What is anger?
There is some evidence to suggest that anger may be a feeling that is associated with a feeling of helplessness and loss of control. People may respond to these feelings in one of two ways. When we loose control we might show it an outward way by being angry, if we still don’t feel as if we are getting satisfaction or control that anger can turn to rage. The other way we emotionally respond to lack of control or feeling a loss of empowerment is we feel depressed. We think “What’s the matter with me I should have said something to him/her”.
Anger takes a great deal of energy from us and it distances us from other people. If we over do it, we can lose friends, spouses, our children and even our jobs. When we are angry we do not have our peace of mind.
As difficult as anger is, there is very little mentioned about what to do with this potentially destructive emotion. Here is a quick test for you:
What is the best way to handle anger?
1. Get even with that son-of-a-gun.
2. Forgive the person who you are angry with.
3. Ignore the situation and/or the anger
The correct answer is note of the above. Anger consumes an inordinate amount of time energy and space in our brain that could be put too much better use. Here are 4 steps to follow that can help you deal with anger.
1. Rate yourself on Dr. Marty’s “Anger Scale”
On a scale of 1 – 5, rate how angry you are. One being mildly annoyed, your friend was 10 minutes late for meeting you for shopping. Five being ready to go to the top of the tower with an automatic weapon (only kidding – but you get the idea)
Step back from the angering event and calm yourself. Too often we want to go after the person or situation that is angering us. While we may feel that that is a useful outlet at the moment, it in fact only reinforces the negative feelings.
2. Understand its origin
What made you feel powerless/out of control/angry in the first place? I believe that anger is really powerless turned outward. Let’s test my theory. Think of a time when you were furious. Imagine that you had complete control of the situation. What happens to your anger? I bet that it is either significantly diminished or has just gone away. Finding the origin is not always obvious, together we can figure exactly where this anger is coming from.
3. Think about how these feelings have left you with a sense of loss of control – (Only do this after 20 to 30 minutes after doing steps 1 and 2.)
4. Develop a plan about how you can regain control. We get angry when we feel powerless. The moment you feel you have regained control you will find your anger fading away.
The basic steps are straight forward, but they are not easy to do. There are several things you can do to help you with these four steps: You can ask a friend for help with steps 3 and 4. You can write out some of your thoughts on steps 3 and 4. Also letting some time go by can help. If these things don’t work the way you would like them to, some professional help might be warranted. You might talk with your minister or physician. Also if you would like, we could figure out some of the things that a trained experienced eye might more readily see.