A strong feeling of annoyance, displeasure, or hostility.
There are several causes of anger and it’s important to know how to understand it and manage it. When something doesn't go our way or feels unfair in life, inevitably many of us can become angry.
You know the feeling of a ‘switch’ that flicks itself on when something happens and all you can feel is an excessive build up of (negative) energy. Muscles tense, hearts race and there’s the urge to do or say something with immediate action. In extreme circumstances, people can shout, break things, do or say things that they may regret in future and more.
In moments like this, I wish I was a monk. But I’m not, and if you’re not either, what we can do is learn how to try and manage ourselves and our reactions when we become angry, while living a normal life so we use our misplaced energy and actions correctly.
There’s a book by Dr. Gary Chapman: Anger: Taming a Powerful Emotion, which highlights that when you’re angry, you should:
If we take the necessary time to keep our anger under control and ask the right questions, we could be closer to a more positive and constructive response. At least more often than never.
keep calm and speak up
Not everyone reacts positively to this idealistic behaviour, even if we were to follow the steps we mentioned here.
Sometimes people can continue to be unfair, rude, hurtful, etc. This is when we should say what we think is fair and if it’s not reciprocated well, we should step away from the situation and make peace with the fact that it was unproductive and ineffective to try and resolve the issue, at least for the time being.
Having said that, it’s important that we do confront some situations. Whether this is done at that moment or at another point in time, soon after the event. We should aim to remain calm and if need be, assertive (not aggressive).
Another approach that could help us calm down is visualisation or meditation, which I'm sure our monk friends would agree with.
Visualising a positive outcome (rather than the worst case scenario) and avoiding a vicious circle of more negative, angry thoughts that could add fuel to an argument, as well as meditating with deep breaths (this could work alongside counting till ten), even for a couple of minutes, can help diffuse the flame inside us.
This obviously takes some time and practice. I have personally felt the positive immediate effects myself (probably just once or twice... but it's a start!)
“Imagine yourself being grounded as the energy passes from you into the earth below and is transformed from negative to positive, from dark to light.” - DailyOm
I don’t believe anger is always wrong and it’s often likely that our values and beliefs have been violated, which is why we react automatically and also when we should decide to do something about it.
Some of the positive outcomes of anger could include:
We’re only human, so as long as we try to manage our natural reactions to external events, we have done our bit.
Maybe even monks get angry, after all, but probably less and they are most likely to be better experienced at dissolving the anger quickly and turning it into positive energy, acceptance and so on.
We just need to decide: when or what we say or react and how.
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