Saturday, 16 August 2014


This blog post is an extension to my previous blog on ‘Anger Management’. I acknowledge that managing anger is not a one-size-fits-all strategy. Still there are some ways to select so that we keep ourselves away from boiling over into destructive behavior.

“Anyone can become angry — that is so easy. But to become angry with the right person, to the right degree, at the right time, for the right purpose, and in the right way — that is not so easy.”
~ Aristotle

This blog post is an extension to my previous blog on ‘Anger Management’. I acknowledge that managing anger is not a one-size-fits-all strategy. Still there are some ways to select so that we keep ourselves away from boiling over into destructive behavior. In my earlier blog, I tried to give you a glimpse on how one can manage one’s anger (I suggested a handful of tips and those were the practices if followed wisely, can hugely slash our chances of developing into an ‘Angry Ogre’). To recap, on top of them was watching out for reasons of stress or depression (if any) and rooting them out of one’s system. The other approach was to keeping the most visited end of an angry situation in mind so that they could be well avoided in times of any friction. Sometimes giving oneself a short-break is advisable (This time-out technique works as an ideal distraction to calm down). And then taking things easy is also another way of keeping your cool in those rough moments. Here I will be digging the topic a little more in detail and share some other ways to find your peace with your anger.

Explain Your Anger: Yes, it’s true that giving yourself a break (during the heated arguments) sometimes seems the much needed way out. But it’s not like ‘be all and end all’. This method works best when after finding your calm, you also voice your concern with your source of anger (be it your friend or be it your partner), when both of you are in positive frame of mind. This approach is about having an open dialogue. In other words, it is to allow the barriers of your heart and soul to fall. Sweeping the matter under the carpet can seem viable for a while, but it surely doesn’t guarantee a happy formula to sort things out. The issue is never resolved, and a strange bitterness lingers. The absolute solution lies not in venting it out harshly (which happens in most of the cases) but trying to have an exchange of opinions with cool heads. Many a time, an all new perspective of a problem surfaces after having a ‘cool-conversation’ with the ones who did cause us upset our balance in the first place. In other words, sometimes anger is often a result of misperceiving the person in case. And your share of perception must also come to the light to others only then there are chances of getting the junk clear off your head. 

Every expectation fulfilled is one big fairy tale.
Set Your Expectations Right: Expectations never die nor do they subside. We often turn into an ‘Incredible Hulk’ when things don’t happen the way we want them to, and believe that they ‘should’, happen. If we don’t have our way, it causes anger and there is just no escaping it. Also, then we find someone to ‘blame’ and ‘punish’ because they have not had our way. To paraphrase Erza Bayda, “When life is not the way we want it, we react. If we have expectations, we expect them to be met. If we have requirements, we require them to be met. If we have strong desires, we will not be satisfied unless they are fulfilled. Though life is neutral, with no bias toward fitting our pictures of how it should be, we continue to believe that life should go the way we want. And when it doesn’t, the result is often anger, in one form or another. We express it internally through ruminating or wallowing; we express it externally through blame. Anger is simply our conditioned response to life when it doesn’t match our pictures.” In the light of this notion (which is undoubtedly true), it’s sensible to have realistic expectations with people around. And this is also quite irrational to behave as a tantrum-throwing child when not entertained as expected. Sometimes it’s better to bid adieu to your ‘deep fried expectations’ otherwise it’s a typical ‘wild-goose-chase’. Remember, ‘every expectation fulfilled’ is one big fairy tale.

