In a previous post, ‘What Do I Do with This Anger?’ I talked about the repressed anger I was feeling that manifested itself into depression. That post has led me to do a deeper dive into this very common, and often misunderstood emotion. Let’s begin here…
What is anger?
The dictionary definition of anger is, “a strong feeling of annoyance, displeasure, or hostility.”
To expand on that, I really liked how anger was described in this article from betterhelp.com:
“It’s important to note that anger is a normal, universal human emotion. There are a series of instances and events in life which can cause someone to become angry. Typically, anger arises when someone feels threatened, disturbed, or otherwise interrupted from a peaceful emotional state. Anger can also be combined with other emotions, such as jealousy, sadness, or hopelessness.”
I also appreciate this statement, “Anger isn’t a bad emotion; however, when someone isn’t able to manage their anger in an appropriate way, bad things can happen.” This is an important point, distinguishing the difference between the emotion, and the response we have to this emotion.
I believe this is especially important for women, since we often feel compelled to suppress our anger for fear of hurting someones feelings, or being labeled as ‘that angry woman who’s so emotional.’ It’s very frustrating to have a justifiable reason to be angry, but instead of being heard, we’re judged on the emotions we have and how we express them.
So how do we (men and women) manage our anger?
There’s no shortage of expert writing on how to manage anger, or as it’s more commonly known, anger management. Just look at this screen shot of a quick Google search I did…
5 steps, 12 steps, 6 steps… I mean that’s a lot of stepping! How does someone choose which one to follow?
After a lot of searching, here are 5 anger management tips that make the most sense to me:
- Identifying triggers and warning signs. For me, a warning sign comes in the form of feeling frustrated. That’s my step one on the road to getting angry.
- Talk to someone who is a good listener. Luckily there are a few calm and patient people in my life who don’t mind listening to my rants and validating how a feel. Of course professional help is always and option too.
- Get physically active. Try breathing exercises, walking or working out. This works for me, especially when I’m really angry. I’ll exercise so hard that I’m too tired to be angry any more. Is that weird?
- Stop and count to ten. And that doesn’t mean count by fives… five, ten! 😆 This is an old one I’ve heard for as long as I can remember, but it does work!
- Reframe our thinking. Okay, I didn’t just lose my job, I received an opportunity to practice creative money management! 🙄 But seriously, this one really does help!
For me, it’s getting easier to manage my angry feelings as I get older. Maybe with maturity, things don’t bother me as much as they used to, which the people around me will be glad to hear I’m sure!
And that’s not to say there’s no upside to anger. Sometimes righteous anger can prompt us to get involved in correcting things that are not right or unjust. I’m thinking MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Drivers). Also, many civil rights movements began with people getting angry at the unjust way they were being treated.
Leave a comment below if you have any anger management struggles or success stories you’d like to share.
Take care. ❤️