Anger Management

Ajan Raghunathan

Anger management deals with the management of one’s anger so that the least possible damage is felt to self, others and the environment. This involves understanding one’s anger patterns and dealing with them effectively. One who can manage his own anger effectively can possibly manage the anger of others as well.

Three Stage Anger Management

Anger management can be divided into three stages –

  1. Managing anger before it even shows in
  2. Managing anger when you are angry
  3. Managing anger after your anger

I. Managing Anger Before it Ever Appears

Manage your anger before it manages you. This is the ‘prevention is better than cure’ approach. This is actually the only effective technique for anger management. This involves two steps:

  1. Understanding the root cause of anger in general and of your anger and anger patterns in particular.
  2. It also involves having a self-structure that does not cram up stress or that is non-conducive to anger or stress. This is done by continuous practice of some releasing technique such as meditation, relaxation (somatic relaxation like progressive muscular relaxation and psychological relaxation like savasana, autogenic training etc.). And also developing self-confidence, courage etc.

1. Understanding Anger

"Anger is temporary madness." – Osho

You become angry because something or someone has done something against your expectations. An expectation is a shelter – it gives you a security feeling. So when someone breaks your expectations he is breaking your shelter, making you insecure, fearful.

You become angry because you are psychologically a weak person.

"Anger is fear in disguise"

Fear is actually ignorance and fear occurs because there is two.

If your ego is hurt you may become angry. Understand that ego itself is a disease. Dissolve your ego as far as possible. If you have inferiority complex, or have a very deficient ego you will loose your temper very easily.

2. Preventive Techniques

  • Practice Relaxation, meditation or the like stress releasing or dissolving techniques.
    Practice
    Holistic Integration Technique (HIT) the simplest and natural Meditation Technique.
    Or Use
    Guided Somato-Psychic Relaxation (GSPR) Technique.
  • Try the Who Am I technique
  • Improve yourself, develop yourself continuously. Break your Personal Rules of Living regarding anger. Be optimistic, positive and have hope
  • Live in the present ( here and now) as far as possible.
  • Be aware of yourself, your anger patterns. Find the root cause of your anger – it will be fear or lust or attachment.
  • Develop self-confidence
  • Accept yourself as such. When you accept your negatives, deficits, you do not have any internal conflict at all
  • Be simple, open and authentic
  • Love yourself, love others. Unless you love and forgive yourself, you cannot love others or forgive others.
  • Develop equal-mindedness in the opposites: good and bad, positive and negative, virtue and non-virtue.
  • Avoid over sensuality.
  • Avoid revenge, hate and hatred. Avoid mugging up stress.
  • Don’t be perfectionistic:
    Inability to accept errors & mistakes of self and others, non-compromising behavior, inability to cope up with failure and longing for success in all and everything etc. creates tension.
  • Avoid looking for the negatives in yourself and others.

II. What To Do When You Are Angry

There are no fool-proof techniques available for anger management at this stage. This is the most difficult stage to manage because you are the person who is angry and you are the person who is to manage yourself. Try one or more of the following:

  • As soon as you are in control withdraw yourself from the situation to avoid irrepairable or irreversible damage to self, others, relationships, and the environment.
  • When you recognize that you are angry, just stop doing what you have been doing. Walk around or sit calmly for a few minutes.
  • Release the stress (stored due to anger) in a way in which there is least possible harm to self, others, and the environment.
  • Breath deeply. Inhale deeply and hold for a second or two. Then exhale deeply. Repeat a few times.
  • Become aware that you are angry. Just observe yourself.
  • If possible involve in some creative work that can pacify you.
  • If possible, divert your attention to something else that can relax you; like humorous films, calming music, watering your garden, going to beach or park or the like.
  • Postpone the expression of anger again and again.
  • Get into the company of persons you love or who love you and understand you. Speak out to them, if possible.
  • If you have love for children, their presence can pacify you.
  • Even pets can sometimes pacify you.
  • Laugh it out, if you can, by perceiving it in a humorous way.
  • Perceive it creatively and constructively and take it as an opportunity to know yourself, your anger patterns and the situation or other people involved.
  • As far as possible do not swear to yourself or shout like: ‘ I will teach you/him/her a lesson. I will show you/him/her’ etc. This will act as a program and will be stored as negative energy.
  • Use the Stop Technique

III After the Anger Incident

This stage involves 2 things:

  1. Analyzing and finding out the root cause of your anger. You will find out that it is one or other kind of fear or attachment.(Attachment also stems from fear).
  2. Repairing and restoring yourself, others and the environment involved in the anger incident.

1. Analyzing and Finding Out the Root Cause

You may want or expect others to behave on one way or other and they may do the reverse. This might have made you angry. But why did you expect so? They are free to create their own psychological prisons (= programs) for themselves. If you have such expectations, come out of these. These expectations, if you look deeply into it are also your own fears in disguise. Attachment to these give you a security feeling and when they are attacked you become angry. Realize these anxieties and fears.

Think of the damages and losses caused to yourself, others and the environment due to your anger. This awareness will lead to an automatic control slowly.

2. Repairing and Restoring

Repair Yourself

  1. Practice relaxation, meditation or any releasing technique so that all pend up stress energy is either released or dissolved without disturbing yourself, others or the environment.
  2. Use humor: read humorous books, watch cartoons or any humorous films etc.

Repair Others and Your Relationships With Them

Apologize if it is appropriate. Do something to recharge your relationship with the persons affected by your temper.

Repair the Environment

If you have disturbed the environment by throwing something, or destroying something, take time to reinstate them as far as possible.

Personal Rules of Living (PRL)

Personal Rules are pre-programmed behavior patterns you have defined for yourself and reinforced again and again. For example: ‘I will do this & this in such a situation’; ‘If I were you I would have kicked him down’ etc. If you have programmed yourself in negative or self-destructive ways, you should dissolve such programs. It is ideal that you have no such programs because they make you more machine than human.

The Stop Technique

This technique is generally used as a therapeutical technique for the control of obsessive thinking. Some people are haunted continuously by negative or undesirable thinking like thoughts of undressing in the public, thoughts of losing control, thoughts of destroying something etc. They seldom act like these but are very frustrated due to this unwanted and undesired thoughts. When such thoughts occur, they are taught to say STOP to themselves at first loudly and later as the client gains more control, he can say ‘STOP’ silently but emphatically. This is repeated until the thoughts cease totally. By some trials, the frequency of unwanted thoughts slow down and finally ceases altogether.

This technique is found to be useful to some for anger management also. This is because, anger elicits destructive thoughts which need to be checked.

 

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