As a growing girl I was tutored by my mother to avoid displaying emotions like laughing loudly, jumping up in joy and showing aggression of any kind in public. I was discouraged to act on my feelings and let it all hang out. Be a Lady, I was told. Even the school where I studied was a convent run by Irish nuns and we girls were expected to act poised and in control all the time.
Perhaps I missed the point somewhere in all this Jane Erye-ish disciplining, and did not learn how to deal with my anger. Instead of managing it I learned to suppress it. When I felt angry or was at the receiving end of anger I had no clue what to do, except become absolutely quiet, seethe secretly, bottle it up and then let it dissipate with time. The best I could do was to burst into angry tears and that made the matters worse.
Later I realized that there is a delicate balance between emotional literacy and repression of powerful feelings, and I learned to manage my anger in a better way. During this learning phase, one interesting thing that I discovered was this: If we are frightened of our anger then we lose control of it. By acknowledging it, we are taking responsibility for its expression and we learn to have some control over how we express it.
Here are 10 steps to managing your anger more effectively:
- Clear the air.
- Express your rage safely, and as soon as you can.
- Don’t store it up as resentment.
- Respect yourself and others.
- Stand your ground and ask for exactly what you want.
- Don’t expect other people to be mind readers.
- Find the true target of your anger.
- Take responsibility for your own life and happiness.
- Practice clean anger, without putting the blame on the other person.
- Practice deep breathing: Press one nostril with index finger; inhale slowly from the other; hold breath for ten seconds; exhale from the other nostril. Repeat ten times, with both the nostrils.
Anger often feels like a roller coaster ride and we end up feeling all shaken up and dizzy. We need to come down; be level. A quiet walk, if possible near a river or cluster of trees, is very effective. Another option is to imagine yourself coming down a stone staircase leading down a mountain.
With each descending step, you are getting closer to your normal state.
Someone wisely said, “Anger if managed wisely, it is one of the greatest teachers in the pursuit of emotional intelligence. Being able to express our anger safely, assertively and effectively means that we have more choices in a situation.”
The second task is helpful in calming you down, after you have been angry. Anger often feels like a roller coaster ride and we end up feeling all shaken up and dizzy. We need to come down; be level. A quiet walk, if possible near a river or cluster of trees, is very effective. Another option is to imagine yourself coming down a stone staircase leading down a mountain. With each descending step, you are getting closer to your normal state.
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