How To Manage Your Anger (Part 2)
Anger can be a helpful signal that your rights are being violated or that your needs are not being met. However, anger can become a problem, when it is your only response to stress. Chronic anger not only stresses the body and mind, it can cause you to have more problems, especially when interacting with others.
In Part one of this article, I mentioned two unhealthy ways to respond when angry: express it in an uncontrolled or aggressive way, and repress it. In this article I will share two healthy ways to manage your anger:
1.) Temporarily Suppress it in Order to Process it.
I recommend that when you feel your anger rising that you temporarily suppress it in order to process it. By temporarily suppressing your anger, you avoid an outburst by not giving vent to your anger. Suppression is not the same as repression. When a person represses their anger, it gets buried and the person may not even be aware that they are angry. In contrast, a more healthy way to deal with anger is to temporarily suppress it in order to process it.
When you feel your anger rising, delay taking action or expressing it until you have thought through the situation and understand why you are angry. By delaying taking action and not expressing your anger, you are also giving yourself time to calm down and gain control over your words and actions.
We all have the ability to temporarily suppress our anger. If you’ve ever been pulled over for a traffic violation, you may have been angry with yourself or the police officer. Yet, by the time the officer walked up to your car, you probably acted pleasant and in control of your anger. You realized that if you displayed any anger or hostility that your chances of getting off with a warning would be very remote.
Sometimes, when you process your anger, you will realize that your anger is unwarranted or out of proportion to the situation. You may realize that your anger is more about your sensitivity, unmet needs, unrealistic expectations or unresolved issues of the past.
2.) Confess it (to Ourselves and to the Other Person).
When I use the word “confess” I don’t mean in the sense of a criminal confessing a crime to the police. Remember, it is not wrong to feel angry. Anger is a natural emotion that everyone experiences. Anger only becomes a problem when you suppress it or express it in an inappropriate way.
In this case, I’m using the word “confess” in the sense of acknowledging or declaring something to be true. The best time to confess your anger is when you have waited until you have calmed down. Once you’ve had some time to process your anger, you need to take constructive and assertive action. The next step may be to talk to the person who you are upset with.
Of course, it is important that you express your feelings to them in a tactful way. You need to explain to them what they need to do to change the situation and resolve the problem. Direct, honest communication that avoids accusations can work wonders.