Controlling anger is sometimes challenging... especially when things don't go the way we think they should.
We may feel that our resentments really are justified. We may think the world really should be different. Life does not always meet our standards of fair.
Controlling anger is challenging because the energy of anger can feel so explosive, stressful and unmanageable.
If the anger is not dealt with skillfully there are often negative or destructive consequences.
Venting anger may give some temporary relief but it usually does not solve the problem. When we vent anger we usually express it to someone else.
This method of controlling anger in a relationship may have a negative impact on others who are listening. Our friends, family and coworkers may respond by getting angry or by distancing themselves from us.
In addition, when we are venting anger we often rehearse, magnify and justify the emotion without really resolving it constructively.
Sometimes anger is repressed. Many of us have learned to repress anger in childhood. Our parents and teachers taught us that anger was not an acceptable emotion.
In this case the repressed anger continues to bottle up inside of us. It does not get expressed or resolved. It becomes part of our “emotional baggage” that we drag through life. And it drags us down.
Repressed anger may not directly affect our behavior, but it can seriously impact our own health and happiness. In the long run, repressing anger is not really a wise way of controlling anger.
A wiser healthier solution is …
We can learn to channel the energy of anger into constructive positive actions which will enhance the lives and well-being of ourselves and others. This is the upside of anger.
The upside of anger does exist. Anger is very energizing.
In contrast to negative emotions like shame, which isolate us
and makes us want to hide, or apathy and hopelessness which immobilize us in un-caring behavior or despair,
anger can get us into motion.
Simple examples of constructive uses of anger include:
The good news is that we do not need to be passive. When we "forgive" a situation which seems unfair to us, it does not mean we must agree with it -- or ignore it. We can choose to let go of the condemnation and use the energy to take constructive action.
Mahatma Gandhi, in his writings spoke of transforming the energy of anger into nonviolent actions which brought about constructive social change.
On a much smaller scale, my husband once successfully organized our neighbors to purchase a privately owned washer dryer when he felt that the commercial laundry facilities we had all been using were unreasonably expensive.
When I have bottled up energy of anger or frustration I find it very helpful to go for a long brisk walk in nature. If that is not possible I may use the energy to tackle a big project I have been avoiding, like cleaning out the garage.
Controlling anger and learning to manage it gives wonderful stress relief.
When we successfully dissipate the anger, or transform it into positive action we have the potential to
Learn positive ways of controlling anger before it controls you.
The rewards are huge.
How to Deal with Anger Skillfully - More Tips and Tools
Controlling anger is possible. Explore these additional tips, tools and resources. They can really help. The challenge with anger is to accept it as a natural human emotion and then learn how to work with the energy in a way which is not harmful to us or others.
Free Anger Management Worksheets - Letting Go of Anger
These anger management worksheets are designed to help you become ready to let go of anger and allow the freedom of forgiveness to enter your life.
Reducing the overall level of stress and pressure in our lives also helps make us less prone to anger.
For additional ways to reduce the stress, visit Gentle Stress Relief home page.