now change the scene ever so slightly. Instead of a brash Jeep driver, a cow walks into space from the other direction and settles down in the middle of it. When you honk, she looks up and moos but doesn’t budge. Are you angry?”
What have you learned?
Just seeing a situation from a different perspective can easily channel your angry mind. Similarly, you can practice some easy exercises every day to change your anger perspective and keep your temper from losing out.
Let’s practice these exercises together:
- Write about some cases where you feel extreme rage.
- Now imagine some alternative solution to that scenario and try to understand the difference.
- Practice it frequently if you want to become an optimist soon 😉
- Practice Mindfulness
According to a review on the effectiveness of mindfulness on managing Anger, aggression, and stress, it’s clear that mindful meditation helps you to control the anger and relax the mind.
Further, it builds self-awareness and activates the spiritual power for awakening consciousness.
But do you know, mindfulness and meditation are different skills?
Through mindfulness, you can become aware of your outer you, i.e., your regular work. And through meditation, you’ll become awake from inside.
Practicing mindfulness is not difficult to learn. However, it’s a bit daunting to practice every day. I usually practice it while eating, as our thinking pattern and food has a great connection. Here is my method:
- Prepare yourself for a particular work, for example, eating.
- Involve all of your senses. Visualize the colors in your food, smell it and start taking a small bite through your finger (not a spoon) and chew it in the way you are enjoying it.
- Keep it slow.
This helps me to be present at eating and to be aware that my stomach is full and I can stop overeating.
Mindfulness actually means living each and every moment consciously. But nowadays, our body and mind act differently while progressing on a work.
On the other hand, meditation has multiple benefits. You can practice simple breathing exercises and stay calm, relaxed, and aware of what’s happening within you.
Further, prayer, gratefulness, and forgiveness are also a part of meditation. And all of these are essential to keep yourself free from Anger or irritation or hatred, or even the mindset of taking revenge.
There is no right time to start anger management!
“Anger is an acid that can do more harm to the vessel in which it is stored than to anything on which it is poured.”
Anger is harmful if you make it happen frequently. It also can be useful if you’d learn how to express it at the right time and in front of the right person.
But excessive Anger can pass through the mud on your personality, and you can become a victim of negative emotions. Therefore, if you can feel the cons of your bad temper, then there’s no right time to fix it.
Apply these techniques and start anger management before it starts controlling your thoughts and emotions.
But if you already became the victim of your rage, that means it’s time to take counseling or therapy.
Remember, you’re not alone who experience severe episodes of Anger, but there are lots of people like you and me. We just need to continue learning and practising exercises on a regular basis.
- The Cow in the Parking lot by Leonard Scheff and Susan Edmiston
- Anger management for everyone by Raymond Chip Tafrate and Howard Kassinove
- Anger management for dummies by W. Doyle Gentry, PhD