Happy people don’t dwell on anger, and that’s the main issue when it comes to strategies for controlling anger. But some people are born with a tendency to be angry, other people develop a persistent anger. Anger, and dwelling on it, seems so normal justified in specific situations to such people.
It’s a mystery to many of us that some people never let themselves behave angrily even if they feel furious. What’s their secret to acting as if they’re calm when they’re not? And more importantly, why don’t some people feel anger when most of us would? We’ll return to that topic in a bit. First, let’s look at the anger management issue.
How to Control Anger
Knowing that the expression of anger increasing your bargaining power with the people you intimidate is one thing. Considering the fact that anger alienates friends and acquaintances who might then lie to escape your wrath, or desert you, is the opposite side of the situation. If anger management thus becomes your chosen goal, there are plenty of ways to learn what to do. Books, magazine articles and morning news shows tend to feature Controlling Anger — Before It Controls You updates. Some of the how to control anger program creators boast about the numbers of ways to do so
There are even an endless number of anger-ending lessons for dummies. What all the various techniques come down to, no matter how many there are, is…
- the choice not to be angry,
- to know why you feel angry,
- to meditate about calming thoughts and scenarios,
- to gain and to increase emotional intelligence,
- to be realistic about expectations,
- to be assertive not aggressive,
- to breathe,
- to empathize,
- to pray,
- to count to 10 or 100,
- to let go,
- to be self-aware,
- praise yourself for suppressing the desire to act on your anger.
If you want a familiar, comforting feeling to go with your anger management efforts, see WebMD’s Anger Management Techniques and Tips – WebMD.
How to Deal with Anger Step-by-Step
Project Time: As long as necessary but sometimes faster than you’d expect
None of the resources above made references to the sense of perspective that happier people seem to possess and that angry people don’t. You can mimic the happy people, and gain insight into the divide as you progress.
Step One: See bigger pictures beyond the smallish problems before you.
Confident that the complications are not forever, calm people don’t make doom and gloom assumptions. They look at the possibilities for better outcomes, and then pursue the ones which appeal to them for some positive, logical, sometimes inexplicable reasons.
Step Two: Focus on facts, not on limiting beliefs or complaints. You’ll calm down as you break complicated issues into manageable parts, instead of feeling overwhelmed by the enormity of the problem to be solved.
Read this educational piece about what a money manager thinks of his supply of negative E-mails in this Doom and Gloom: a path to nowhere | Commitment Matters opinion/editorial.
Step Three: Stop fantasizing or prognosticating that “things will get worse.” Envision a better future. Play games with yourself by creating more than one better future and find out if that lends itself to inner wisdom that leads you to the realization of desirable outcomes.
Obsessing on the idea that “things will get worse” is a BIG mistake, a solution-preventing fantasy that calm people don’t indulge in. As the 5 Strategies For Big-Picture Thinking – Fast Company article indicates, calm people know how to deal with anger. They…
- Set aside time to ponder the issues important to them.
- They speak with trusted confidantes because another person’s non-emotional outlook can provide necessary insights, perhaps help someone to realize potential solutions and how to make them happen.
- They identify specific actions to be taken and mindsets to be adopted
- They even generate helpful ideas
- Sometimes they look up ideas across the Internet, such as this one, entitled How to Manage Anger – Anger Management Tips
Step Four: Meditate. Read about how you can Grow your own happiness: how meditation physically changes the brain. Calming meditation can assist your efforts to get past problems and to realize solutions. It also lowers your blood pressure so you can survive to enjoy a longer, better life.
Humor Can Defuse Anger
One of the humorous ways that I defuse a volatile situation and temper is to announce to the angry individuals(s), or to myself, that comedians and reporters use the same technique in their professions. We both ask “What’s wrong with this picture?” It’s an easy-to-use tool for dealing with anger.
Comedians answer the “What’s wrong with this picture?” question with jokes to illustrate the universality of human frustration, frailty and vulnerability. The public tends to readily accept those commonalities among us, and then to settle down to dealing with them one by one. Reporters, however, tend to seize the chance to identify and errors, sometimes completing their work with a list of the ways to repair specific problems or with explanations about such solutions. They might even editorialize about the solutions they deem unfit for the occasion and those which they prefer. It’s often referred to as “biased” reporting. Fiction writers do the same thing, in many imaginative short stories, poems, novels and plays. Historians do that, too, when they pore over factual information and opine about why justice was delayed or miscarried, and how it can best be promoted.
The common core among the comedians, reporters, fiction, and non-fiction writers is that all of them seek to understand why a problem developed and to understand how best to minimize or repair it. They even want to understand how to prevent problems from starting. The analyses allow a person to accept harsh, unavoidable realities, and to build inner strengths for facing the challenges ahead. Ask yourself the “What’s wrong with this picture?” question, and then ponder the implications of the answers coming to mind. Keep asking. Add a “What if…” scenario to the circumstances in your imagination in order to figure out potential solutions. You might appreciate the unexpected insights to be gained from such mind games, and why people in the professions cited above use them.
