Let’s face it; sometimes nothing seems harder than not losing your temper. A driver cuts you meanly while you are trying to get to work on time, somebody doesn’t respect the queue system at the grocery store checkout, your parents say something nasty to you (something which happened over a decade ago), or your phone dies in the middle of an important conversation. And sometimes nothing new has happened and you have managed to replay an old, hurtful incident in your head just to feel pissed off and irrationally agitated in the present moment. We have all become so dependent on so many external things – gadgets, staff, “comfort food”, etc. that even the slightest alteration in anything external leaves us with only one option – flying off the handle.
Here are some tips on being your own anger management guru (unless of course you are moving around killing people in your head, then you may need a therapist!):
• You are damaging yourself: Yes, “they” are not around and even if they are, you are the one raising your voice, making your heart beat abnormally and taking heavy breaths. Sooner or later, you will be punished by your anger, as it creates ill-feelings and intensely increases stress levels. So, replay the incident in your head one more time, and think of a different outcome – one where you have made your point without throwing things of talking in a high-pitched voice.
• Channel your anger: Yes, rage when channeled correctly can actually be helpful and beneficial. So take up kick-boxing, scream your lungs out in solitude, punch a bunch of pillows or write a letter expressing all your ill-feelings and then burn it. These practices, however, should not become your crutches.
• Work on your triggers: We create our experiences; go to the bottom of your anger. Are you really just angry at yourself? For not reacting in a certain way, or letting mean people in, or for being lazy, old, fat, or anything else. These are all ridiculous resistance tools we have fabricated to cope with our insecurities. So once we stop looking at ourselves in a certain way – I tell it like it is, I am always the alpha dog, no one can mess with me, you push my buttons, you’ll be sorry – we need to drop the pattern to drop the anger.
• Revenge is overrated: Don’t sit and keep a tab of other people’s karmic accounts. How they should be reprimanded is not your call. You may not always get closure with people who have done evil things to you, but you will have to gift closure to yourself.
Being highly sarcastic, passive aggressive and going into lengthy periods of alienation, are all unhealthy practices of dealing with pent up anger. Even though you are not screaming your lungs out or throwing things, you are still letting the negativity fester inside of you, without any outlet. It is no surprise that anger is the “out there” cousin of fear. Is fear keeping you angry or making you feel unsafe? If yes, then find out what you are actually afraid of.
It is very much possible that you think that letting go of fear and anger will make you weaker and defenseless. But it actually does the opposite; it sets you free and sets others in your life too free, as a by-product.