Friday, September 23, 2011

Anger - Control It Before It Control You

We have all felt anger, and know what it is about. Anger is normal, and is often a healthy human emotion. But it becomes a problem when it gets out of control and becomes destructive. This often leads to issues at work, problems in our personal relationships, and in the overall quality of our life. It is this consequence that makes us feel that we are the mercy of this unpredictable and uncontrollable emotion.

So what actually is Anger, and how do we respond to Anger?
Anger can be triggered by both external and internal occurrence. You could be angry at a person (supervisor) or a situation (traffic jam or cancelled flight). It could also be that you are worried about your personal issues. Past memories of unhappy happenings also lead to angry feeling.

The intuitive way to express anger is to react aggressively. Anger is a natural reaction to threat; it creates intense emotions and behaviours, which allow us to defend ourselves when we are attacked. As such, a balanced amount of anger is necessary for our survival.

However we cannot take physical actions on every person or object that irritates us. Laws, values and society norms place limits on how far we can express our anger.

People often use a mixture of conscious and unconscious actions to deal with their angry feelings. The three common approaches are expressing, suppressing, and calming.

The healthiest way to express anger is to express these feelings in an assertive (non destructive) manner. To be assertive, you have to learn how to express clearly what your needs are, and how they can be met, and without hurting others. Being assertive doesn't mean being aggressive. On the contrary it means being respectful of others and most importantly yourself.

Anger can also be suppressed, and then transformed. This usually comes in the form of first controlling your anger, avoiding any thought about it and redirecting such ill feelings towards something positive. The goal is to inhibit your anger and change it into a more positive behaviour. The risk with suppression is that it doesn't enable outward expression, by turning your anger inwards onto yourself. Such manifestation may lead to stress, resulting in medical related effects like depression and high blood pressure.

Unexpressed anger can produce other problems. This could lead to illogical and misleading expressions of anger (getting back at people, without telling them why, rather than dealing with them directly) or a behaviour that appears distrustful or pessimistic. People who are criticizing everything, constantly putting down others, and making skeptical remarks, have not learned to positively express their anger. Normally, they are also not likely to have many successful relationships.

Finally, you can calm down internally. This means not only controlling your internal reactions, but also your outward responses. This involves activities which lower your heart rate, calming yourself down and let the feelings subside.

Unfortunately, when none of these methods work, that's when somebody or something is going to get hurt.
Tan Danny is an expert in Self-Help. To get more FREE tips and advice on Self-Help Click here to subscribe to my free newsletter (worth US$97) Or visit my website @
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