Why Don’t Some People Don’t Behave Angrily and Why Don’t Some People Feel Anger When the Rest of Us Would?
Worldviews matter. So do impulse control issues. If you’re a black-skinned football player who was raised by white adoptive parents, and you end up as an adult blaming police and white people for your own inadequacies, you might have an immaturity and/or anger management problem to resolve, let alone impulse control problems to overcome. If you’re a person who seeks revenge on defenseless innocents who did not cause your problems, then you risk filling yourself with the same sort of rage as the newsmakers who have broken hearts and ended lives all over America and the Middle East.
Mental health professionals sometimes recognize a case of Arrested development -also called “arrested maturity.” Not a problem limited to teens, it afflicts adults, too. Arrested maturity goes together with enduring anger. People who choose not to behave in adult fashion tend to be angry all the time. They can’t be appeased much, which sets them up for an endless loop of self-propagated anger.
On the other hand, if you’re a tenacious individual who worked to rise beyond any limitations – perceived or imagined – then you did not dwell on an anger that derailed your life or anyone else’s. You grew in insight, inner strengths, and focus. They are the essence of maturity
Reactions Versus Responses
The difference between the angry and non-angry types of people is in how they decide to respond to disappointment. One reacts on impulse, casts blame and avoids personal responsibility for promoting his/her own happiness. The other measures their mood and actions so that they can select the optimal response they’ll make to a given problem.
Both types of people feel anger, but one of them does not engage in temper tantrums; instead they look towards a better future and work to make it happen.
Taking personal responsibility for making life better rather than demanding that other people make it better for you, is a matter of autonomy, creating your own life and not at anyone else’s expense. Blaming other people for your unhappiness, on the other hand, is to surrender your future to the people you blame, condemning yourself to bitterness and disappointment as you remain passive, failing to take control of your own life.
As to people who never seem to suffer the trait of anger, they are probably well practiced at remaining calm. “Fake it until you make it” is one way to reach that state of mind. Role-playing is another. Other techniques for achieving a mind without anger are presented below.
How does someone make the decision to seethe in anger or to choose a productive response to disappointments?
The answer is that they choose what and how to think. Consider the following sayings and what they imply about the people who repeat them as desired when dealing with life’s problems:
“Confidence is what you have before you understand the problem.” The insightful humor admits to a reality that can’t be controlled but can be deal with decisively and with a mood-improving laugh of self-recognition.
“Self – confidence is to recognize your own greatness, humility is to recognize the greatness in others.” – R. D. Pinson’s thought puts much of life into calming perspective, replacing the worry that humility equals self-condemnation with the confidence that you’ve bypassed a naïve, childish misperception.
“To the world you may be just one person, but to one person you may be the world.” This enriching idea builds self-esteem, putting one’s conscience into a personal respect mode. Parents sometimes come to this realization with the arrival of their first child.
“Failure is not the enemy of success; it is its prerequisite.” This blame-ending concept can save self-conscious people from undeserved self-condemnation. The phrase can also motivate a person to greater achievements and efforts.
“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” – Thomas Edison’s maxim puts failure into a positive and “process of elimination” reality-based point of view.
“Love blinds us to faults, hatred to virtues.” – Rabbi Moshe ibn Ezra puts the mysterious puzzle pieces of the judgmental mind into a whole picture. That lets a person figure out how to face life’s demands with a calm demeanor, and why they’re better off doing so.
There’s a lot of room for creative thinking, here. Indulge yourself it re-wording the sayings to suit your tastes and needs. One example could be “Failure is a prerequisite to success. We gain insight from failure. It teaches us to innovate, and to develop character. We perceive wider applications and better methods from the lessons of failure.” Find other motivational sayings, too. Do both exercises often enough and you might embolden yourself to create new sayings that capture your increasingly positive worldview. You can pretend to be positive as you repeat or re-read your newly minted phrase until you feel genuinely calm, insightful and ready to finesse life with its complications. When you look back at your accomplishments, self-satisfaction and a renewed zest for life will probably follow soon.
Motivate Yourself to Succeed
It’s no accident that many workplaces and schools have motivational posters decorating the walls and that employees plus students have motivational plaques or pictures on their desks and folder covers. Sayings which resonate with a person’s sense of fulfillment direct their attention to the tasks that they want to complete.
A sense of purpose in ink, paper and inspirational photos or comments, motivational materials guide many people in all walks of life to personal pride and accomplishment. Seek out the motivational materials and mantras that speak to you and show the world, including your inner world, what you’re made of and how much you can do.
Need a big emotional and intellectual boost to reach your goals? This Choices that can Change your Life talk by Carolyn Myss might be just what you need.
Yocheved Golani is a popular writer whose byline has appeared worldwide in print and online. A certified Health Information Management professional, she is a member of Get Help Israel. Certified in Spiritual Chaplaincy (End of Life issues) and in counseling skills, her life coaching for ill people puts healthy perspective into a clients’ success plan for achieving desired goals.