How Do I Control Anger?

If you think that you have an anger problem, that it is harmful to be angry, or if you show harmful emotional and physical reactions to those around you during anger, we must first know what to correct in order to correct these thoughts and behaviors. Therefore, first of all, what is anger and how does it arise? Let’s examine it together.

Anger is also included in our emotions such as joy, sadness, excitement. Anger is a strong emotion that leads a person to remove the irritating stimuli. It activates to protect us from external dangers, it must exist to defend ourselves. A person who never gets angry is unthinkable and it is not healthy to be. Because, as we have just mentioned, if a person cannot protect himself, he will be cut off from life. In addition to these features, it also has positive motivational and goal-directing features. Of course, in order to use anger positively in this direction, we need to be able to manage it in a healthy way. Before I talk about how we can do this, I would like to touch on the known misconceptions (myths) about anger in society. Because these mistakes create great obstacles in controlling our anger.

Myths about anger

  1. Anger is hereditary.

  • The way of expressing anger is a learned state, not a genetically transmitted state.

  1. Anger automatically leads to aggression.

  • Being angry and acting aggressively is a choice. Healthy ways of expressing anger can be used.

  1. People have to be aggressive/angry to get what they want.

  • Aggression should not be confused with aggression. Aggressive behaviors create fear or more anger in the other party, while assertive behaviors are positively accepted by the other party.

  1. It’s always acceptable to vent anger outright.

  • Getting used to venting anger without getting it under control leads to getting better and better at anger.

In the light of this information, we have seen more clearly that it is normal to be angry, but the way we express it can harm us and our environment.

It gives us some clues to deal with anger before it arises. These;

  • Physical cues: our body’s responses. Acceleration in heartbeat, chest tightness, sweating, nausea, etc.

  • Behavioral cues are our actions that can be observed from the outside. Clenching fists, slamming the door, raising the volume, etc.

  • Emotional cues: other emotions that come out with anger. Fearful, guilty, humiliated, impatient, rejected, insecure, jealous, etc.

  • Cognitive clues are thoughts that occur in response to the anger-inducing situation. It can be in the form of critical and hostile self-talk. It consists of our own comments.

It appears in the form. We can also say that the features seen in the rise period, which is the first of the 3 stages of anger. When we realize these, we need to calm ourselves in alternative ways and prevent the transition to the second phase, the explosion phase. If the explosion stage cannot be avoided, we have to suffer the consequences of the third stage, the post-explosion. This too can be devastating.

Of course, these calming practices are not in the form of suppressing or ignoring anger. Because such methods cause anger to feed and grow within us. Thus, the anger that is not reflected outside eats us inside or it accumulates again and comes to an explosion stage. What we really mean is about truly overcoming anger, removing inner anger and tension. We must be able to recognize, understand and express our anger correctly. So how do we do all this?

At this point, it is necessary to talk about the triad of thought, behavior and emotion. Although the three are different things, they are closely connected to each other. Our thoughts affect our behavior and feelings, our behavior affects our thoughts and feelings, and our feelings affect our thoughts and behaviors. The easiest thing we can do to get out of this deadlock and change some of our feelings and behaviors is to change our thoughts and let them affect our behaviors and emotions. Let’s see more clearly how it will be with an example. While talking to your friend about a joint business, you thought he had said something condescending to you, and you felt angry and humiliated, and then you started to blush and your voice rose. In this case, what you can change is very difficult to blush, and trying to control your emotions will cause you to disconnect from that moment. But if you can control what you think, your other reactions will subside by themselves. What your friend means may not be as condescending as you perceive it to be. Here we see how our perceptions actually guide us. The human brain tends to make such negative automatic perceptions according to their experiences. Our negative perceptions also cause us to behave negatively.

After comprehending all these, first of all, what kind of behaviors do we exhibit when we get angry? / What are our methods of dealing with anger? We need to clear these up. Next, we need to discover new strategies for dealing with anger. Some of those;

  • Talking to a friend: sharing the upsetting event with an off-topic friend or close person.

  • Taking a break: stepping away when you are angry will prevent you from exploding, but it should be used in conjunction with other strategies, not alone.

  • Self-talk: having positive self-talk will calm you down.

  • Counting to yourself: the goal is to put distance between you and the problem. Count as much as it feels good to you.

  • Keeping a diary, writing letters: writing down your feelings with complete honesty will allow you to look at the situation objectively and understand why you are angry.

  • Relaxation exercises: you can use breathing exercises, muscle relaxation exercises, calming down by thinking about yourself in a good moment, and exercises such as walking, sports.

We have listed some methods that you can use in anger. However, not all of them are suitable for every anger situation. This is because there are 2 types of anger. 1) Constant anger: Some individuals are more prone to anger and have difficulty controlling their anger at the slightest obstacle. Because anger becomes a way of life, they sometimes don’t even realize they’re getting angry. 2) State anger: It is the type of anger that accumulates over time and emerges suddenly. They can be caused by resentment, suffering, frustration, hurt, and unmet expectations. If we understand how we express our anger after recognizing the type of anger in ourselves, we can use coping strategies more effectively.

The ways of expressing anger are divided into three. 1) Anger turns inward: it is very difficult to express the anger that has accumulated inside. 2) Anger outward: frequent outbursts of anger. 3) Controlling anger: expressing anger correctly.

When you say correct expression, effective use of communication skills comes to mind. Because poor communication skills lead to various problems and misunderstandings. Communication is made with verbal and non-verbal elements. The words we choose, the tone and height of our voice are in verbal expressions; our gestures, facial expressions and body language are included in non-verbal expressions. The imbalance of these two also causes problems in communication. There is another important element in communication. It’s also effective listening. Listening and hearing are not the same thing, so we need to focus properly. Not every listener perceives the same thing, so we talked about how important our perception and thoughts are. Listening is something that can be learned, a skill that develops when you summarize what you have heard and ask questions for information. And of course, it is very important to use “I language” in communication. When you form sentences that start and end with I, you feel relieved because you take responsibility for your thoughts and can explain what kind of process you are going through. In addition, since you do not make an accusation to the other party, he does not get defensive, so he can understand you more clearly and make the necessary explanation.

Finally, we need to develop our ability to control the conflict situation. So why do conflicts arise? We have three reasons. 1) Limited Resources: consists of the lack of limited resources that exist in nature. It can be limited to money and goods. 2) Unmet Basic Needs: these are belonging (love, sharing, and collaboration with others), power (achieve success, completion, respect), freedom (making your own choices), fun (doing funny activities). 3) Different Values: can be defined as different beliefs, priorities and principles that people have. They are the most difficult sources of conflict to resolve.

Reactions to the conflict situation take place in 3 ways.

  1. Avoidance: consists of immersion, ignoring, and denial.

  2. Fighting: they are the harshest reactions shown. Threats, aggression, etc.

  3. Problem solving: based on understanding and respect.

Think about your last conflict.

What was the problem?

How did you feel about it?

What was the effect and outcome of the problem?

If you don’t solve this problem, will it cause feelings of anger?

How would you like the problem to be solved?

When you find the answers to these questions in your own life, you can overcome your conflicts with less damage and you can control your anger more easily. But remember that not every conflict can be resolved. Sometimes even trying to solve can bring results. You even feel great relief from expressing your emotions correctly.

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