Anger is described as having A strong feeling of annoyance, displeasure, or hostility in the Oxford dictionary. Psychologically, anger is a normal human emotion, and each one of us goes through this emotion every once in a while; in fact at times it is even healthy to get angry, as this shows that you as a person have a limit, a set of boundaries and rules that you don’t expect others to cross.
But what about the times when anger is unhealthy?
Unhealthy anger is anger when the emotion of anger is so strong that I clouds your judgement, when the feeling of anger overpowers every other feeling there is within you.
We’ve heard many instances in life when a person is angry at someone, and they stay angry with them until God forbid something bad happens to that person or when that person dies. It is only after the going away of that person that the person who feels angry, thinks about his actions but by then it’s too late, and then a new emotion takes over; Regret. Both Anger and regret are the worst emotions of a persons life, and slowly they take over one’s life if not controlled.
When is anger a problem?
According to the Australian Psychology Society, anger becomes a problem when the following happens:
- You feel angry a lot of the time.
- People close to you are worried about your anger.
- Anger is leading to problems with personal relationships and work.
- You think you have to get angry to get what you want.
- Anger seems to get bigger than the event that set it off.
- Anger lasts for a long time, and well after the triggering event has passed.
- Anger affects other situations not related to the original event.
- You are becoming anxious or depressed about your anger.
- You are using alcohol or other drugs to try to manage your anger.
- You are getting angry with the people who are closest to you, or with people who are less powerful than you, rather than dealing with the situation that sparked off your anger in the first place.
All the signs mentioned above are signs that show that one has an anger problem. People have become used to using anger to get what they want, sometimes they use it so much to the extent that their anger becomes bigger than the situation itself, and sometimes the same anger can cloud the love they have for someone else. At times when your anger is out of control, I advice that one takes deep breathes and just concentrates on the reasons how the opposite person has made them happy, and then while revisiting the old memories, one can calm down their anger.
Another piece of advice is that one should never use anger as a means to emotionally blackmail another person into doing what they want, instead one should use the approach of talking, discussing and compromising. Especially when one is in a relationship, it is crucial that one doesn’t force their rules or opinions on their significant other, instead let them be the person they are because that was the person you fell in love with.
When one is angry, one often exaggerates the situation and comes to the conclusion that everything and everyone is horrible and that this is the end of the world. When ones mind starts thinking like this, one should quickly tell oneself ‘It’s frustrating, and it’s understandable that I’m upset about it, but it’s not the end of the world and getting angry is not going to fix it’.
Another way is to learn assertive skills, these skills ensure that anger is channelled and expressed in clear and respectful ways. Being assertive means being clear with others about what your needs and wants are, feeling okay about asking for them, but respecting the other person’s needs and concerns as well and being prepared to negotiate. Avoid using words like ‘never’ or ‘always’ (for example, ‘You’re always late!’), as these statements are usually inaccurate, make you feel as though your anger is justified, and don’t leave much possibility for the problem to be solved.
And lastly, don’t let your anger last long, and don’t dwell on a problem once you’ve solved it, by doing this, you’re saving that anger inside of you, and giving it the chance to rest it’s ugly head the next time you get angry. Once a problem is solved, be happy, smile and let go of all that negative energy; breathe deep and smile.