Photo Courtesy of Cia De Foto
Anger Management Series provides self help material to deal with anger. It raises and answers questions like – how to control anger, how to become anger-free etc. It attempts to do so by understanding anger, putting together varied anger management strategies and reviewing books on the same subject.
How To Pick Your First Anger Management Area
Flight Or Fight Response
It is said that anger is a natural emotion and hence shouldn’t be played with. There is a reason for anger to be a part of the varied emotions that we feel – anger is a response to danger. In early days, anger helped us take quick action in life or death kind of situations.
I don’t follow this reasoning well because we aren’t who we were then. We don’t live life the way we used to then. When we give out a natural response in situations which seem like danger to us, we are basically simply reacting to the event. And the only natural reaction to danger that we know of is to fight or flight.
In my early days, I too reacted to anger with fight or flight. Sadly, neither worked. A fight became a battle of wills, a battle of who is right. Of course to me I was always right and ditto with the other party (After a point, it anyways didn’t matter. All that mattered was who won the battle). And a flight became avoiding confrontations, avoiding anger, keeping everything bottled within. An anger which keeps boiling within is all consuming. It finds it’s release either by draining the anger keeper physically and emotionally or it explodes and transforms from flight to fight (equally unproductive).
As is obvious, I wasn’t happy with either ways of managing anger – the passive style (flight) and the agressive style (fight). Neither style gave me what I wanted – a sensible solution to whatever the problem was. And hence, I began to work on myself.
Pick What’s Easiest To Do
My first choice was to practice releasing anger. Most of you might be expecting a really good reasoning for why I picked up releasing anger (working with the emotion of anger) rather than working on source of anger or other options of working with the emotion of anger (like controlling anger, redirecting anger etc). Truth is, I didn’t have such a good understanding of anger or what forms anger management. My interest was only in making life easy and easiest way for me to do so was releasing anger.
Some of the advantages of working on the emotion of anger are that you work on it on your own, at your own pace and at your own time and convenience. No one else is involved in this process and hence you can experiment as much as you like. It is rarely going to impact others directly – it’s a private and internal process.
When you seek to pick up one area of anger management, the question to ask yourself is – What is the easiest option I can work upon, what is the most comfortable of all.
For me it was releasing anger because it meant making use of a lot of thoughts, logic and self reflection – things which I was already comfortable in. Working on releasing anger meant putting in a little effort and getting great results – a complete win-win.
The other way to pick up an area of anger management to work upon is by following the Pareto principle – also known as the 80-20 principle. It is said that 80% of effects come from 20% of causes. So what you need to do is figure out, what your 20% is which will give you 80% of results. In what area, you can work minimum and gain maximum advantage.
A Few Examples
Had I been an aggressive person, releasing anger would be the last of my worries. My first prime most focus would have been on redirecting anger. This is because as an aggressive person, I could hurt others by words and actions (which obviously I don’t want to). Moreover, releasing anger through self reflection would have been really difficult. I would have needed some kind of activity to focus on, something which took a lot of energy. And hence, redirection makes sense – exercise, play sports, dance … anything which is physical. Once through these activities I calm down, releasing anger through self reflection, working on the source of problem etc would be possible.
If there is a particular time period in which I am prone to anger – late evening coz I am tired or PMS or some project deadline, working on the source of anger would make sense. I would work on relaxing myself, taking some time off, do something which makes me happy etc. This automatically will reduce the effect of tiredness, nervousness etc. Moreover, along with the source, I would also work on sorting external events which could trigger anger – this could mean communicating with family members about how I feel – even a simple stay out of my way for a while message would work wonders. By helping others to help me, I can pass this tough time easily, without getting angry.