The Anger Code – Not the Quiet and Sweet Side, Not the Fun and Crazy Side, But the Side You Never Want Others to See of You

  • Anger is a natural emotion. However, anger becomes a problem only when you don't manage it in a healthy way.
  • Personal problems, problems caused by other people, unforeseen incidents and memories of hurtful events, are some major causes of anger.
  • Learn to heal anger, understand the root of anger, develop habits that release internal conflict in constructive manner.

Anger is just an emotion. It’s normal, even healthy to become angry, but constant, uncontrollable anger can prove to be harmful. Uncontrollable anger can prove to be disastrous, you might find yourself facing problems in every corner of your life: at work, in personal relationships and in overall quality of your health. Deeply embedded painful emotions associated with anger seldom get communicated in our rational minds. Reason takes a back seat. When in anger, all that a person ‘says’ or ‘acts’ are under a rage full of intense, immediate outburst. At that point of time, one can’t separate emotions from thoughts. In the midst of this turmoil one loses all sense of reason. The choice we have about our anger is the same choice we have about so many other aspects of our lives: will we turn toward our anger and seek to better understand it, manage it. Or will we let our habit energy of living, thinking and acting “in anger” and “from anger”dominate our lives, actions and the impact we have on others?

Theodore Rubin,”Feeling angry is a universal human phenomenon. It is as basic as feeling hungry, lonely, loving or tired”. How you express your anger is important, whether the intensity is justifiable. Try avoiding provocative, angry retorts. Your tone can be strong and forceful, but maintain composure and calm. Don’t stop your anger and internalize it, that’s very harmful to yourself and others. We often get angry over small, insignificant things, learn to gradually control this emotion, Frustration often leads to anger, if a person is broken down financially, physically, psychologically, if they need help, they should reach out to a loyal relation or friend, if they want to be private, then they can approach a counselor and seek advice. Courage, hope and self belief will bring back normalcy slowly. Drinking, bad company will only make matters worse. Admit to yourself the pain and sorrow you feel. This is a big step towards healing. Address one area of a problem at a time, write down your feelings daily and read them each night till you start gaining control over maters. Indulge in exercise, walk more and get in nature and your body will feel better. Make a routine. Later work on your spiritual hope and comfort, attend a local place of worship or pray? Remember,”anger doesn’t solve anything, it builds nothing, but it can destroy everything”.

“You will not be punished for your anger, you will be punished by your anger.” -Buddha

It is human nature to become happy when they hear only ‘nice’ things about themselves, it is again human nature to simmer in anger when ‘others’ don’t say ‘nice’ things about you. Let’s recollect Shakespearean play King Lear; Lear, the aging King of Britain, decides to step down from the throne and divide his kingdom evenly among his three daughters. First, however, he puts his daughters through a test, asking each to tell him how much she loves him. Knowing that their father was extremely susceptible to flattery, his eldest daughters Goneril and Regan profess their love which wasn’t genuine in flowery speech, his youngest daughter Cordelia uses forthright, pared-down statement to express her honest love and devotion. Lear is furious, disowns Cordelia and bestows his royal power and possessions on her sisters and their husbands. A sweet lie is always welcome, a bitter truth hard to digest.

Although cartoon characters are oddballs, with their antics, these animated characters exhibit all-too-human natures, ruminate about life, and share acute observations about humanity. Remember Yosemite Sam, his hatred (of Bugs Bunny) blurs his ability to see things clearly. With weapons within reach, this hot-headed ball of fire is a danger to himself and others! The adorable Donald Duck, on one wing, he’s kind, caring and loyal and on the other he’s easily frazzled and flies into fits of rage. Donald is most notably known for his uncontrollable temper tantrums. Claire Lerner and Rebecca Parlakian in “Aggressive behavior in toddlers” say “when he (toddler) is angry, frustrated, tired or overwhelmed, he may use actions such as hitting, pushing, slapping, grabbing, kicking or biting to tell you : “I’, mad!” “You’re too close to me, get away!” “I’m on overdrive and need a break”. Or “I want what you have! A parent may have a short fuse while dealing with a squirmy child, then matters become worse. One must learn as early as possible to express feelings in  a healthy, non-hurtful way.

The not so recent school shootings makes it hard to empathize with the shooter, even though ‘the shooters’ were school going teenagers. The brutality of their crimes is unspeakable. Whether the shootings were at Columbine, at Sandy Hook, or in Parkland, they have traumatized students and communities across the U.S. Most shooters in these cases had led difficult lives, the studies find. “Adolescent school shooters, there’s no question that they’re struggling and there have been multiple failures in their lives”, says Reid Meloy, a forensic psychologist who has consulted with the FBI. In all these cases despair turned to anger and a desire for revenge. In a survey by the Mental Health Foundation, 32% of people said they had a close friend or family member who had trouble controlling their anger. Anger is different for everyone. Things that make some people angry don’t bother others at all. When you are provoked and succumb to anger, your anger is mostly an attempt at a “quick fix” to right the balance. It’s as though you are raising a fist in protest, proclaiming that you’re not going to capitulate to such injustice.

