Anger Management: Focusing Your Anger On A Positive Outcome
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What Is Anger?
Anger is an emotion that we all experience many times throughout our lives, usually when some kind of threat is perceived. For this reason anger can either work for you or against you depending on how you handle it. In fact, sometimes anger can provide the motivation and drive you need to achieve something.
On the other hand, if not channeled properly anger can lead you into a downwards spiral of stress, depression and ultimately bad health. Built-up anger, once unleashed, can potentially be detrimental to both your personal and professional life.
Anger is an overwhelming emotional response to a perceived threat which helps us act instinctively and quickly in situations where there is just not enough time to reasonably analyze the situation but if channeled correctly anger can actually help us achieve certain goals, solve problems and eliminate perceived threats.
Anger is subjective, whatever makes you feel angry could only be slightly irritating to someone else and others might not be bothered by it at all. This can sometimes lead to you not being able to understand why your anger at something might not be appreciated by other people.
The concept of anger management is to learn how to stay calm, or to calm down, and reduce the feeling of anger before it reaches a potentially destructive level. Rather than focusing on the things that actually cause the anger, anger management is more about focusing on your actual response and not those external factors.
Dealing With Anger (Anger Management)
The following comes from Professor Redford B. Williams' 12 Steps To Calm Down:
Step 1 is to keep a written log in order to document what actually triggers your anger so that you can identify the causes and frequency of your anger and then develop a coping strategy.
Step 2 is to accept and admit that you have an anger problem which is holding you back. If you don't acknowledge that you have a problem with anger then you won't be able to do anything about it.
Step 3 is to use a support network. Let your closest and most trusted family and friends know that you are trying to make changes, they may prove to be a source of inspiration and may help prevent you from slipping back into your old ways.
Step 4 is to, whenever you feel angry, interrupt the anger cycle using anger management techniques:
- Stop what you are doing.
- Take a few deep breaths, in inhale through the nose and exhale through the mouth.
- Remind yourself that you can deal with the situation reasonably.
- Respond to negative thoughts with positive suggestions.
Step 5 is to use empathy. If it happens to be another person who has caused your anger, use what is referred to in NLP as meta-positioning, to look at the situation from their point of view.
Step 6 is to laugh. It's no secret that laughter is the best medicine. Try not to take everything so seriously, try to laugh at yourself and think about how others would see you if they saw your expressions of anger.
Step 7 is to relax. When anger builds up it causes us to feel tense and wound-up and sometimes even causes physical pain. In addition, it's easier to get annoyed by little trivial things when you're already angry. By realizing there is not point in getting so uptight about such trivial things your episodes of anger will be less frequent.
Step 8 is to build trust. When angry we are naturally defensive and can be extremely critical of other people. By building trust in people we are less likely to get angry with them should something go wrong, rather than implying that they were responsible.
Step 9 is to listen. Incorrectly perceiving what is being said, or implied, during a conversation is often the cause of mistrust is certain situations. The more literally you listen to what a person has to say the less likely you are to respond with anger.
Step 10 is to be assertive. Assertiveness is not being aggressive in any way but letting other people know with confidence that you truly value and stand by your beliefs, expectations, boundaries, etc. The more assertive you are, without being aggressive, the more respect you will receive from others and they are much less likely to invoke an angry response in you.
Step 11 is to live each day as if it is your last. Although this 'saying' has become overly cliched, the ultimate point is that life is short so it's better to live your life positively, rather than negatively. By spending most of your time feeling angry you will be wasting precious time missing out on the positive things in life.
Step 12 is to forgive. At times this may seem like a difficult one but the only way to get past your anger to learn how to forgive the people who have angered you. This may take some time and if your levels of anger are extremely high you may need to seek professional help in order to proceed with this step.
Even if you are not experiencing any anger issues at the moment it is always good to keep this information in mind. If not handled properly, anger can jeopordize your relationships, your career and your health.