I am qualified to write on this topic as I was the epitome of anger and paid the price than anyone else! Why I chose this topic part of this “Kindle Life” series is, Anger is a disease as common as cold and has several implication in our life both in personal as well as professional. No one can say they don’t know what anger is, because it is one of those evils that the mankind is trying to grapple with for ages.
Definition of Anger
Before analysing the means of anger management, let us understand what we mean by anger. The Oxford dictionary meaning of anger is “Strong feeling of displeasure”. The other connotations of anger are annoyance, irritation, fury, rage, antagonism, resentment etc. In essence anger is one of those negative emotions of human beings which have far reaching consequences than any other.
The Anatomy of Anger
It is often said “If you wish to manage something, you need to understand it”. This may be the reason the first lesson in Medicine is to understand human anatomy. Hence the anatomy of anger is necessary when I am going to discuss the tips for anger management.
There are minimum 3 elements required for anger to manifest; the object (that stimulates anger), the subject (who manifest anger) and the third the manifestation of anger ie the manner in which the anger manifest – may be a frowning, yelling, hurting etc.
I have good news from Psychology that all human beings get angry! Don’t you feel little better now? There are two kinds of anger – imposed and exposed. Exposed anger is when we let off our steam upon the object of anger and imposed anger is suppression of anger within ourselves. This gives us good news that those who are called “Cool headed” are those who are dormant volcanoes. These people do more harm to themselves than those expose anger. Hence, anger management is not only important for those who are “short fuses” but also those “Cool headed” (those who suppresses anger and get into more problems later)
There is famous adage in Tamil “Where there is anger there you find character”. Is it an empty justification for people who display exposed anger? I don’t think so. When a person expresses his discontent he clears his mind then and there. But the person who harbours his discontent without expressing is waiting to settle his score through some other way or may be harming himself by suppressed anger.
I am not advocating for exposed anger which is anyway harmful.
Why Anger Management?
For some unknown reasons all living beings like love & warmth and resent rage form other beings. Some of these in nature can never be questioned as “Why” as they are called Law of nature like gravity – you cannot ask the question, why gravity pulls masses together and not pushes; why water flows from high level to low level and not vice versa? The Law is that which cannot be questioned as “why?” That is the way they are for some unknown reasons! When we are kind with someone they feel closer to us and they hate when we yell at them. Hence, anger creates enemies in our life who will be waiting to hit us back. This is a good enough reason to consider anger management. More than anything else anger is in the top of the list in mastering “Emotional Intelligence”. When we are free of anger it improves our personality and image.
Genesis of Anger:
In my family of eleven I was branded as “short fuse” and everyone was keeping a distance because they did not know when this volcano will erupt! There is hardly anyone I spared in my life who has not come across my rage and my wife Meera was the closest to the crater and negotiated the maximum lava flow! There is no need for any big reason for me to get triggered, as my default mode is anger. I was tolerated during my professional career as I was a star performer and my seniors were kind enough to put up with my idiosyncrasy.
At some point in time, I introspected the origin of my temperament and found few genesis of this hysterical state. One of those is role modelling my dad who was a tyrant during his time and the other is a perennial sense of incompleteness arising out of childhood disappointments. You may ask how about the other off springs of my dad. Ironically it does not happen that all children role model their parents and I inherited my dad’s legacy.
Knowing this genesis of my Arjuna state of consciousness helped me to work on my anger management techniques. I recommend those who wish to mend their anger department to figure out the genesis of their state which helps to weed out the root causes.
Anger Control Vs Anger Management?
I happened to see the movie “Anger Management” recently which gave me deeper insight into this topic than before. First of all why it’s “Anger Management” than “Anger Control” as we have been taught by our elders? We have been advised to count 10 when we are angry and count hundred if we are very angry! In my opinion, anger control is “suppression” and anger management is “eliminating root causes of anger”.
How do we manage anger?
The following tips will empower you to manage anger and help you to master the art of “Anger Management” which enhances your emotional quotient:
Whenever you come across an incident which triggers your anger, try and create awareness that you are unhappy about when someone pressed your “Anger button”. Before bursting into action try expressing your feelings in an assertive manner. The effect of assertive expression produces better response than uncontrolled anger. The following anecdote shall clarify:
“Recently I was travelling in a Norwegian cruise lines in Hawaii island along with my son’s family for a vacation. While we were in the restaurant, one of the waitresses showed a rude behaviour which made all of us angry. After eating the food with lots of resentment, I saw my son declaring that he is going to express his resentment to the restaurant captain. I liked his assertive expression without any sign of anger and it made a deep impact on the captain. In the evening when we returned to my son’s cabin, we found an apology letter along with a bottle of chilled wine and fruit bowl. On the other hand if we would have yelled at the waitress or the captain it would not have produced any effect. It was a happy ending and restoration of our good will to the Norwegian Cruise Lines.
I suggest you to try this assertive expression method whenever you are unhappy about any incidence of other human beings.
Reprimand the action & not the person
Often whenever a person does something which we don’t like, we yell at that person passing judgement. It is important to isolate the person and the act. Assertively expressing the views on the act without passing judgement will make that person to realize and improve their behaviour next time. On the other hand invalidating them will create an enemy which is not worth it.
It is perfectly Ok to get angry with:
Anger is nature’s safety valve for releasing excessive pressure and not to feel bad about it. It is a fact that all incidents and behaviour of other human beings are bound to differ from your way of thinking and doing. If you don’t agree that it is perfectly normal you will have umpteen reasons to get angry. After all we need to admit that it is not our way is always right.
Anger destroys your Image:
As smile decorates your face anger destroys your image. It is important to recognize that people want to be around someone who provides solace to them. Animals want to rest under the trees as it gives them shade to escape from the hot sun. Similarly, we wish to be in the company of the person who provides warmth and love. It is important to deeply programme our sub-conscious mind that it is not a good idea to express an un-controlled anger. Data reveals that no one with uncontrolled anger risen to the pinnacle of the corporate ladder.
Practice makes you perfect:
Watch out for a trigger that makes you angry. You don’t get angry with your pet as much as with your loved ones! Have you ever analysed the reason for this? The real reason is, you have accepted the pet as they are and don’t have any expectations from them except love. When you have unconditionally accepted someone it becomes fun watching them doing what you don’t like as an example, the mother watching the toddler doing many mischiefs. Finally anger management is the re-education of mind and practice like you develop your biceps in the gym.