Reactive anger is probably best understood as self-defeating. As David Burns, the author of the seminal self-help book Feeling Good, observes: if realistically, acting on your anger is to make any sense, it needs to meet two criteria – which in almost every case, is frankly impossible. That is, your anger must 1. Be directed towards a person who has intentionally (and needlessly) behaved in a hurtful way towards you; and 2. Be beneficial or advantageous to you (i.e assist you in achieving  a desired goal). Begin your day with the right frame of mind, before you get out of your bed, take a couple of deep breaths and say something positive. For example, “Remember who you really are today, know that you too have the power to overcome anything you may be facing. It’s time for you to rise and shine”. “This morning will never ever come back in your life again, Get up and make the most of it”. Technology encourages us to react quickly. The minute we get that text or feel the phone vibration, we are racing to respond, reacting impulsively is a trigger for angry outbursts, set aside time each day to be free from checking email, social media sites and text messaging. Honestly, if I had to choose just one option to manage anger, I would be getting sufficient sleep. Sleep deprivation is a huge culprit in negative moods, including anxiety and depression.” If you get sleep, it reduces your mood changes, your stress, your levels of anger, your impulsivity, and your tendency to drink and take drugs” – Dr.Russell Foster.

It may sound silly, but some people aren’t used to laughing and it will be difficult to use humor to release anger if you don’t feel comfortable laughing, So,be silly and take sometime to practice the art of laughing. When you need to release anger with humor you can do so, if you surround yourself with people who make you happy. Joel Osteen, “Every day we have plenty of opportunities to get angry, stressed or offended. But what you are doing when you indulge these negative emotions is giving something outside yourself power over your happiness, You can choose not to let little things upset you”.

One minute of anger weakens the immune system for 4 to 5 hours. One minute of laughter boosts the immune system for 24 hours. During the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln said, “Gentleman, why don’t you laugh? With the fearful strain that is upon me day and night, if I did not laugh I should die, and you need this medicine as much as I do”.

Practice meditation in order to get control over anger. Breathing exercise plays a vital role during meditation, when angry feelings start to swell, it is as though the body were full of hot, rising air that has nowhere to go; the breath can become shallower and more rapid. Our emotional regulation begins by finding a way to release this intensity, and that release is through the out breath. We bring focus to the breath and allow the body a deep exhale.

The anger dissipates gradually, we will notice that tension is being released. A Sanskrit proverb “For breath of life, and if you breathe well you will live long on earth” refers to learning to breathe consciously and with awareness as is in the fourth limb of yoga.

And it can be a valuable tool in helping to restore balance in the mind and body.

During meditation, you learn to control your breath and note that the nose is an important center of vital functions, your focus is on the tip of the nose and concentrate your attention on it, when you practice the technique, very soon your mind becomes free from restlessness and becomes fit for deep meditation. Indian Yogis, refer to the medulla oblongata as the ajna chakra, and say that it has two “petals” or rays – the subtle movements of consciousness and energy that culminate in the breath as inhalation and exhalation. There is a subtle connection between the medulla and the tip of the nose, The tip of the nose is the opposite pole of the medulla, and concentration on the tip of the nose thus directly affects the medulla. During meditation, you may even feel the medulla being energized. Researchers from Universtiy Of Wisconsin, using the latest in MRI brain imaging technology, have shown that meditation naturally ad benefically increases the neural mass (gray matter) of the brain by harnessing the brain’s “neuroplastic” potential. A relatively new scientific understanding, “neuroplasticity” makes it possible to healthily increase the strength, the size and density of our brains, just like physical exercise can make your muscles stronger, denser, with more endurance. The implications of this finding are immense, with meditation being the frontrunner as the very best brain exercise! In addition, meditation promotes what scientists call “whole brain thinking”.

Readers, how do you deal with anger? Do you ‘react’ or ‘respond’?

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Madhavi Vudayagiri

Writing and reading has always been my hobby. I would never buy a greeting card to wish a family member or a close friend, instead I would compose a poem highlighting their qualities and greet them. Having been in the field of teaching, studying people is what I do best. Creative writing is my forte, in order to hone my creative gene, I acquired a diploma in creative writing. I love to probe people's minds and try and understand their thought process. This website seems to be just what I am looking for!

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