Anger is an intense emotion that an individual feels when things aren’t going right or their way. Human beings usually experience this emotion when they feel threatened, attacked or when their boundaries are being violated. Increased heart rate, blood pressure and high levels of adrenaline are the basic signs of anger. When people feel angry, their fight or flight response is activated. In such case, body’s entire blood flow is provided to the extremities such as into the arms and legs to prepare the individual to either maintain their stance and fight or to run away. Amidst all this, blood is in its least quantity at the most important part of the human body, the human brain. A human brain is thinking, reasoning and decision making part of the human body. It requires blood and oxygen to function in a proper manner. Once the blood flow is less in this area, an individual cannot think properly or apply problem solving techniques to solve the matter.
Anger is not a negative emotion but a survival tool. It helps motivate individuals and mobilize corrective actions for endurance. But this only works if the anger is in control and not creating chaos in peoples’ lives. For this purpose and to help restore blood flow in the brain to activate reasoning, the following steps must be taken:
Step 1: Learn to identify our triggers
The first step is to identify what makes us angry. We can use mindfulness to assess the emotions we feel during various events. We must learn to identify which situations, what actions of others, which of our thoughts, and what things trigger our anger. When we can actively recognize our activating scenarios, we can work on managing our anger in a better way.
Step 2: Recognizing our signs under anger
Identifying when we are starting to become angry or when something has made us mad is an important step. We must learn to look for the physical signs such as feeling hot, feelings the muscles tighten, clenching our jaw, making fists, pointing, exaggerated hand gestures, neck and shoulder muscle tension, shaking etc. All these warning signs tell us that we are becoming agitated and no sooner will we start yelling, making threats or start up a physical fight.
Step 3: Use anger management techniques
Once we are able to identify our triggers and warning signs, we are steps ahead in managing our anger. At that point we can apply some management techniques to help calm ourselves down and start thinking rationally. Some of these techniques include:
- Deep Breathing: Taking long and deep breathes will help us relax and release muscle tension. It will also restore oxygen and blood to our brain to help us think why we or the other person is acting in such a way that would cause people distress. You will no longer feel angry when you are relaxed.
- Distraction: Counting backwards in your mind or leaving the scene of crime is great distraction techniques. It takes our mind off the thought that is feeding our emotion of anger. Its gives us a chance to relax and think reasonably. Other distraction techniques such as listening to music, watching a movie, talking to a friend or reading a book to take our mind off the irrational thought have also been proven helpful.
- Exercise: Physical workout always helps us maintain our composure and prevents anger outbursts by reducing stress. If one feels their anger escalating, they can always go for a run; walk or get indulges in other pleasurable physical activity.
- Taking time out for our self: We all need break sometimes. Getting some time off from the busy schedule for self care is important. Not taking any breaks will lead to a lot of accumulated stress that can come out in form of agitation, irritability or anger outbursts.
Holding in anger is not healthy. It is important to let it out as it can cause many physical and psychological problems such as hypertension, high sugar etc and can also lead to depression. But letting steam off in a healthy way is important. Once calm, we should talk to the person we think caused the problem and try to look for alternative solutions for the problem.