Monday, December 17, 2007

10 Healthy Ways To Deal With Anger

There appears to be a lot of confusion about anger. Many people believe it is bad to get angry and/or that anger is something to be avoided at all costs. Anger has been viewed by many as a negative. This may be because we confuse unhealthy behavior (the result of what happens when anger is not dealt with in a healthy way) with the emotion.

Anger is an emotion and it can be thought of as an alarm or signal. It informs and warns that something needs attention. When anger is viewed in this manner it becomes something that is very beneficial. Like when you are driving your car and the check engine light goes off on the dashboard. The light alerts you that the car has a need. If the light is ignored the car may break down. Likewise, it is wise to pay attention to anger and look under the hood as well. If anger is left unattended or stuffed suffering and destructive behavior usually follow. You can respond to anger by checking to see what unmet needs you have that need attention.

Anger is caused by two things: unmet needs and moralistic judgments. When the unmet need is identified the individual is no longer angry. Instead the individual may feel sadness because they realize that they do not have something they need. Just like a car may need oil, and individual may find that they have a need for love, respect, understanding, cooperation, honesty, emotional safety, etc.

Below are 10 things that you can do to deal with anger in a healthy manner. These 10 things do not need to be followed in any particular order.

1. Calm down. Slow down and take some deep breaths or get some air. You may also choose to take a timeout (some time to cool down) or journal.

2. Identify the stimulus of anger. The stimulus of anger is different from the cause and is never the cause of anger. The stimulus is what triggered the anger (for example: someone being late or forgetting your birthday).

3. Identify the cause of anger. Anger is caused by moralistic judgments. Just ask yourself what judgments you are making about yourself or others. To make this easier to discover simply ask yourself what "should" statements you are thinking about others or yourself. The other cause of anger is unmet needs. You can try to discover the unmet need you have.

4. Think of ways (strategies) that you can meet your unmet need(s) once you have discovered them. You can also ask others to help you think of strategies to meet your need(s).

5. Express your unmet need to yourself and/or appropriate people and make a specific request that will meet your need. Don’t expect others to just know your needs. If you do not express your needs to others it is very difficult for others to be able to help you meet your need because they do not what they are.

6. Consider what others are feeling and needing. When you get in touch with other people's needs you will no longer be angry at them. Instead, you open the door to empathize with them.

7. Help others express their feelings and needs. You may want to ask them, "Are you feeling ____ because you need _________?

8. Help others come up with strategies that may meet their need(s). You may make suggestions that may work for them.

9. Do not take things personally. When you do this you give the word spoken about you power to destroy your happiness and peace. Instead translate criticism into feelings and needs. For instance you can say, "When this person said that I was disrespectful they were feeling upset because they needed respect for their time." When we believe what others say about us we give them power over us and/or become defensive, depressed and/or angry.

10. Make an agreement with yourself to not judge yourself or others. Instead of making evaluations, diagnosis, and judgments make observations (state the facts). This prevents enemy images from arising in our mind that alienate us from others.

Feel free to pass this information on to others who may benefit from reading the article.


Distressing Delilah a.k.a. jenn said...

Thank you for this, I want to show it to my son, who has a big problem with depression and anxiety. He also has episodes of nearly uncontrollable anger.

Anonymous said...

Very good ideas especially the last one. I hope I remember these, at least for today.

وصفات كليوباترا said...

thanks it is beautiful article as i am under stress all the time i will follow these tips
lovely words

Eddie Zacapa said...

Soofy - I am glad to hear that this article was helpful. Thanks for letting me know.


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