In these hectic times of our daily lives, anger is becoming more and more of an issue. A person trying to deal with their anger and the anger of others due to outside influences can quickly find themselves emotionally exhausted and in need of self-care. On its surface, anger may feel as if it is an uncontrollable and uninvited emotion that only pops up due to the actions of others or circumstances that were beyond our control. When examined however we find that our anger was not the product of the behaviors of others, but instead is a result of our own perceptions.
A good place to start in understanding your own anger is to take a step back and attempt to determine when, where, and why your feelings of anger began. Did the anger begin with a conversation, article, behavior, or action of someone you could not control? It is during this time of self-reflection that a person can often see that their anger began not with the actions of others but instead was a result of their own inability to control the actions of others. Many people are unaware of how much they subconsciously try to control others and how much this attempt to control others contributes to their own anger. If an individual expects to have control over a situation and then realizes they have no or very little control, often the emotion of anger is then generated as a result of this frustration. The point of this observation is not whether control of a situation is valid. The point is to reflect if the control should have been expected and if so, where did the loss of control occur. Learning to accept the limits of your ability to control things around you can help you replace your anger with a feeling of peace and serenity.
Often when feelings of anger are felt, we need to determine how to proceed to minimize the negative emotions. A useful strategy to help you manage your anger is to ask yourself the following questions:
- Does it need to be said?
- Does it need to be said now?
- Does it need to be said by me?
If you give yourself permission to ask these questions when trying to address anger toward someone else, you will often find the truth is that although 1 or 2 of the questions may be answered with an affirmative, it is likely that all three cannot. Our new coping skill dictates that all 3 questions should be affirmative before any one of them is acted upon. Example: a person may be in a situation where they need to inject information into an argument that has caused anger within the individual. Upon inspection they determine that the information needs to be said, however now is not the right time. Additionally, a person may determine that the information needs to be said now, however, due to the circumstances this may not be the time for the information to be given by that same person. There is also the case where the information does not need to be said at all. The questions present themselves in chronological order. If number one does not apply, numbers 2 and 3 do not. If one applies and number 2 does not then number 3 is invalid. It takes practice and patience in order to apply this mindset to a conversation that may have gotten out of control which has produced the feeling of anger. One of the best ways to give yourself back control of your own feelings is to:
- Be quiet
After 20 minutes of self-imposed exclusion from the situation, you, therefore, can ask yourself the 3 questions again and the answers may have changed or you may realize that the entire episode is a matter of futility and it’s time to just let it go.
As written earlier, these are definitely tough times we are living in. Learning how to control your perceptions and responses to the events of life will ultimately help you to lessen your feelings of anger and will help you use your time more productively. The initial feeling of anger rarely produces negative consequences in your life. It is your response to these feelings and how you deal with them that determines if they will direct your path. Remember that a feeling is not a fact. Learn to develop insight into your feelings and be thoughtful about your actions.
New Dimensions Can Help!
If you or someone you know is experiencing any of the above symptoms or problems, New Dimensions can help. Our team of experienced therapists and psychiatrists can help you overcome these challenges and help you develop the skills you need to thrive. To schedule a complementary assessment or to find out more about our programs, contact us at 1-800-685-9796.
Our affiliate, MHThrive, provides Individual Therapy, Couples and Marriage Counseling, and Family Therapy at our locations in Katy, The Woodlands, and the Clear Lake area of Houston, Texas. We also provide telehealth therapy for anyone who resides within the State of Texas. To schedule an appointment with one of the MHThrive therapists, contact us at 713-477-0333 or visit www.mhthrive.com to learn more.