Achieving a healthy and well-balanced mindset is essential to a leading a fulfilling and rewarding life. But, much too often, anger gets the best of us and forces us to make hasty decisions that would, at any other time, seem absolutely outrageous.
Reacting angrily to an exasperating situation or set of circumstances is expected. However, if our anger takes deep enough root in us, all it takes is a tiny push to make us cross lines we would never even consider at any other time. A paper jam in the printer, your significant other’s wandering eye, or a neighbors child practicing their basketball drill in the evening can all be ridiculous catalysts to an unnecessarily angry outburst.
But, anger ultimately cuts both ways. As we do harm to other, and we harm ourselves. As Mitch Albom says in “The Five People You Meet in Heaven, “Holding anger is a poison…It eats you from inside…We think that by hating someone we hurt them…But hatred is a curved blade…and the harm we do to others…we also do to ourselves.”
The good news is that we can quell our anger! We can learn to use alternative measures to relieve the mounting stress. We can strengthen our most cherished relationships. And, we can learn how to free ourselves from the all-consuming anger that affects the decisions we make every day, all day long.
Strategies will help you manage your anger:
1. Remove yourself from the situation.
- If you find yourself in a situation where you can begin to feel your blood boil, excuse yourself from the room.
- Grab a bottle of cold water, splash some on your face, get some fresh air, or even call a friend to vent your frustration.
- Allowing yourself just a few minutes to strategize an amicable approach to the challenge will enable you to strive for diplomacy.
2. Look at the other person’s perspective.
- Arguments can quickly get out of hand.
- Before you blurt out a vindictive phrase, think about the other person’s feelings.
- Often, even seemingly insignificant phrases, such as, “You are such a pinhead,” or “You never support any of my ideas,” can pack a bigger punch than you want.
- Look for a solution, not an ongoing debate.
- Ask the other person why they think something should be done differently.
- Ask for insight into why they think the idea will not work.
3. Look to the outcome.
- What is your goal?
- Telling your boss that they have poor leadership skills may lead to being terminated. At the very least, it will undermine future dealings.
- Biting our tongues can sometime be quite a challenge, but the security of a weekly paycheck is well worth the effort. At least until you figure things out with a clearer mind.
- If your boss is placing unnecessary pressure on you, respectfully ask for more control over your responsibilities by asserting the reasons you are a trustworthy employee.
4. Get help.
- If you are having a meltdown about a printer malfunction or not being able to unfreeze your computer, simply call IT and ask for help.
- Most people like to feel needed and asking for their expertise in a certain area will not only boost their confidence, but will also give you a simple solution to your challenge.
- Use the opportunity to learn.
- Examine their approach to the issue and remember the steps so you can remedy the situation in the future.
5. Clarify your position.
- Take some time to compose yourself and think about what truly set off the flame.
- Sometimes, our anger is a defensive mechanism to prevent the world from knowing that our feelings have been hurt.
- Remember, it is perfectly fine to be vulnerable.
- If we feel that we have been disrespected or hurt, we deserve to have the issue addressed.
6. Always take the higher road.
- Getting even is a sign of immaturity.
- If someone has intentionally wronged you, they likely did so in order to squeeze a frantic reaction out of you.
- Show them that you are made of tougher stuff. Be the reasonable party in the situation by remaining calm, cool, and collected.
Ultimately, ensuring that our reactions are based on reason, rather than rage, is the most effective method of coping with our anger. Emotionally detaching ourselves from the situation at hand allows us to clear the smokescreen of personal resentment and focus on creating an amicable, and mutually beneficial outcome.
Do not let anger control you. You are in charge of your emotions.