Anger is a mobilizing force. It’s a wave of energy that comes over you. Just like any of the other emotions, it’s a signal that something is not right. However, when compared to the other emotions, anger can have the most damaging effects. It can make us say things or do things we later on come to regret.
That’s why one of the most important things when it comes to anger management is the ability to take a step back. To be able to catch yourself in the middle of lighting up like a firework and stop for a moment before exploding completely.
What is anger good for?
Anger is actually a very common emotion. You might feel it in situations when you feel you’ve been mistreated or when something is unfair. We also feel anger when we are frustrated because something is preventing us from reaching a desired goal.
Anger is the mobilizing force behind fighting injustice. However, if not controlled properly it can turn into a 'Hulk Smash' frenzy. The adrenaline that is released into our body when we begin to feel anger is also often accompanied with muscle tension, sweating, face turning pale or red and a dramatic increase in breathing rate. In this moment, our bodies are preparing for action. Preparing to fight.
But is whatever we are preparing to fight for justified? What makes us angry depends on our individual characteristics such as having low frustration tolerance or having unreasonable expectations. But at the same time, external factors can decrease our frustration tolerance making us more likely to Hulk around. By the way – to Hulk around means acting out on the feelings of anger. The external factors, that play a role in decreasing your frustration tolerance include stress, anxiety, physical or emotional pain, drugs, alcohol or several smaller irritations during the day – a.k.a. having a shitty day.
Are angry women different from angry men?
No matter whether the reason is external or internal, there is always something you can do. Anger can either be channeled into productive tasks or it can become a destructive force in your life. Interestingly enough, anger is one emotion that men consider acceptable to display. Since our society frowns upon boys or men crying, emotions like sadness or fear are likely to be expressed as anger. Several studies show that when men feel scared or depressed, they actually display anger.
And what does this anger do to your body? The average heartrate is about 80 beats per minute. When we are experiencing anger this can go up to 180 beats per minute. Our muscles become uptight and the body is preparing for action. This energy has to go somewhere!
Acting out because you’re feeling angry is definitely NOT the way to go. But neither is suppressing feelings of anger. The physical consequences of suppressed anger are heart attacks, strokes, metabolic, muscle and respiratory problems.
So how can we express our anger is a way that would be healthy for us physically, mentally and also safe for our environment?
Think of this tip like first aid for anger. Breathing. When you can feel yourself getting overwhelmed with this energizing emotion, take three deep breaths.
2. Leave the trigger situation
Secondly, consider leaving the trigger situation and change your environment. If you just had a nasty fight at home with your sibling, consider going into another room or outside of the building. Physically separate yourself from whatever is triggering your feelings of anger.
3. Express yourself appropriately
And last and most important part of managing anger in a healthy way is expressing yourself. You know what happens to a champagne bottle when someone shakes it? Pressure builds up until it explodes. Once again, this energy has to go somewhere. Sports is a great way of releasing the energy in a way that will actually be beneficial for you in the long-term. Writing and painting are also perfect tension releasers.
4. Write an angry letter
And here’s another trick for anger management! Someone did something mean to you and you feel angry about it? Write them an angry letter. Feel free to swear, use capital letters and a billion exclamation points. Then when you are done writing tear up the letter and throw it away. I promise you, you will feel a lot more relaxed.
A very important message related to emotional intelligence in general, we need to take responsibility for our emotions. And the actions which come from our emotions. Just because someone’s actions made you to feel angry, doesn’t mean this person needs to be the witness or even worse the victim of your emotions. Expressing emotions, especially anger, is necessary but it’s even more necessary to do it appropriately.
Sometimes I come across articles, especially about education, that make my blood boil. I think it’s unbelievably stupid that we’re teaching children things they will forget in a couple of years. They study for the sake of studying. That’s why we have so many young people today unprepared for the real world. Unable to present themselves at job interviews, unable to manage their finances or unable to manage their emotions. I could go on here for a while. Now I know that when I feel angry after reading an article like this, I can turn my emotion of anger into something good. I write. I use my energy to write about what we can do to make things better. To turn around the status quo. In that moment, anger replaces my double shot espresso and I use it in creating something good.
5. Laughter is also an anger management tool
Another great way of releasing the tension from your body after you get angry is laughter. Joy is the antidote to anger and sadness and using laughter can help in regulating the tense situation, that made you angry in the first place.
Challenge for this week? Choose one of the anger managing techniques that you like the most and try it out the next time you’re feeling angry. You can even make a note of it in your journal or a reminder somewhere you’ll see it. The aim is to keep yourself on an emotionally intelligent track!
Follow this link to check out the "Emotional Intelligence For Millennials" online course.
Bea is a writer, speaker, YouTuber and believer in the power emotional intelligence. With a background in psychology and business, Bea seeks to bring insights about psychology and emotional intelligence to the millennial generation in an entertaining way.