The main person your anger affects is you, so it is in your benefit to learn how to manage your anger
Your anger is your responsibility to manage, blaming others wont change a thing and you will continue to be angry. So how can you learn to manage your anger?
People often talk in terms of controlling their anger or finding classes on Anger Management, but wouldn’t you prefer to be free of it altogether instead of having to ‘manage your anger’?
You can be, and in a way which puts you in control, without having to ‘take’ control; in a way that the anger just doesn’t rise to the surface or doesn’t occur at all.
In my last blog “ “ I explained how anger is a primitive brain reaction to increase strength when your brain thinks there is some sort of crisis, emergency or danger and it believes there is a crisis, emergency or danger when you are thinking negatively. So anger is a result of negative thinking – but there is a bit more to it than that:-
Humans don’t deal well with ambiguity, with not knowing, so they tend to fill in the blanks with imagination. If that person is working from their primitive brain, the imagination will be negative
When someone is operating from their primitive brain (the brain of crisis or danger) they will apply everything to themselves, so they will by default assume someone’s comments or motivation is personal.
So, the problem of anger originates in negative thinking which influences the primitive brain into focusing on the negative (often imagined) intentions of other people and the anger is a way of increasing strength and making the angry person appear bigger or more powerful.
However, the angry primitive part of the brain is not an intellect, so it can’t rationalize a situation and it can’t step back and see the bigger picture or evaluate accurately – it just reacts to situations. This is great if you are potentially getting into a physical confrontation, but in our ‘civilised’ society, this is usually an inappropriate reaction.
A more appropriate way of handling situations or other people is to remain calm, act rationally and discuss intellectually. Luckily, on the whole, we have moved on from piling in with fists flying and what successful champion boxers will tell you, or any top sportsperson for that matter, is that the intellect is more powerful than muscle. Although Boxers squaring up for a match sometimes appear to get angry and ‘lose it’, especially at press conferences, this is actually an act and very rationally targeted at trying to get their opponent to be the one of lose intellectual control and thus keeping the upper psychological hand.
Therefore, this is all leading to ‘How do you NOT lose control?’ or more positively framed ‘How do you keep INTELLECTUAL control?’
It’s all about the chemical balance.
When your anxiety levels increase, leading to the anger, you start to produce adrenaline, short bursts are fine, but this can build up over time and it can also be present in the background, ready to cross the ‘line’ activating the primitive brain. It’s at this point that the anger boils. So step one is to reduce adrenaline.
A good metaphor for the intellectual brain is a car engine – to be working efficiently it needs oil – over time the oil is used up and needs replenishing, if it isn’t or you ignore the warning signs telling you to top up the oil, the engine will dry up. You brain is similar in that it needs serotonin to work efficient, you create serotonin and you also use it up, you reabsorb it and if you don’t work at topping it up, your intellectual brain becomes less efficient and able to deal with situations and eventually, if it is not maintained, the backup brain – the primitive brain steps in leading to anxiety, depression or anger.
So, in order to not get angry, you need to:-
Get rid of adrenaline in your system
How do you do that?
Positive activity in the form of exercise in particular is important for avoiding anger as it both burns off adrenaline and creates serotonin, so you will become calmer and happier at the same time – how about that for medication?
Positive thinking is also a powerful tool you have complete control over. The anger happens because of negative thinking, learn how to step back in the moment, not do act on your anger in any way and deliberately think positively or look for a positive outcome for the situation you are angry about and you can calm down.
Acceptance of things you can control or situations which are outside your control and deal with them instead of resisting
It is in your control, prevention is easier than cure when you learn how to keep your chemicals balance and once you start, it is easier than you think it will be.
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