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Notice your anger

March 07, 2012    Leave a comment

by Sandra Bagdonaite-Jankauskiene

There are people who can't control their anger. Others - contrarily try to repress it. In both cases many problems can arise. Immediately expressed anger can cause to lose your job or close relationship. Suppressed anger might cause depression or physical illness. So it is important to know how adequately to deal with this emotion that is often thought to be bad by a society. The first step is to be aware when you get angry and how it affects you. When you learn to notice this, it is easier to stop and think before immediately expressing (acting) or repressing anger. So let see how anger affects us. 

Our body reacts firstly when we get angry, so it informs us about being angry. The phrases - „to be blue in the face" or „to burst a blood vessel"- which is used in everyday language reveals what is happening in our physiological system: increases blood pressure, heart rate, muscular pressure, concentration of adrenaline and noradrenaline (energetic agent) in a blood. So our face or neck area might get red, we feel a rush of energy, our movements become stronger and faster.  Then we are ready to do big tasks in a short period of time, we are ready to fight or to defend ourselves. All these are body signs that can help us to be aware of becoming angry.  

When we are better prepared for flight or fight, we are less capable of objectivity. Our attention becomes sharper for the signs related to the source of anger. If we had an argument with our husband that is still not solved, every detail which is related to our husband - dropped socks, an unwashed cup, the unpleasant tone of voice - can become a new trigger of the conflict. So if somebody is telling you that you are looking for trouble, ask yourself what are you angry about?

Relating to others is not likely to work well, so this is another sign of being angry. We can find ourselves trying to contradict, object, rebuke (reproach). Partnership might become a game of power. The anger itself already shows that one of our important needs was not satisfied - we are weak, we lost. So usually in the relationship we are trying to rebuild the balance or sometimes even outweigh it - to show that we are stronger.

Decisions are not likely to work well either - usually they are thoughtless and impulsive. The phrases „to let of steam" or „blind with rage" reveals the decision-making process that is typical to an angry man - we start to fight, argue, blame, to smash dishes, slam the doors, saying that we are breaking up and so on. If you are feeling like this and you do not want to make poor decisions, this is exactly the right time to stop and pause.

So when we are in this state we are not able to evaluate clearly what impact our angry behavior might have to us and other people. We see short-sightedly - we do not see the possible consequences of our behavior. So if you want to avoid guilty feelings, it is important not to let anger to control you.

Another sign of being angry could be that there are angry people around you. Anger itself often makes others to be angry or fearful. So if you notice this, ask yourself what made you angry today, how are you expressing it and how it affects others? You can also find a person you trust and have a conversation about it. It can give you an insight. 

Finally, anger is almost always related to power. Firstly, it could be a sign of losing control of the situation (losing power) and a sign that this lost of control is uncomfortable and unacceptable. Secondly, anger itself can be used as a tool to control others. We usually are afraid of anger people and we quickly learn how to obey them. So being aware of your ways to control, gain power can help to understand your anger better.    

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