One day, you are mid-conversation with someone when suddenly a nagging feeling in your head causes you to lash out at someone unintentionally. Has this happened to you? Well, you’re not alone as you may be going through some internal issues of anger. It takes even the best of us by surprise but it is important to be self-aware about these emotions before we can learn to control them.
Anger is an emotion everyone experiences. It is part of the multiple moods we go through as we go through the motions in our daily lives. It can stem from the simplest of things, both internally and externally. From a small bump from a stranger on the sidewalk to a friend saying something insensitive, these are feelings that we have to confront, regardless if we express these said feelings outwardly or not. Below are five useful tips you can take to heart to improve on yourself and your relationships.
Pause before saying or doing anything
We see it everywhere, whether it’s movies or tv shows, where the main character says or does things out spite which hinders their relationship’s progress towards resolution. In the end, the characters make up…but in reality, it is very different. It is vital that we take time to process our emotions and the sources of them so that things can be resolved with clarity rather than malice. Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits for Effective Teens provides a short but nuanced point on this by saying, be proactive not reactive. Humans generally like to complicate things, and when we are mad at someone or something, there is a tendency to take into account things that don’t necessarily factor into the state we are in. It is a must for simplicity that you learn to take a step back from the situation and decipher the anger, instead of letting it all explode at once.
Once you’ve taken a step back, express yourself in a self-assured yet amicable manner
Everyone has a right to their feelings; it is our birthright as human beings. However, the reality people can sometimes forget is that life is all about the give n’ take. The fact is, regardless of who or why we are mad, we must always have avenues to express ourselves. If you’re mad at someone, express it in a neutral and non-aggressive atmosphere. If you’re not mad at someone or can’t express it to them, an alternative can be a confidant you trust or a diary or journal. Regardless, being able to put said feelings into words is an important step because it helps create perspective. When you read what you’ve written or listen to your friend after he or she has listened to your rants, you see yourself reflected back in a manner that gives you newfound clarity. It is easier to be at peace with your emotions if there is self-awareness in your mentality and actions.
After understanding the cause, focus on the solution
This is where the phrase from the Serenity Prayer comes in, “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.” Especially in our personal and romantic relationships, it is important to be solution-oriented as resentment does no one favors. After talking and reflecting on your reasons to be angry, the next step should always be the acceptance of the events that transpired and looking into the future and how to move forward from it. Forgiveness of one’s self as well as others is a skill that people severely under rate in today’s internet age and the cancel culture that comes with it. Having what it takes to make amends with someone or something and focus on what’s next takes a lot of strength, and a lot of strength can be gained from it as well.
Be cognizant of your flaws and issues to improve yourself in situations where you get angry
It has been said that self-awareness is the first step to being better. Some people say it’s the most important one, but we should remember it is not the only step. Once you start realizing how you are being angry, the next part of your development should be knowing how to control the situation so that when these feelings arise once again, you are in control. The goal is to process and release anger in a healthy manner, which involves not hurting anyone, including yourself. It is a constant cycle of trial, error, and learning that requires constant reflection, but it is better for your personal growth and your relationships in the long run.
Know when to get help
Each person grows up and goes through various circumstances, so how we act and see the world is shaped differently. That being said, there is no fault in saying that you need help. When this happens, make sure to go through the proper channels and acknowledge you need extra assistance in improvement and take the proper classes.
Anger is an emotion that affects people in different ways. The answers are not in one doctor, book or article. It is a journey that requires a lot of self-reflection and help if needed and that is perfectly normal. The most important thing to remember is that regardless of how well we are with people or how well we do in life, there will always be things we can’t control. Everyday there will be things that will happen regardless of how you act and they will not always go your way. This is when these tips come in as it focuses on what YOU can do in situations you feel you just want to lash out in justifiable (or not) rage.
So, the next time you find yourself bubbling in anger, about to burst…remember these steps and go through the motions. Mindfulness of your actions is the difference maker in coming out of anger in a positive manner.
Terri is the founder of Brain Wellness Spa and Quantum Neuro Recoding (QNR), a proprietary treatment that has helped 1000s of mental health sufferers break free.