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How To Pick Your First Anger Management Area

Category: Anger Management, Featured

Anger Management IV Kid Punch
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.

[Click here for Part I : Decoding Anger]

[Click here for Part II : How Did We Form Our Current Anger Management Style]

[Click here for Part III : Kaizen Way of Managing Anger]

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.


The Pareto Principle

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.

This is Part IV of Anger Management Series. Stay Tuned for Part V.

To ensure that you do not miss any part of this series, consider subscribing to RSS Feed or Email Updates for free.

Update : How To Pick Your First Anger Management Area – Anger Management Series Part IV

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Reader's Comments

  1. Davina | September 23rd, 2008 at 5:10 pm

    Hi Avani. I’ve missed this series from being away and it is one I MUST follow. I will set aside some time and read through all of your entries. Anger is a giant inside of me that I don’t want to awaken. Thanks for taking the time to put this together.

    Davina’s last blog post..I’m Over The Moon As NBOTW

    Reply to this comment
  2. Shannon Munford M.A. | September 23rd, 2008 at 6:27 pm

    I enjoy the fact that you mention managing anger is different for everyone. There is no perfect formula. Those who hold anger in need to practice releasing. Those who vomit there emotions must learn appropriate ways to release including there use of volume and a regonition of time and place.

    Shannon Munford M.A.
    http://www.daybreakservices.com

    Shannon Munford M.A.’s last blog post..Anger Management classes for man who protested war protesters

    Reply to this comment
  3. Avani-Mehta | September 23rd, 2008 at 6:38 pm

    Hi Davina, You are welcome. I do hope you gain value out of this. I surely have :)

    Reply to this comment
  4. Avani-Mehta | September 23rd, 2008 at 9:01 pm

    Shannon, all of us are unique individuals. How can then the same formula apply to all.

    Reply to this comment
  5. Evelyn Lim | September 23rd, 2008 at 11:34 pm

    I’m glad that you are writing this series. If all of us can be spending a great deal more time looking at and tracing the root causes of our anger, the world will turn out to be a nicer place!

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts on releasing anger!

    Reply to this comment
  6. Seamus Anthony | September 24th, 2008 at 12:50 am

    I have to admit both me and my partner have always been shouters. Let it flow and then let it go types, but now we have a baby we have to try and reel that in, and I am not sure it’s always a good thing (well it is for the baby) as un-vented anger or frustration will surely manifest in other ways right? I dunno.

    Seamus Anthony’s last blog post..10 Reasons Why Being a Lazy Dude is Actually a Good Thing

    Reply to this comment
  7. Avani-Mehta | September 24th, 2008 at 2:11 am

    @Evelyn : You are welcome. Even I am glad I am doing this series. There are lot of things we learn and apply subconsciously. This series is bringing clarity to everything related to my approach to anger management.

    @Seamus : If you can let go of anger without shouting, it’s a great thing. But if you are just keeping anger within, it will surely come out in other forms. Un-vented anger will create problems for you and your relationship. Do find ways to release it.

    Reply to this comment
  8. Cath Lawson | September 24th, 2008 at 12:18 pm

    Hi Avani – this series is really helpful. I have PMT right now and I always get angry about things that don’t really bother me. Maybe like you say, I am just taking the easier option at other times and doing something else to take my mind off the anger, instead of trying to figure out the cause.

    Cath Lawson’s last blog post..Free Gift Ideas That Help You Sell More

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  9. Maya | September 24th, 2008 at 12:43 pm

    Hi Avani,

    First of all, you have a wonderful blog. I subscribed to your blog a couple of months ago ….even before I had started my blog. So, in mays ways, you were an inspiration. Thank you.

    This is a great series and is making me think a LOT. I have been the one to deny anger, all my life. I still deny it very often. I am just learning to recognize it, accept it. I have a long way to go :)

    Thank you for your posts. Very very insightful and extremely thought provoking.

    -Maya

    Reply to this comment
  10. Avani-Mehta | September 24th, 2008 at 3:57 pm

    @Cath: All the best to you. Just keep experimenting till you find something which works.

    @Maya: Thank you for your encouraging words. I am heading right away to your blog.

    Reply to this comment
  11. Ari Novick, Ph.D. | September 24th, 2008 at 5:09 pm

    Nice blog and useful techniques. I agree with much of what you have written.

    Best,

    Ari Novick, Ph.D.
    http://www.ajnovickgroup.com
    http://www.angerclassonline.com

    Reply to this comment
  12. Marelisa | September 24th, 2008 at 11:51 pm

    Hi Avani: If you can pinpoint the source of your anger–like you mention, a project deadline, being tired, and so on–then things get a lot easier because you can work on releasing the anger from the root. That is, you can break the project into small tasks to make it easier and less stressful, you can take a warm bath to relax, and so on. I’m really liking this series.

    Marelisa’s last blog post..Thoughts to Get Your Creative Juices Flowing

    Reply to this comment
  13. Avani-Mehta | September 25th, 2008 at 12:10 am

    @Ari: Hey thanks Ari.

    @Marelisa: Source is the key, isn’t it? Once we know what is truly generating anger, a number of options automatically get available to us.

    Reply to this comment
  14. Barbara Swafford | September 25th, 2008 at 2:33 am

    Hi Avani – This sure is a great series on anger. I’ve known a few people who have gone to anger management classes and once they learned how to deal with the anger, they were a lot less volatile. This series might make a great ebook. Yeah?

    Barbara Swafford’s last blog post..Signs of A Blogoholic

    Reply to this comment
  15. Daniel Richard | September 25th, 2008 at 11:49 am

    There are surely times when we can get more prone to anger. Knowing how to manage it is a wonderful trait to have.

