Why Managing Anger Is Good for Your Health
If we bottle up our anger then sooner or later there will be an explosion of rage, and with it will come words that we’ll later regret. Managing anger is always the healthier, more logical and more practical option, rather than falling into meaningless discussions.
We know that on the face of it, this advice may seem easy, naive and even too obvious. We say this for a very specific reason: Managing negative emotions such as anger or rage is our Achilles’ heel. In fact, there are no shortage of those who walk around today with their adult attire and head held high, while inside they have the emotional maturity of a 4 year old child.
“Anyone can get angry, that’s easy. But to be angry with the right person, in the right measure, at the right time, for the right purpose, and on the right path, is not easy “
– Aristotle –
Furthermore, we must bear in mind that anger has its repercussions not only in the world of emotions. Our language and our cognition are also affected by these conflicting, sharp feelings filled with frustration. And there are many who store these feelings inside them and yet manage to cover them up well.
But slowly, day by day, this lethal virus wreaks havoc. Communication becomes aggressive, treatment becomes unequal, self-esteem falls, blackmail appears, as do the emotional ups and downs and even those psychosomatic disorders where the body itself shows the unrest of the mind.
Here’s how to deal with this common problem:
The anger inside me that you can’t see
In order to understand how and in what way the realm of anger is part of our daily life we are going to start with a very simple example. Amelia has had a bad day at work. She arrives home late for dinner and when she enters the house, Jaime, her partner, tells her that he’s going out because he’s arranged to meet up with some friends. Before leaving, however, he asks if she is okay with it or if she would prefer him to stay with her. Amelia says that it doesn’t matter, and adds “do whatever you want, there’s no problem“.
The next morning, Amelia cannot help but feel the painful sting of anger. She feels bad because her partner wasn’t able to see she had had a bad day, nor her depression and the despair in her face. Now, she is even more upset, because, at breakfast, Jaime couldn’t see her apathy, nor the shadow of anger that surrounded her like a wounded and caged animal.
Possibly this situation could have been avoided if Amelia had explained to Jaime that she had had a bad day – that she was not feeling good, felt broken and needed his support. However, sometimes circumstances become difficult, doubts appear and we are desperate for others to understand, almost without words, what is hurting us.
On the other hand, this situation is also justified by a very specific fact that comes directly from everything we have been taught since childhood: “control, conceal, appear normal.” Self-control is possibly the most misunderstood dimension in the field of Emotional Intelligence.
No one can control something that they don’t understand by at all, just because people expect you to. You cannot put a lion in a cage if you don’t first understand its needs and its nature. It is obvious that we can’t go around the world roaring and showing our teeth, but we can be sincere. We can just simply say “no, I’m not feeling good, I had a really bad day today“.
Learning how to manage anger before it’s too late
A small unmanaged and unresolved seed of anger can lead to big problems, bad experiences and a bad atmosphere that will spread its poison day by day. The eternally angry person leaves a deep impact in the family and working environment. They are walking black holes that leave an unpleasant aftermath and that break the peace.
“There is no better battle than that in which we finally understand ourselves”
Here are some simple keys to think about that will help us to prevent and mitigate the impact of this day-to-day anger.
5 Keys to Managing Anger
The first step may go against what we have always been taught. We must understand that anger is not a bad thing, that rage is not something that we should always choke back. We need to take a positive attitude to it: it is an alarm bell, a sign we must take heed of, understand and resolve.
- To feel anger for a specific situation is something normal and even necessary. This is how we deploy our defense mechanisms, as well as defending our truths, our needs and values. Yes, anger has a constructive purpose, which is none other than to resolve a situation of personal conflict.
- The second step is to become aware of our level of agitation. When we feel on edge, and anger is controlling us, it will be very difficult to reason in a normal way and make constructive decisions. We must breathe deeply, recover our composure and clear our minds …
- The next strategy we should put into practice is something more complex: we must examine our emotional conflict. What’s really bothering me? What’s hurting me and why? Who is being undermined here? To what extent am I responsible?
Finally, having made the priorities clear, we will set in motion the most important one. Something that takes time to learn but that we need to practice daily: assertive communication. Because to speak about and to resolve a misunderstanding or a situation of opposing ideas doesn’t have to harm the other person.
Let us learn therefore to be good managers of our negative emotions, let’s understand that to communicate is to reach an agreement, stating our case with respect but at the same time being able to build bridges to help us to live in harmony.