Anger is a frightening emotion. It is also one of the most useful and powerful emotions. Anger management simply means knowing how to handle anger, and that doesn’t necessarily mean not getting angry. It is about knowing how to use it.
When someone is out of control with anger, it is a problem. This specific chapter of this blog is not about problem anger. It is about learning how to use anger in a positive and effective way.
When it is not dangerous, anger is unpleasant for people for one of two reasons. It is either because they have they come from a home where anger has been dangerous or uncontrolled or from one in which anger was not allowed. In either case, there is no knowledge about how to use anger in a controlled fashion.
Theories of emotions have been studied extensively. When one is in a situation that generates anger or frustration, the body produces a chemical response. It is actually not in your conscious control. Adrenalin surges, breath increases, blood pressure rises all out of your control. So, if you try not to be angry or you do not acknowledge it and have some means of expressing it, there is a conflict. Your body will be reacting to the situation and your mind will not. Learning how to handle anger is an important part of being effective and successful.
When you think about it, the aggression that underlies anger is the same force that underlies determination, refusal to give up in a difficult situation, getting from one place to another. Harnessing that energy is critical to success.
How do you direct that energy when it is not familiar to you? The first step is to learn to identify when you are angry. There are physical effects that occur when you are angry. Feel free to use the attached log to chart the times you feel annoyed. Because anger can be such a frightening word, you may call it something different like nervous, or irritated, or upset, or annoyed. There are many gradations of this emotion. So think of a time when you felt angry. What were the physical signs. Did you feel physically hot? Did you feel like you were going to explode? Did your face get flushed? These are all signs that accompany the emotion of anger. If you can identify any of these, think of a time when they were of a lesser magnitude. Track these times on the attached log.
Next step, when you feel these things note them in your mind. Just be aware when you are feeling them. Don’t necessarily do anything differently.