As a person and an entrepreneur, we’ve all been there before. Things can be perfectly normal until an event or a circumstance happens, and then rage takes over. It may be time to utilize a few anger management tips.
“Anybody can be angry; that is easy. But to be angry with the right person and to the right degree and at the right time and for the right purpose and in the right way? That is not within anybody’s power and is not easy.” – Aristotle
You’re driving down the road and listening to your favorite cruising music when suddenly, a vehicle appears from the right side, which is most likely a public utility vehicle; it cuts drastically close and overtakes you. You strain your eyes to see who the driver is from the reflection on his rear view mirror. You see him and he appears to be smiling—the smile of contentment.
You’re at the local mall waiting in line at the nearby ATM. The screening time of The Avengers 2: Age of Ultron is just 10 minutes away, but you still haven’t bought tickets. Your wife and son are waiting anxiously in line. No problem. Only one person is ahead of you, and he is wrapping up his transaction. Then, he pulls out 10 more ATM cards to withdraw for each of his 10 friends.
You’re with your friends at a popular karaoke bar and restaurant. You had a hectic week at work, and you’ve been looking forward to the weekend to unwind.
You’ve consumed a good number of spirits, and everyone is having a great time when someone steps up to the microphone and belts out a cringe-worthy version of My Way that would raise the undead.
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From these events, what do you think is the most probable scenario that will happen next? We’ve seen it posted in social media—episodes of road rage; a man pulls out a gun on the driver with whom he felt insulted and who violated his rights to public space.
A free-for-all erupts in the cinema because the group seated at the back couldn’t just stop talking. A man is stabbed to death in a karaoke bar because he “murdered” My Way.
While science has been divisive on whether smiling or frowning uses up more facial muscles, the fact remains that anger brings out the ugliness in even the most beautiful people.
Who would have thought that the cute-as-a-button, blue-eyed, blond-haired all-American girl who caused eyeballs to pop out of their sockets in the videos such as “Baby One More Time” and “I’m a Slave 4 U” can become a raving, hairless, homicidal lunatic with an umbrella?
There are people who are more temperamental than others, that is, they are roused by anger quicker than normal people. I hesitate to say “natural” because there may be deep-rooted issues on why some people get angry faster than others.
But regardless of the origins of anger behavior, anger can be destructive if not managed properly and the consequences can have far-reaching repercussions.
Here are 20 anger management tips that you can use to control the beast within you:
20 Anger Management Tips
1. Think before you speak
Human beings by nature are quick to judge or react. Judging or reacting is a built-in response when we come across news or meet comments that are disturbing or unfavorable.
But remember that there are always two, even three sides, to every story. Get the facts first, organize your thoughts, and rationalize if a response is even merited.
2. Express your anger
Pent-up emotions create unwanted stored energy that will inevitably seek release. They are similar to the contents of a pressure cooker without a release valve; nothing good will come of it.
It is perfectly fine to voice out or articulate your anger, but choose the right time, venue, and person to whom you will release your anger.
I believe that mind, body, and soul are connected. You need to work on all aspects to find balance in life. Exercise does more than just building muscle and improving health. It helps develop discipline and control.
When you are in control of your body, you will gain control of your mind and emotions. In weight lifting, we learn to channel emotions of anger and stress through a principle called “controlled aggression,” in which all of your energy is applied to overcome fear and, consequently, to move a seemingly immovable object.
Thus, negative energy is converted into positive outcome.
4. Take a break
When you feel the world is against you remember this: It’s not. We all go through periods when nothing seems to go our way. But events are consequences of chain of events and of decisions made not only by us but also by others.
Take a break. Watch a movie. Play ball. Have a Kit-Kat.
Personally, I look for Van Damme or Steven Segal movies on cable. I find these movies a cause of “emotional diarrhea” for the “emotionally distressed.” Remember that the universe does not play favorites.
5. Look for solutions
A client of mine who eventually became one of my best friends and confidante told me, “Whatever it is that you have to do, you should just go do it regardless of whether people will laugh or make fun of you.” If you are in credit card debt and you can’t pay the minimum, call the credit card company and negotiate for terms right away.
If you have to pay your bills, double your efforts to raise income or borrow from people you can trust. Whatever it is that you have to do, do it. The problem will not go away unless you address it directly.
6. Use first-person point of view
If you have anger issues, acknowledge that you have a problem. The worst thing that you can do is to point fingers. Accept that the damage was done by your inability to control your emotions. The first step to redemption is acknowledgement.
Begin your litany of wrongdoings with “I.”
7. Learn to forgive
It is still surprising to me that despite the influence of social media, we still live in a society where forgiveness is seen as an act of weakness. But forgiveness is a power; it is a force that transcends the negativity energy of blame and pride to focus on peace and love, the primary components of the teachings of Christ.
