Emotions come in varying ranges. They also manifest themselves in different ways. But we need to realize that we should not gaslight our own emotions or emotional responses. They usually result from an action, or how we perceive that action. Very few people experience emotions without a reason or perceived reason behind it. Watching Old Yeller on Charter Spectrum cable could move you to tears. Or, conversely, watching a light-hearted sitcom like The Office could put you in a more cheerful frame of mind.
Anger is a negative emotion, to be sure. It is not a desirable frame of mind in almost any case. But that makes it no less valid. You are allowed to feel the full range of emotions, not just the ones that are acceptable in public or social settings. However, you need to learn to separate your response from the emotion. In other words, instead of trying to suppress anger completely, you should learn ways to manage it better. To find out more about anger and how to manage it, keep reading this blog. You may learn something useful.
Table of Contents
- Understanding Why We Feel Angry
- Why It Is Important to Separate Reactions from Emotions
- Ways to Manage Your Anger
- Assessing the Source and the Target of Your Anger
- Auditing Yourself for the Outcomes of Angry Responses
- Learning Mindfulness Techniques to Manage Reactions
- Picking Up Contact Sports or Physical Exercise
- Seeking Help from Professional Behavior Therapists
Understanding Why We Feel Angry
Most people feel anger is an unnatural or irrational feeling. The first thing to do is to let go of this unfortunate perception. Anger is no less natural to human beings than being herbivorous is to a cow. It is how we evolved over the millennia since the earliest humans. If it was unnatural for us to feel angry, our brains would not be wired to accommodate the emotion or its response. Anger may have been a powerful survival mechanism for our early ancestors. Picture a brutal and unforgiving landscape. Early humans faced potentially lethal dangers from all sides. From dangerous animals to hunting, to even other humans, you can see why the mortality rate would be so slow.
Anger may have played a huge part in helping many of our ancestors survive. When faced with a flight-or-fight situation, anger can play a big part in temporarily overcoming a freeze or one’s natural reservations. Therefore, modern-day humans may owe a lot to the emotion in helping our ancestors survive long enough to have offspring. Anger today is what people refer to as an “evolutionary response”. It is still natural and comes from similar reasons. However, the problem is, the landscape has changed. And that is why the way you manage your anger needs to change too.
Why It Is Important to Separate Reactions from Emotions
As we mentioned earlier, denying the validity of your emotions is never healthy. It is a way to gaslight yourself and is almost always a result of internalized issues. Any emotion, even if it is anger, deserves validation from you. But that does not mean you can act out on them in any manner you please. If anything, your response should be appropriate to the situation that confronts you.
You could feel angry at your supervisor for not recognizing your hard work. But throwing a chair through a window will only exacerbate the situation. At the very least, you will only feel like you embarrassed yourself with an outburst. Instead, a measured response could convey both your concerns and your displeasure in a palatable way. This has a far higher chance of creating a positive outcome than a disproportionate reaction.
Ways to Manage Your Anger
Managing anger is a very important skill that can see you through many difficult situations. But like any skill, mastering it could take time. While every person is wired differently, some techniques seem to work for a broad range of anger management issues. If you feel your anger has reached a point where it impacts your professional or personal relationships, don’t worry. There can be several ways to manage it, including:
Assessing the Source and the Target of Your Anger
When getting angry, give yourself a minute to conduct an internal dialogue with yourself. Specifically, ask yourself what the source of your anger is at that moment. Is it because you were stuck in a traffic jam on your way to work? Is it because you’re going through a tough breakup? Or does it stem from childhood trauma or a difficult early upbringing?
Once you have a general idea about the source of your anger, give some time to examine the target of your anger at the moment. Is it your intern’s fault that any of this is happening to you? Is it fair to yell at the mailroom workers if you were already having a bad day when you got in? As they say colloquially, don’t bleed over people who didn’t cut you. In other words, check if the target and source of your anger are the same.
Auditing Yourself for the Outcomes of Angry Responses
Even if you are justifiably angry at someone, the way you respond can have varying results. An angry or potentially abusive outburst will almost certainly have a damaging impact. You may end up losing credibility simply because you visibly behave irrationally. Look for instances in the past where this may have happened.
Learning Mindfulness Techniques to Manage Reactions
Mindfulness exercises can take many forms. But they all help many people preempt a growing outburst of strong response. When you feel the anger set in, a few seconds of mindfulness exercises can help you course correct. You should be able to find more productive ways to channel your response through.
Picking Up Contact Sports or Physical Exercise
Exercise in general is a great way to reduce stress and feelings of anger. Contact sports can often serve as a healthy venting medium as well. As long as you remain within the rules of a sport like American football or rugby, you may find you can channel your anger into something more fulfilling. You could also look into learning martial arts. While this could be a bad idea if you have a history of physical altercations, it could also teach you valuable ways to express anger in controlled ways.
Seeking Help from Professional Behavior Therapists
Finally, being proactive about bettering yourself is always commendable. But the mind is a many-layered and complex thing. As such, self-help can only take most people so far. A professional behavior therapist or mental health expert may be able to offer you help that you can’t offer yourself. Don’t hesitate to ask for it if