Updated: Aug 17, 2020
Anger is a poison that destroys the human possessing it. We all experience this negative emotion of anger at some point or the other. Some of us experience it more often than others. The magnitude and frequency may differ. However, anger management is required for everyone. Do not be under the presumption that you don’t need it. One may be a cordial and calm human being on most occasions, and that is great. But, what happens when we lose control of our mental equilibrium. No one is completely immune to this emotion. And hence, anger management is not an option, but a requirement.
Why anger management and not anger elimination?
We all may have heard this term anger management several times, but what does it really mean? Simply put, it means learning to manage your anger. Some may argue that if anger is such a dangerous emotion why just manage it, can’t we eliminate it altogether? While that may sound like a straight forward solution, is it really possible to completely eliminate something from our lives. Maybe it is, but it requires getting to the root of the problem.
Let us take the analogy of a tree.
Think of a tree and its outgrowing branches. When you see its branches and leaves getting out of control, we trim it. In other words, we manage it. They grow out again, we trim it again. If we leave it just the way it is, it may get out of control and cause a nuisance to its surroundings. So we learn to not ignore it but to manage it, in order to keep it under control. But if you uproot the same tree from its roots, it is gone forever. The so-called ‘problem’ will have been eliminated altogether.
Anger Management - Getting to the root of the problem...
If you really want to eliminate something from your life, you have to get to the root of the problem. And this journey of getting to the root of something may be a long and arduous one. So what does one do in the meantime? - We learn to manage it. Managing something helps to keep things under control. It helps us to avoid unnecessary nuisance and problems. We all know that if anything is left unchecked, it will get out of control. Once things get out of control, it may not be completely possible to get it back to how it was. Hence, anger management!
How does one learn the art of anger management?
Learning to manage anger starts with noticing it. Notice anger the moment it arises. It is indeed easy to do that. Your breath is the first to get affected. You will notice your breath becoming rapid and erratic. This manner of breathing in turn will not supply sufficient oxygen to your brain. When the brain is deprived of this holy grail, it fails to function normally. You will find yourself unable to control your emotions, think logically, or even stay calm. The resultant effect is regrettable words, actions, and behavior. If we’re lucky enough, we can escape the damage done by our anger. But is luck really what we need to rely on when it comes to anger?
How to manage your anger?
So the first step is clear, you’ve noticed anger. You know what happens to your breath when you get angry and the consequent effects of erratic and shallow breathing. If you thought ‘take a deep breath’ or ‘relax, just breathe” was just another cliché, think again. Taking deep breaths alone can help you prevent the damage that shallow breathing can cause. In fact, not just anger, whenever any negative emotion consumes us, it is the breath that first gets affected by it. And what follows next, is something we’re all familiar with. So practice deep breathing as often as you can and more importantly when you get angry. Or, are about to get angry.
Next, you must own your anger.
Another important element of anger management is learning to own your anger. Of course, what we all think is that the reason for our anger is another ‘idiot’. And we are the innocent victims here who have to succumb to anger because of some ‘idiot’. Sometimes not just another person, but an absolutely unrelated, non-living thing can also be the cause of our anger. But aren’t all these excuses an oxygen-deprived brain forces you to presume. Learn to own your anger. You are the only person responsible for your anger. No one and nothing else can do that to you. Unless you have outsourced your power externally to someone or something else. But wouldn’t that be a foolish thing to do?
Most important tool for anger management - Break up with your ego
Owning up your anger will require tremendous humility on your part. But, if ego dominates your personality, humility will get defeated in this war. Acknowledge that maybe we need help if we’re unable to practice the art of anger management by ourselves. Maybe just a few life counseling sessions, will help you to see things with more clarity. We may then be able to recognize our ego and exchange it for humility instead. A humble person knows when to stand up for himself and when to let go. The journey of anger management will then get easier and who knows, we may even reach the stage of anger elimination after all!