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Thursday, December 13, 2012

“Control Anger before It Controls You…”

Imagine you are a working woman and your house help has reported late for work. You have a very important meeting planned with your top client and your boss is counting on you.…..

Every day events like these make us angry – we may be angry at a specific person, event or memories of traumatic events. Anger is a completely normal, usually healthy, human emotion that varies in intensity from mild irritation to intense fury and rage.
However, anger when out of control can have both biological and psychological effects include release of stress hormones.

Biological Effects: Biological effects include release of stress hormones, adrenaline and noradrenalin, leading to increase in blood pressure & heart rate. When this is repeated frequently or sustained over a prolonged period, it gives rise to heart disorders, acidity/gastric ulcers, lowered immunity to infections and eventually multi-organ disorders.

Psychological Effects: Psychological Effects of anger vary from turbulences in relationship & work impacting overall quality of life to behavioral problems like passive-aggressive personality disorder (getting back at people indirectly, without telling them why, rather than confronting them head-on) or a personality that seems perpetually cynical and hostile.

We are usually taught that it's all right to express anxiety, depression or any other emotions but not anger. As a result, we don't learn how to handle it or channel it constructively.

How Does one control anger?
The first step is developing awareness, i.e. knowing when we are getting angry. After that handle the anger using the following strategies:

Relaxation Methods
1. Deep breathing, meditation, yoga or counting 1 to 10.
2. Slowly repeat a calm word or phrase such as "relax", "take it easy". Repeat it while breathing deeply.
3. Use imagery; visualize a relaxing experience, from either memory or relaxation

Practice any of these techniques daily so that one can use them automatically in a tense situation.

Changing the way we think & act:

Timing: If you and your spouse tend to fight when you discuss things at night, perhaps you are tired, distracted or may be it's just habit. Try changing the time for discussing important matters to avoid arguments.

Avoidance: If your child's messy room makes you furious every time you enter it, just shut the door. Don't make yourself look at what infuriates you. Don't expect your young child to always keep it clean.

Finding alternatives: If you’re daily commute through traffic leaves you in a state of rage and frustration, change to a route that is less congested or more scenic. If nothing works, try listening to your favorite music on the way.

Take it Easy
It is important not to be hard on oneself as well as others.

1. Me-Time: Make sure you give some time to yourself in the day. Eg. A working mother may need 15 minutes after work to sit and relax. After this brief quiet time, she would be better prepared to handle demands from her kids without blowing up at them.

2. Using Humor: Anger is a serious emotion. If we refuse to take the situation seriously, it helps taking the edge off anger and unknots a tense situation. However, don't give in too harsh or sarcastic humor, as it is another form of unhealthy anger expression.

3. Look after yourself: Pamper yourself, have good nutritious food, exercise regularly to release feel-good hormones (endorphins). Music, Hobbies & Laughter Therapy go a long way in feeling good.

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