Anger is often blamed for all the wrong doing in this world. However, anger is not the problem but how we use it. Yelling and screaming at people because you have made bad choices causing a chain of events leading to a really freaking bad day is not helpful. Lashing out or hitting someone that has irritated you is also not helpful.
No one loves drama, well, I guess maybe some people do, but generally speaking people like a quiet life filled with harmony. Many people think that the opposite of harmony is anger but that isn’t true. Anger can disrupt harmony but it can also be the step toward harmony that you were missing.
When the world becomes skewed and is malfunctioning, it is alright to be angry. Anger will motivate change if it is directed in a positive way. This is generally refereed to as righteous anger or a reaction against a mistreatment or injustice. However, you can’t just go around shooting people that you think are part of the problem. Righteous anger must be turned into a positive force that will HELP people. For example, you see someone beating their child in a drunken rage. You can use your anger to help that child find safety, but you CANNOT go around taking the law into your own hands.
Also there is nothing wrong with being angry about something bad that has happened to you. Someone raped you- damn right you should be angry! Someone broke into your home- you can be furious! These are violations!
This kind of anger is dangerous. It will not only make you feel out of control, but also victimized and terrified even if you don’t realize it. You’ve lost the keys to the safe bubble you lived in and you can’t get back in. You feel betrayed by everything and everyone. Those that promised to protect you didn’t and you start losing faith in the people and the society around you. It eats away at your soul because often you have nothing to fight against just a vague feeling of injustice and betrayal. Constant anger stews in the background coloring everything that you do and every decision you make. Suddenly you are plagued by despair and anxiety that every decision you make will lead to a similar incident or situation. You don’t need to be ashamed of this anger or try to hide it, but you do need to address it and manage it.
Often the suggested ways of dealing with anger are very effective.
- Taking a breather.
Stop and realize that you are getting angry and why. Then remove yourself from the situation or conversation. Take deep breaths and remind yourself that it isn’t as bad as you think it is. Learn to recognize when you are overreacting or when you are getting frightened or overwhelmed.
2. Keep track of anger triggers
Watch for patterns in your anger. See if the same things are occurring when you are angry. Be aware of your bodies reaction to anger: breathing, tension, headaches, heart rate, etc. Try to regulate these patterns.
3. Ask for help.
There are lots of counselors, help lines and doctors that can help you learn to manage anger in a positive way. Make an appointment and get a plan in place.
For those of us that are under stress and are constantly being bombarded by things that make us feel out of control, here are some other ideas.
- Ride the anger.
I know this sounds bad but there is a thing called Primal Therapy created by Dr. Arthur Janov. It involves feeling the emotions instead of repressing it. I’ve never been involved in formal Primal Therapy but in my own experience, I have learned that trying to control anger only works so long and then it explodes in very negative ways. So I’ve learned that sometimes just letting it out shortens the duration.
For example, let’s say my kids are pushing my buttons. Arguing, whining, not listening, acting out trying to get their own way and it builds and builds day after day until eventually I can’t control my anger any more and I want to commit violence. I don’t, of course, but I can go somewhere away from them and let it all out. Go out into the garage and scream my head off. No words or specific complaints just pure emotional screaming. It sounds horrific, but it has a cleansing effect. Suddenly I’m not so angry and I can deal with their antics again without feeling dangerous.
2. Physical exercise.
This one is wonderful for getting anger out as well as keeping fit. Two birds one stone. Let’s take the same example above: buttons have been pushed so much they are broken. Getting the anger out by physical movement also cleansed. It gives all that energy that anger creates somewhere to go. I use push-ups or jumping jacks. There is a lot of movement and no danger to others. My family also bought me a large punching bag that hangs in the basement. Believe me, once I’ve hit the anger wall, going downstairs and punching the bag until my knuckles hurt is very therapeutic.
3. Hard labor.
I don’t mean chain gang type hard labor but I do mean physical labor. It works like the example above but it is much more productive. When my brother and I were kids, we fought as all siblings do. Drove my mom nuts. When she finally reached her limit she would send us out to do something. We lived on a farm and there was always something to do. Cleaning the barns, stacking hay, and my mom’s favorite task for us, chopping wood. Lots of physical effort to work off our anger and we still accomplished something in the meantime. Although later my mom did say that she wondered at the wisdom of her choice in sending two teenagers that were already fighting out with axes to chop wood together. She always said it was a wonder we didn’t kill each other.
The point of all this, yes, anger can be bad but it can also be a good thing. Examine your anger and treat it accordingly. Do any of you have other things that work when you are angry?