Identify it; Work on it & harness it to your advantage!
We all have read, watched & heard about managing anger without really understanding the science of anger at all.
Learning to deal with your anger constructively improves your well-being and makes you a more desirable person and a promotable employee.
Recently Learning Minds Group went live on the topic of Managing Anger, Stress & Time related to the International Day of Stress Awareness where I shared these strategies; strategies which are different and by following them anyone can manage their anger in the long term.
“Holding onto anger is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.”
1. Identify Root Cause
We must find the root of the anger that is lodged deep within us. Common roots of anger include fear, pain, and frustration.
For example, some people become angry as a fearful reaction to uncertainty, the fear of losing a job, or the fear of failure. Others become angry when they are hurt in relationships or are caused pain by close friends. When it comes to me, the root of my anger is often found in all the little frustrations I’ve let build up within me.
Figure it out.
Once we’ve found the root of our anger, we will be able to figure out how to deal with it in a healthier way.
Deal with fear: Sometimes the best way to face our fears is to face them out. By taking the time to examine what you’re deeply afraid of reflect & then confront is the best possible way, when you reflect you will be able to rationalize your thoughts & when you confront you end the fear on a positive note. In the future, this may help keep fears from building up into anger.
Deal with pain:
If you’re trapped and experiencing pain, go talk to the person who caused you pain right now! Whether the hurt is a result of a misunderstanding or an intentional attack, you won’t be able to move forward until you discuss your pain with the person who hurt you. Only when confession and forgiveness are present will you be able to let go of your anger.
Deal with frustration:
While we can’t always choose what happens to us, we can choose how to respond. So, in response to frustrating moments, choose to dwell on the positive. Also, frustration is sometimes the result of unmet expectations. Make sure your expectations are realistic and show grace if they are not fulfilled.
“There were two ways to be happy: improve your reality, or lower your expectations”
― Jodi Picoult,
2. Rationalize your answer
When we are in anger the first mistake we commit is to answer back without processing a rationalized answer which hampers our relations & professional environment over all.
In Anger, remember to resist the urge to unload all your unspoken grievances. Sometimes one annoyance can open the floodgates to a laundry list of complaints—but no one responds well to a barrage of criticism.
After you have identified and reflected upon the answer use “I feel” language & rather than being vague & threatening the other person, show specification and empathy.
E.g.: If you have a colleague at the workplace who is continuously nagging you and asking a truck load of questions about process, culture etc. Instead of saying, “You are getting on my nerves & I am warning you to stay away,” say, “When you ask so many questions my work suffers, lets discuss it over lunch.” In this way, you’re not assuming the other person meant to make you feel bad—you’re just explaining how it makes you feel & emotions you are going through; so, they can understand how their actions impact you.
“Speak When You’re Angry and You’ll Make the Best Speech You’ll Ever Regret”
- Laurence J. Peter
3. Consider alternative perspectives
Emotional Intelligence plays a key role in considering alternative perspectives.
You should apply these three ways of positive validation of perspectives:
A. Accept Diversity
Honestly consider other’s perspectives that are very different from our own. When we compare opposing perspectives, we may discover similarities. When we find differences, we can see if their different strengths and weaknesses can compensate and complement each other. Drawing on both perspectives, a new and better perspective may emerge.
Ironically, inclusivity may be the most important when disagreements between perspectives are based on strong values and principles. We believe in integrity, fairness, meritocracy, racial and religious harmony, accountability and rule of law. When we vigorously pursue our own perspective driven by one of these values or principles, could it be that the person we have a disagreement with is motivated by some of the other values and principles that are also dear to us?
So, we should pay attention to how a value or principle is applied to the specific context, and consider how other values and principles may be relevant.
We can also be mindful that when our perspective is dominated by a value or principle, we may end up arguing or behaving in a way that is not as value-based or principled as we should be.
B. Engage in Interaction
Studies have shown true empathy does not come about by just imagining what the person is going through, no matter how hard we try.
We need to interact with the person by asking and listening to find out the concerns and circumstances as perceived or experienced by the person. This need for interaction applies to close family and social relationships, but also relationships between friends, family, leaders and followers.
When you are engaged in naturalistic interactions - as opposed to contrived ones - they are more likely to tell each other what they truly think, instead of what they thought the other wants to hear. As a result, one can better appreciate the other’s concerns and circumstances.
C. Detach yourself for a Win-Win.
To truly empathize with another person's perspective, one needs to be affective in adopting that perspective - and this involves emotions and subjectivity.
For doing that you need to detach yourself, detachment from the scene & the person makes you look at the bigger picture. Its a very important tool & very difficult as well. In the situation always think about the topic of disagreement vs the relation you have with the person.
If we can be more inclusive, interactive and intermediate when we manage disagreements, many differences may converge. They become pathways towards common or complementary goals.
If we learn to see things from another's perspective and apply it adequately, we are more likely to prevent misunderstandings, enable constructive conversations and achieve win-win solutions.
“When you become detached mentally from yourself and concentrate on helping other people with their difficulties, you will be able to cope with your own more effectively. Somehow, the act of self-giving is a personal power-releasing factor.”
- Norman Vincent Peale
Remember you need to practice it to benefit from it.