Once there was a little boy who had a bad temper. His father gave him a bag of nails and told him that every time he lost his temper, he must hammer a nail into the back of the fence. The first day the boy had hammered 37 nails into the fence. Over the next few weeks, as he learnt to control his anger, the number of nails hammered daily gradually dwindled. He discovered it was easier to hold his temper than to put those nails into the fence. Finally the day came when the boy didn't lose his temper at all. He told his father about it, and the father asked the boy to pull out one nail for each day when he was able to hold his temper. After a few days the young boy was finally able to tell his father that all the nails were gone. The father took his son to the fence. He said to his son, “My son, you have done well, but look at the holes in the fence. The fence will never be the same. When you say things in anger, they leave a scar just like this one. You can put a knife in a man and draw it out. It won't matter how many times you say I'm sorry, the wound is still there.”
Like all emotions anger is a part of human’s nature. Anger serves a purpose, typically signaling us that we are suffering from some form of distress. In his book Overcoming Destructive Anger: Strategies That Work, Bernard Golden said, “Not everyone processes anger by punching someone or being aggressive. Some people express anger passively or direct their anger toward themselves; others deny their anger or become silent and withdrawn. None of these are healthy reactions.” To avoid this unhealthy behavior and lead a happy life, one can follow these steps:
Anger usually begins with a triggering event that challenges your internal harmony and well-being. As a result, people sometimes become overwhelmed and act ridiculously to express their anger. But developing self-awareness can aid an individual to take control over their anger. This essentially means recognizing how you tend to respond when you are being triggered by any event. Of course, there are several strategies to prepare for such situations. For instance, imagining or recalling the past experience can put you in an atmosphere where you can think about the situation and take time to calm yourself. During that time you can put your thoughts together rationally and objectively. Subsequently, in the future when you will face the same situation again, you can respond to it constructively.
Focus on physical tension
Easing physical tension is one of the prominent techniques to calm your physical and mental tension effectively. Physical activities can help to reduce stress and slow down your internal physical response. When you are angry, your heartbeat rate is likely to rise, you will breathe heavily or your face will get flushed. Breathing can allow you to control inner-self. Breathing deeply allows your body to fill with oxygen. This will stop the adrenaline rush that floods your body when you are angry. This extra oxygen flow will relax your body, calm your breathing, slow your heart rate, and allow your brain to resume rational thought. Dr. J. Ryan Fuller, Clinical Psychologists, once said, “Breathing is a form of relaxation, which makes sense in the case of anger management because anger has high levels of arousal in terms of physiological activation. And relaxation skills alone are highly effective in helping people to manage their anger. So breath-work is very simple and easy to remember, and there is scientific research to show that it does a good job of helping to temp down the sympathetic nervous system activity.”
Medication is one of the effective ways to take control over the deep wrath within you. Generally, meditation allows people to sync with inner-self with a view to comforting mind and get a fresh thinking ability. While meditating one can travel to a dimension where there is peace to keep the mind fresh. Researchers from the Department of Psychology, University of Kansas conducted a research and found that both short-term and long-term meditation can help to protect our bodies and minds from the harmful physical stress of anger. People who choose to do meditation long-term are more likely to be less reactive in the first place. This study also suggests that repeated, consistent practice of meditation enhances our ability to cope and sit with negative emotions like anger without reacting. If you surf the internet, you will find many meditation techniques to learn and practice to overcome your anger.
When things get tense, humor and playfulness can help you lighten the mood, smooth over differences, reframe problems, and keep things in control. When you feel yourself getting angry in a situation, try using a little light-hearted humor. It can allow you to get your point across without hurting others’ feelings. To reduce potential conflict, making jokes and taking a humorous approach can make the situation different. Melinda Smith, M.A., and Jeanne Segal, Ph.D., from Help Guide, suggest that when humor and play are used to reduce tension and anger, a potential conflict can even become an opportunity for greater connection and intimacy. For instance, you have made a mistake that can trigger your peer to react. So, instead of getting angry or picking a fight, try to make humor out of it to reduce the potential of any conflict because we’re all flawed and we all make mistakes.
Express anger in a healthy way
Suppose, you are in a situation where it is worth becoming angry and express your feelings but there’s something you can do to make it better, the key is to express your feelings in a healthy way. Learning to express your anger healthily will not only protect the relationship but also help you to avoid a fight. Chris Gilbert, M.D., Ph.D., physician, and writer from Psychology Today, mentioned that if we keep our anger bottled in, our stress hormones adrenaline and cortisol will be secreted, making us more prone to infections and cardiovascular disease. Thus, instead of hurting other people, we will hurt ourselves. To avoid hurting ourselves and others, there are several ways to express anger in a healthy way such as hitting the ball, writing out your anger, singing, dancing or sharing your feelings with others.
In conclusion, it can be said that for every minute you remain angry, you give up sixty seconds of peace of mind. Eventually controlling your anger will reward you a happy and peaceful life.