Anger is a really fascinating emotion. On one level, it is highly unpleasant and destructive. When you are angry, your heartbeat rises and your eyelids may twitch. The adrenaline kicks in and you are in a fight-or-flight response. On another level, your senses are heightened; your voice grows louder, and your reactions become faster.
If you’ve ever been angry before, you know that there are just two elements that make up anger: energy and unpleasantness. When you are angry, you are energetic. Your energy level becomes intensified. The only problem is that when you are angry you are highly toxic and unpleasant to be around. You whine, complain, cry, yell, and do all sorts of shenanigans to express your frustrations.
However, anger doesn’t subside. It stays within you waiting for the right moment to strike. We know that being angry is unhealthy. Science has shown us that when you are angry, you are literally poisoning your own body.
If we know all this is true just by evaluating ourselves when we are angry, then why do people still get angry?
I’m afraid the answer is really simple. Anger is a reactionary response for most people. People indirectly choose to be angry; it is an unconscious reaction. What this means is that anger is happening accidentally without your consent. If outside situations are good, you are good. If outside situations are bad, you are bad.
For example, if you are stuck in traffic, you would whine and cry about your situation. Anger would be your constant companion. The only reason you react like this is because you labeled traffic as a bad situation. And you’ve allowed this so-called bad situation to determine your inner state. You’ve allowed the situation to empower your anger by unconsciously feeding it with negative thoughts.
On another hand, you could look at traffic differently. If you were located a hundred feet above in the air looking down at the traffic, wouldn’t the view be beautiful? There would be a bunch of cars lining up in unison, stretching endlessly into the distance. Different shapes of cars, and varying lights would create a cohesive, spectacular setting. You can use your imagination to create this imagery.
In truth, you are not stuck in traffic. You are traffic. You are a part of it. Where is the need to be angry? If you are like me, an hour-long traffic would just be an hour-long, fun karaoke session in the car. There is absolutely nothing to be angry over.
What I just give is an example on how to deal with anger in a specific case. However, this method is applicable towards any situation.
Strategies to Deal with Anger
There are many ways you can deal with anger. A very common way to deal with anger is to remove the stimulus. If you remove stimulus, there would be no response from you. This is just a fancy way of saying remove yourself from situations that make you angry.
If you don’t engage in situations that make you angry, you cannot get angry. However, many times it is impossible to fully remove yourself from certain situations. If this happens, what you can do next is to delay the response.
When we are angry, we are in an excited state of unhappiness. It is one thing to be unhappy. It is another to be in an energetic state of unhappiness. If you are just unhappy, you wouldn’t be angry. When you are angry or when someone makes you angry, take 24 hours to get back to them. Use this waiting period to allow the energy in your anger to dissipate.
This is important because when you are angry, there is a lot of energy in your anger. If you respond right away to situations, all you end up doing is allowing the emotion to take control of you. You may end up doing more harm to others and yourself.
If you’ve noticed anything, this strategy is pretty much ignoring anger. You ignore anything that makes you angry because you understand that anger is just an unintelligent way of expression in any situation.
If you wait out the anger, you would notice that the anger is lessen in intensity or might not even be there anymore. The thing about being angry is that people cannot be angry for long. If you are always angry, you would be dead.
When you are angry, your blood pressure increases. If you are angry all the time, you can even get a stroke or a heart attack. This highly unpleasant state is unable to sustain itself for long. It goes away if you give it time.
It is understandable that when you are angry, ignoring or suppressing it can only help temporarily. What people really want when they are angry is relief from something they cannot hold within themselves.
When anger reaches a critical point, it blows up like a bomb. There is an outburst of negativity because people cannot contain their anger within themselves any longer. They want to blow off some steam and expel all that energy.
Perhaps you believe that it is your right to throw tantrums. This is fine. You can do that. It does help alleviate the anger. However, be aware of the consequences that come with it. It works, but that doesn’t mean this strategy is intelligent at all.
When you release anger through negative means such as yelling, complaining, or whining; what you end up doing is releasing anger into the world. You may be relieved temporary, but others will be affected by you.
Worst of all, you may become addicted to this form of expressing anger. If you feel good from releasing anger this way, you may be duped to believe that there is no harm done to anyone else. You become unaware of your actions.
In truth, there are endless strategies you can come up with to deal with anger. You can exercise to deal with anger. You can join an anger management program to deal with anger. You can redirect anger and transform it into motivation. Anything is possible.
However, if you truly want to live a life without anger, then the best path to take is mastery over yourself.
Take Control of Yourself
Anger is not an entity in existence that you have to avoid. It is not something that you have to conquer. You become angry. So if you want to live a life without anger, you simply choose to not be angry. That is all you have to do.
People don’t understand this. Most of the time, our minds are not even taking instructions from ourselves. If you believe that your mind is taking instructions from you, then would you ever choose to be angry at someone? You would not.
Let me give you a scenario for example. If you come into work today and your boss lays down a new rule where phones are banned, everyone would protest. If your boss goes further and says that everyone must come to work at 5 am in the morning or no food or drinks are allowed at work, you would go mad. If he lays down a dozen of these new rules, you will believe that your boss is trying to convert you into a slave. You would protest and fight for your freedom.
If you feel like a slave by taking instructions from other people around you, how would you feel if someone or some event determines what should happen within you? Something determines if you should be angry or not, is this not slavery? This is the worst kind of slavery.
Life will never happen the way that you want it to. This is a fact. We don’t have full control over the external aspects of our lives. What we do have is 100% control over what happens within us.
No I am not talking about having control over each individual cells, organs, etc. These operate under a natural law with or without our consent. What I am talking about is our ability to respond. If there are infinite interpretations of how we can respond to external events, don’t you think it is extremely limiting just responding with anger?
If nothing on the outside is happening the way that I want it, at the very least what happens within me should happen the way that I want it to right? Yes, this is exactly what I am trying to get at.
We all know that anger is unpleasant. If we are conscious, we would never choose anger as a way to respond to anything. It is not helpful for us in living our lives. If you ever felt anger, then you know this is true. You don’t need to abide by some esoteric principles or ideologies to know that anger is a terrible way to react to any situation.
If you know this, you would understand that you don’t have to deal with anger. Why would you have to deal with something when you can simply choose not to participate in it? This is a simple choice you can make because you have that power.