8. Use humor
Why do you think American comedian Jim Carrey became so funny? Carrey admittedly suffered from manic depression and anger issues during his tumultuous years growing up. He channeled his energies into the most unique brand of physical comedy we’ve seen since Jerry Lewis.
If humor worked for Carrey, it will work for you.
9. Practice relaxation skills
We’ve heard of yoga and other breathing techniques as effective relaxation techniques for a good reason: they work. Again, managing anger is all about control. Learn to control your emotions by being in control of your mind and body.
Other relaxation techniques that are proved effective to manage anger include taking a nap, reading a book, and taking short walks to clear your mind.
10. Know when to seek help
The worst thing about anger is what you do with it. If unmitigated, the consequences could be dire. When you see that the scope of damage that your anger inflicts worsens, seek help right away.
Look for a counselor, a trusted family member, or friend. Talk to your parish priest or find crisis centers online.
11. Avoid the news
This is one of two personal anger management tips. Negativity feeds the emotions that influence anger. I’ve stopped watching the news because the networks only report on everything that is ugly with the world today.
I get my updates from the Internet where I have considerable control on what I want to read.
12. Avoid social media
This is the second of two personal anger management tips. Social media gives people a sense of security; it is a virtual platform from where they feel entitled to share their thoughts and opinions.
So, I frequently find my news feed inundated by people who rant about anything—from the neighbor’s cat who turned their lawn into its personal litter box, to politics, religion, and LeBron James.
Sometimes I find these inconsequential and overbearing. Much ado about nothing. With social media, negative energy comes through the virtual plane.
13. Find someone to talk to
Nothing beats unburdening with a trusted friend. This person can be your spouse, your brother, a parent, or a long-time friend. I’ve even unburdened my problems to my 12-year old son.
However, find someone you can trust who will (1) listen and (2) tell you what you need to hear not what you want to hear.
14. Get a pet
Growing up, I had four siblings and 30 cats. As the youngest in the family, I preferred going to my cats for emotional support. Animals act on instinct, and they are highly sensitive to emotions.
Although they can’t speak a human dialect, the language of love is universal even in the animal kingdom. Your pet will love you unconditionally.
15. Learn a new hobby
When you develop a new skill or talent, your belief in yourself is reinforced and self-confidence is formed. A new skill or talent gives you a new avenue to channel needless negative energy from anger into something productive.
For me, guitar became the best way to release my emotions. How you feel cascades from your heart to your mind then down to your fingertips. With music, anger is transformed from something brutish into a beautiful work of art.
16. Understand the consequences
When he was loading groceries into his car with his wife, UFC Lightweight fighter Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone was unexpectedly punched in the mouth by a complete stranger. Cerrone who is an accomplished mixed martial artist could have easily dispatched the attacker with one strike but chose not to.
The consequences of his response would have been more damaging to him and his family.
Sometimes we feel that when we are wronged and that we have to make things right. But we should never take things into our own hands because there are laws that govern our actions.
17. Reflect on the Biblical verse,
“He who is without sin . . .” Before you take the high road, ask yourself if you have not been guilty of committing the same offense or if you have not wronged a neighbor the same way a neighbor had just wronged you.
It’s easy to judge others because often, we don’t look at ourselves. It’s always better to just walk away.
18. Rationalize the purpose
When someone cuts you on the road, would you know the reason why? If someone transacted on 10 other ATMs, would you know the reason why? If someone chose to sing My Way on karaoke night, would you know the reason why?
Chances are, you would have not known that the car carried the driver’s pregnant wife who is about to give birth, that the 10 ATM withdrawals would be used to pay for immediate hospitalization, or that My Way was the favorite song of the recently deceased father of the singer. When you choose to become angry first, knowing the reasons for their actions would have been too late.
19. Remember that anger devalues you
I had a friend who made it a point to express anger toward a subordinate during meetings. I asked him, “Why do you need to smash your fist on the table to convey a point? Why do you need to shout at your assistant in front of others? Do you think doing so makes you look good and earn you respect?”
On the contrary, doing these things accentuated his insecurities and made people respect him less. Anger offers you no benefit in whatever shape, form, or content.
20. Rediscover your values
If these don’t work, rediscover your values. Find out what has made you who you are, and then embrace them. Understand that you are not perfect; no one is. Understand also that you will fail and make mistakes throughout the rest of your life.
Your imperfection is what makes you perfect because it allows you to acknowledge everything that qualifies you as a member of the human race.
Anger is natural; it is part of having healthy behavioral patterns just like happiness, sadness, and excitement. It is perfectly natural to express anger when you feel that you’ve been wronged.
The feeling of anger is not the problem; it’s how you manifest it.
These 20 anger management tips are just a short-list of other techniques you can use. But by all means, use any combination of them because at the end, there is nothing positive that can be taken out of an outcome preceded by anger. All that would be left are regret, remorse, and embarrassment.