If you are patient in one moment of anger, you will escape one hundred days of sorrow. Chinese Proverb
When do you usually get angry? Is it when things don’t go as expected? What if you had no previous expectations? Could this be a possibility? Does getting angry change the situation in any way?
If you create as a rule for your life “I get angry any time when someone does not do what I ask/demand/expect/request of them”, guess what? You will most probably get angry quite often since other people also have their own rules. As human beings, we might do more of the things we actually want to do than of the things that could make others happy.
The point I am trying to underline is this: if getting angry depends on it always being sunny, on other people’s behaviour, on your neighbour not stealing your newspaper anymore, chances are that all the things that are getting your annoyed will not change so that you can be happy.
Ask yourself, is there something that I (emphasis on “I”) could do so as to not get angry?
Here are some tips on anger management:
1. It’s not about what happened, it’s about how you go about it
The problem is not the problem. The way you act in a stressful situation is the actual issue here. Things happen. You want it or not, they still happen. So, the next time a car is cutting your way or your colleague has the last cup and does not fill the coffee machine remember this: you can either be resentful, boil with anger and call them names or you can create a different behaviour. You could also just laugh or say “What the heck!”
2. Decide not to get angry
Create this rule for yourself “I will not get angry.” Please do not understand this as suppressing your anger and becoming little by little more and more filled with negative emotions until you burst. Once you make this decision, when you feel that resentment is presenting itself in its Sunday clothes and asking you to dance, acknowledge its presence and politely decline.
3. What got you angry in the first place?
Now, I know, when you specifically told someone over and over again, to stop placing the butter knife inside the fridge and the situation is still occurring, you start taking it personally. It must be that this person is consciously committed to making you lose it, isn’t it? Or maybe not… This is the perfect moment to just breathe and tell yourself “This might actually have nothing to do with me!” Go back to what got you angry in the first place. Is it really that important? Is it possible that this person is also human and has her thoughts and emotions and maybe she’s just acting out of a habit?
4. Act mindfully
If you want to talk about what is getting you all hot under the collar, try to cool off a tad before you do so. Look at your thoughts. Observe them. Translate them into words that are not attacking or placing judgement. Talk about facts, not their interpretation. Speak about your feelings without making the other responsible for them.
5. Meditate on a regular basis
Anger is a human emotion. Suppressing it will not be helpful in the long run. It will just transform into something big, hideous and with a lot of dreadful and scary heads. What is actually helpful is to acknowledge your anger and let go of it.
Also, try to not meditate when you are angry. Better go for a run or have a warm shower and then meditate. At the beginning of the meditation session, sit in a calm and peaceful place. Breathe deeply. Imagine that you breathe in calmness from your environment. With every breath out, feel that you are letting go of your anger, anxieties, negative emotions. Do this until you feel you are fully and completely relaxed and let go of everything that might have been bothering you. So as to calm your mind, you can also repeat a mantra “I am free from my emotions. I am at peace.”
6. Release the suppressed anger
Anger accumulates in the body and in the mind. And it can get the best of you. Slowly releasing anger on a regular basis could prove to be very helpful. Go out running! Do all sorts of sports or practise yoga! Invest your energy generated by your anger into physical activities and let it out of your body and mind.
Practising mindfulness and meditation with regularity will benefit you in two ways. Firstly, it will help you not act on your anger. You might even get used to not feeling anger anymore or you might feel it, but just not become it. If you do feel angry, by all means, do not try to push it away. Make use of it constructively, channel it to create, to grow, to make good things happen. Look into your anger, observe it, explore it, without acting from this anger place. You can accept it as a part of you and slowly let it dissipate into the outer world.