By Bryan Golden
The “benefits” of anger are many. Stress, anxiety, diminished judgment, reduced productivity, poor digestion, sleeplessness, elevated blood pressure, negative impact on relationships, unhappiness, and attraction of negative situations can all be yours just by being angry.
Anger repels people, destroys relationships, creates problems, intensifies problems, causes regret, burns bridges, and dissolves solutions.
Anger doesn’t have to manifest itself via your behavior to be destructive. Anger that is internalized can be just as damaging. A fundamental misconception is that people, events or circumstances make you angry.
Anger is a chosen reaction to your environment. As you allow anger to become a conditioned response, a downward spiral develops. Habitual anger feeds itself and increases in intensity over smaller and smaller matters. Without vigilance, resistance to anger diminishes and it becomes automatic behavior when faced with adversity.
Anger does not serve you. Regardless of your reasons for being angry, anger never resolves problems; it makes them worse. You can learn to manage and eliminate anger. To do so requires a recognition, understanding and acceptance of several things.
First, you and you alone are responsible for your emotions and behavior. No one has the power to make you angry. You create your own anger. Second, you must identify what arouses anger within you.
Some common causes of anger are: injustice, hurt, frustration, annoyances, being treated unfairly, being taken advantage of, a threat of loss, experiencing a loss, plans don’t materialize as expected, regret over the past, people don’t behave as expected or a situation that is out of your control.
Do you engage in behavior that evokes anger in others? You can become angry in response to someone else’s anger and someone else may become angry in response to your anger. Anger is a vicious cycle that will rapidly escalate unless diffused by one or both parties involved.
There is no way to eliminate those things that make you angry. But you can manage your reaction so that anger doesn’t take hold. Through a thorough understanding of what makes you angry, you can preplan alternative strategies for responding.
If you feel angry, don’t make any decisions or take any action until you allow the anger to subside. If you act while angry, there is a high probability that you will say or do something that you will regret.
As soon as you find yourself starting to become angry, identify the specific circumstances you are reacting to. Without understanding the cause, you can not diffuse the anger and it will most likely get worse out of frustration.
Once you have identified the source of your anger, determine if there is any action you can take which can rectify the situation to the benefit of all. Revenge, punishment, mistreatment of others or self-pity does not qualify. The past can’t be changed and must be accepted. The only decision you have to make is what to do now to move forward.
Anger, once it takes hold, needs a certain amount of time to subside. As you practice anger management techniques, the amount of time needed will decrease substantially. The ideal is to condition yourself to eliminate the anger stage completely.
Anger can be managed, controlled and eliminated. Anger is a habit that develops over time. Changing any habit takes desire and effort. The more determined you are to change, the more rapid will be the results.
Living without anger will make you happier, healthier, and more pleasant to be around.
Bryan is the author of “Dare to Live Without Limits.”