    Do share out your next part of the series there. :)

    Daniel Richard’s last blog post..Fighting Your Fear Of Downfall From “Bad Habits”

    Reply to this comment
  16. Avani-Mehta | September 25th, 2008 at 2:22 pm

    @Barbara: Ebook! Wow, sounds great. I must say I didn’t think about creating an ebook.

    @Daniel: An article on managing anger is on it’s way.

    Reply to this comment
  17. Ananya | September 25th, 2008 at 6:36 pm

    I draw or write someting usually to control my anger, but:

    Ambrose Bierce said: Speak when you are angry and you will make the best speech you will ever regret.

    Ananya’s last blog post..Journey To The Centre Of The Earth (2008): Movie Info

    Reply to this comment
  18. Nathalie Lussier from Billionaire Woman | September 25th, 2008 at 7:11 pm

    I especially like the idea of applying the pareto principal to anger management. Great post! :)

    Nathalie Lussier from Billionaire Woman’s last blog post..Self-Employment: One Selfish Way to Financial Independence

    Reply to this comment
  19. Avani-Mehta | September 25th, 2008 at 7:42 pm

    @Ananya: Loved the quote :) Made me smile but it’s so true.

    @Nathalie: I have started thinking on lines of pareto principle almost everywhere. Sometimes it gives amazing results. For others, I am still waiting for a breakthrough.

    Reply to this comment
  20. Stacey / Create a Balance | September 26th, 2008 at 7:31 am

    I am going to go back and read the others posts! I’m a fight or flight girl and really want to get out of that pattern. My goal is to simply become aware of my anger and not to react to it. This, however, is easier said than done.

    Stacey / Create a Balance’s last blog post..Practicing Being Selfish = Self Nurturing

    Reply to this comment
  21. Kim Woodbridge | September 26th, 2008 at 8:43 pm

    Avani,

    I don’t get angry too much although I did when I was younger. But when I do, I am definitely the confrontational type. I actually get more annoyed when arguing with someone who responds by running away from the situation.

    I don’t currently but I used to take kick-boxing classes for exercise and found that it really helped to reduce my anger and frustrations. I think any intense physical activity would have that affect.

    I know need to go back and read the rest of the series :-) And I second Barbara’s ebook idea.

    Reply to this comment
  22. Avani-Mehta | September 27th, 2008 at 12:22 am

    @Stacey: That’s a great goal. I strive to become anger-free (well … atleast as much as possible :))

    @Kim: Kick boxing sounds like fun. And yes, any physical activity would help reduce anger and frustration. In fact, exercise can make you happy.

    Reply to this comment
  23. Urban Panther | September 30th, 2008 at 8:28 am

    Maybe I’m jumping ahead to an advanced technique here, but I try and pay attention to where the ‘offending’ party is at. For example, the other day we got caught in Toronto traffic because streets were shut down for a marathon. The Lion and I were afraid we’d miss our flight. The Lion got flustered over not being able to find his wallet and said something really snarky to me. My immediate reaction was to snap back, but I took a deep breath, smiled and said nicely “That was really silly, but you are stressed.” For me, I needed to let him know nicely that his statement hurt me, but for him, I needed to let him know I knew he was stressed and frustrated. Situation diffused and he gave me a big hug.

    Good series, Avani.

    Reply to this comment
  24. Shannon Munford | September 30th, 2008 at 12:43 pm

    @ Urban Panther….What you are describing is empathy. I believe empahty is a vital tool in managing anger. We often trample over other with our words and actions because we are oblivious to how we make other people feel.

    Shannon Munford
    http://www.daybreakservices.com
    http://www.daybreakservices.com/blog

    Reply to this comment
  25. The Daily Minder | October 1st, 2008 at 4:08 am

    Wonderful! Simply wonderful.

    Thank you for taking the time to write an article that could potentially help a lot of people.

    The Daily Minder

    Reply to this comment
  26. Avani-Mehta | October 1st, 2008 at 1:07 pm

    @Urban Panther: Wow, you handled the situation beautifully. I can’t think of anything to add or edit from it. It’s sad, sometimes we have the wisdom to see the other person in anger but not enough to handle that knowledge effectively. I see you could do both :)

    @Shannon: It’s true. When we truly understand others, we know where they are coming from and thus, not get angry with them.

    @The Daily Minder: The pleasure is all mine. I really do wish that it makes a difference in lives of lot of people. That IS the intention with which I wrote the article.

    Reply to this comment
  27. Liara Covert | October 11th, 2008 at 7:58 am

    Laughter is very good medicine! Some people sense the connections between anger and attack are straightforward. Yet, the links between anger and fear are not always so clear-cut. If you feel worthy of attack rather than worthy of unconditional love, then it would be to your benefit to work though and dissolve such a conclusion.

    Reply to this comment
  28. anger management | May 17th, 2010 at 5:16 am

    You have very nicely expounded an essential concept in anger management: working on the emotion rather that on the source of anger.

    This way, the person can work on his own without the need for interaction with others.

    Reply to this comment
  29. Getting Pregnant after Miscarriage | January 10th, 2011 at 6:38 pm

    Hi administrator, I’ve a little request. I was just simply searching for info on the topic you wrote and found this post. Some really nice stuff you published here. Can I if possible write about this post on my own latest site I’m working on? This would certainly be terrific :). I will come back yet again later on to find out how you replied. Thanks, Vance Moesch

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  30. seo manchetser | May 18th, 2011 at 9:12 am

    I think people get confused with frustration and real anger. In todays society we are taught to be annoyed with eveything and complain at eveything whcih boils over into shouting, fighting and worse at the ebst fo times. This is simply a reaction to a dent in pride or a conditioning that we should get what we want, when we want it. Anger on the other hand isnt something i see often, whcih i believe shows itself in uncontrolable defense of attack mechanism such as verbal or phyisical violence.

    Reply to this comment

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