Can You Put Your Feet in The Shoes of Others?: Well, that’s called ‘empathy’ in simple words. And that’s entirely different from ‘sympathy’ (And I strongly recommend you to find the difference between these two, if they seem synonym to each other by their face value). When you empathize with a person (who is irritating and is your source of anger quite often), you actually try to put your feet in his/ her shoes. What I mean to say is that you make an attempt to understand the reason of his/ her disposition positively. This way of ‘optimistically perceiving anger’ is called ‘reappraisal’ by Jens Blechert, research head, Stanford University. For example, if my friend has had a bad day or he has not been feeling very good about something for quite some time, or he is just not in his ‘happy-state-of-mind’, chances are I could be the ‘scapegoat’ while confronting him and he could lash out at me. His frustrations may be passed down to me (also because in his heart of heart, he knows I am his friend and he expects at least me to understand him) and here if I start judging him and blaming him that he is not behaving himself, an emotional outburst is round the corner. And it’s true that many a time couples fight not because they were angry with each other, but because one of them failed to ‘read the other’s anger’ positively. 
This is no wise to start a negative competition called ‘War of Words’.
Watch Your Words: Words are powerful. That’s the reason why it’s preferable staying silent sometimes whenever in provoking predicament. This is no wise to start a negative competition called ‘War of Words’. We hiss fire, spit spleen and communicate with a roar to offload the negative feelings inside. But mind you, once arrows dipped in harsh criticism are thrown at others, they cannot be called back. And in 99.99% cases, we repent and feel guilty for doing so. It seems as if anger comes like a storm and possesses us. We regret later and vow not to be angry again. And before we know it, it becomes a vicious circle. The reason is quite simple and straightforward. When we listen to somebody, completely, attentively, then we are listening not only to the words, but also to the feeling of what is being conveyed. And angry words always carry unkind feelings along with them. At the receiver’s end, decoding of these words results in magnified version of this ‘unintended unkindness’. And then, if you hope him being super-extra-kind to you, you are certainly living in a fool’s paradise. (Pardon me for my selection of words, if they hurt; but believe me I am not angry. But you know words are powerful).

Do You Remember the Dirty Past?: Sometimes you want to rewind life and start all over again. And the major problem when you’re angry is that you cognitive skills become impaired, and your intellect gets clouded. In such a state of mental fatigue and emotional burnout, consequences look insignificant and you can actually process less information. It makes you more prejudiced about others and your analytical skills go for a toss. This often leads you doing things that you wouldn’t do in normal circumstances and will cause you regret your actions when you look back. If you envisage those unpleasant memories already in advance associated with your unmanaged anger (when you did something wrongful and repented later on), you instantly get clues and realize not to repeat the same dirty past. This method is just opposite to visioning something positive. When you visualize ‘happy things’ in your future, you experience ‘feel-good-factor’ and you become encouraged and feel upbeat. Likewise when you go into your past and remember those ‘unhappy things’ (which occurred at the heat of the moment), you receive warning signals and that helps you bounce back to you ‘normal state of being’.      

Burn anger, before anger burns you.
Know the Health Hazards: Well, I’m not making this up; various studies have shown that anger can actually up your risk of health hazards. This is backed by research that the moment (when something crashes and) you act hothead and start snapping at the smallest of things, certain glands in your body get activated and they flood the body with stress hormones. It causes a kick in adrenaline and cortisol. Your brain shunts blood away from the gut and towards the muscles, in preparation for physical exertion. Your body temperature rises, your skin perspires, your face reddens, your voice rises to a higher pitch, your heart beats speed up and your breathing becomes faster. The constant flood of stress chemicals causes harm to many different systems of the body. As a result, your unmanaged anger causes you headache, digestion problems, abdominal pain, insomnia, anxiety, depression, disturbed sleep, tiredness, hypertension, ulcers, high blood pressure, skin problems and what not. In fact, the list is endless. Better, then, burn anger, before anger burns you!

To sum up, I must say that anger is undoubtedly a self-defeating and self-destructive emotion. Most of the time, it’s not a matter of chance, but a matter of choice. Well these ways and means (revealed in the present as well as in the previous blog) to be anger-free could sound like a good mix. But the bottom line is that it is not individuals or situations that cause anger, it is our own reaction or response to individuals and situations that determines whether we will be angry or otherwise. So, develop a strong will to control anger and moreover, have a readiness to change for better. Because,

“If you aren’t ready to change, the intervention probably won’t take hold.”

~ Jerry Deffenbacher

If you like this blog post and wish to share your experiences/ remarks/ views with me, you are most welcome. Write to me at Like on by Gaurav Misra. Follow on Twitter@pdpbygm.