Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned. – Buddha
Anger is a strong emotion which all of us have experienced at some point in life. Maybe, our loved ones have hurt us through their anger, or we hurt others through our anger. Some of us express our anger through actions and words. Some of us suppress the anger and smile even when going through anger inside. But what is the right approach towards anger? Expressing the anger or suppressing it? The answer is none. Whether anger is expressed or suppressed, it is harmful to the person who experiences anger. Like Buddha said in the above quote, holding on to anger or experiencing the anger itself is harmful.
What are the consequences of repeatedly experiencing anger in life?
1. It makes a person agitated and restless.
2. It leads to relationship problems. Relationships with loved ones go through a lot of strain due to anger. Frequent anger leads to heated arguments and violent outbursts, which affect the quality of relationships.
3. It leads to issues in the workplace. When a person cannot control his anger, it leads to issues with colleagues and loss of productivity in the workplace.
4. It reduces immunity making a person open to seasonal flus and infections.
5. It causes the person to experience a flight or fight mechanism. In this mechanism, hormones are released in the body to strengthen the person to fight or flight. The energy from digestion, thinking, and several other life processes of the body is diverted to hands and feet to enable the person to fight with fists or to run with feet. When this happens repeatedly, the person may develop below health issues over a period.
6. Frequent anger leads to insomnia, making it difficult for the person to have a restful and deep sleep.
7. Anger overpowers the logical side of the person and makes the person do illogical things which he or she would not do under normal circumstances.
8. Anger robs peace of mind.
9. It drains our energies and makes us feel tired.
10. It affects the creative and joyful side of us negatively.
These are some effects of frequent anger in life. It is common to experience anger in life due to various situations. But for our physical, emotional, and mental health, we need to learn to manage our anger properly. In anger management, there are three issues we need to handle.
1. How frequently do we experience anger?
2. How intense do we experience anger?
3. How long do we hold on to the anger when it happens?
Coming to the first aspect of frequency. Experiencing anger multiple times in a day for everything and anything is harmful. Below are some pointers which help us to build our inner strength and to reduce the frequency of anger.
1. Regular meditation – When we meditate regularly, our emotional and mental strength improves, and patience increases due to which we tend to become less angry.
2. Yoga – Doing yoga has a positive impact on our body, mind, and spirit. This also gives us inner strength and calmness to handle situations without becoming angry.
3. Proper nutrition – When our body is starved or deprived of any essential nutrients and vitamins, we tend to lose patience for small things and become angry. Take a well-balanced diet and make sure your body’s vitamins are at healthy levels.
4. Disciplined lifestyle – When we lead a disciplined lifestyle, our life is in greater control, and there will be less chance for situations to pop up suddenly and make us angry.
5. Prayer – Pray to the divine to bless you with patient and inner calmness.
The above techniques also help us to reduce the intensity of anger. When we practice these techniques in life, the first and second aspects of anger are taken care of and, to some extent, the third aspect too. Coming to the third aspect of anger. Anger is inevitable in life. However, when we learn to come out of it faster, negative impacts of anger are minimized. Below are some techniques which help us to come out of anger quickly.
1.Slow deep breathing – When we are angry, our breath becomes shallow and rapid. Our breath and emotions are closely connected. One impacts the other. When we practice deep and slow breathing while we are angry, anger comes down pretty quickly. How to practice deep breathing? Below are the steps
1. Inhale deeply. Your stomach should come out like a balloon.
2. Exhale deeply. Your stomach should go in.
3. Practice 12 counts of deep breathing.
2.Count numbers from 100 to 1 or 1 to 100 – When we distract our mind from the situation, which causes anger, it helps us to come out of anger. Counting numbers is one such technique. Other techniques for distracting our mind are listening to music, pursuing our hobby, reading positive content, etc.
3. Involve in some physical activity like walking or gymming or swimming or dancing etc. When we do some physical activity, our intensity of anger comes down, and it becomes easy to come out of it.
4.Practice mindfulness. Just be mindful and aware of what is happening inside you while you are angry. Your awareness melts your anger.
5. Watch a comedy and laugh out. When you laugh, negative energy inside clears out, and anger is released.
6. Take a saltwater bath. After you take your regular bath, apply bathing salt on your body, and stay for a few minutes. Then wash your body with water. This calms down your thoughts and emotions.
These are some techniques and tools to regulate and control our anger. One thing we should clearly understand is anger and assertiveness are different. To make things happen, we need not become angry and shout at someone. We can make it happen by being assertive and strong. So, anger is not a tool to get things done.
Having said this, it is not 100% possible for us to eradicate anger from our life. We are humans, and yes, anger happens, but we should learn to come out of it quickly and take the right action rather than being stuck with it and draining our energies. And we should also build our emotional and mental muscles strong enough to handle unexpected situations with more patience and a greater level of calmness.
Wishing you all the peace and strength!
“If you are patient in one moment of anger, you will escape a hundred days of sorrow” – Chinese Proverb