You can be angry at yourself, angry at another human or humans, angry at the injustice of institutions in this world, and angry at bad events.

We get angry because someone criticizes us or blames us for something which we may or may not have done. Recognize that no one is perfect, including yourself, and that if you get criticized or blamed then you may be totally or partially responsible for the bad situation. Accept the fact that you may have to be angry at yourself and not others for something bad happening. Our overinflated ego can easily be hurt and anger is frequently the first way that we try and deal with the hurt and frequently unsuccessfully with dead end results and much unnecessary emotional turmoil.

We also get angry if someone does not listen to us or obey us when we think it is important to do so. Our spouse and offspring will frequently not listen to us and not obey us when we make demands.  It is OK to get angry at young offspring who don’t know better or can’t reason well or at all. Trying to be a dictator or tyrant or boss all the time will not work in a family setting and you should try to learn more democratic discussion and consensus building skills to be a successful leader in the family.

We also get angry if someone disagrees with an opinion which we might have on politics, sports, economics, etc. If an opposing opinion will not significantly affect work or family life then it is frequently not worth getting angry over. Live and let live in a sea of different opinions on subjects which you have little or no power over or can’t change in any significant way. You have little or no control over politics, religion, sports, society, and economics so don’t get into heated arguments about what is not possible for one relatively powerless person to change for the better.

We also get angry if we think the world is conspiring against us and we are being victimized by it. The world has never been fair or just and will not be fair or just into the foreseeable future so stop blaming the system and try to find ways of working around it to get to your desired goals in life.

Finally we get angry at mistakes which we make which may or may not be our fault. Almost everyone makes a thousand and one mistakes in their lives and instead of getting angry one should try to learn from the mistakes and make sure that they don’t happen again or don’t happen as frequently in the future by making necessary changes in your life or changing your approach to things.

Fundamentally we get angry because our ego has been hurt or because our attempt at reaching a goal(s) has been stopped or hindered permanently or temporarily.

Getting angry is easy but suppressing the emotion and debating or discussing the situation calmly takes skill and selfcontrol which is not easy to obtain overnight.

Accepting the fact that no one is perfect including ourselves and accepting the fact that two or more humans will frequently disagree or have different opinions on a topic is vital to keep angry emotional outbursts to a minimum.

Here are 3 ways to reduce angry reactions which should work for anyone interested in managing their tendency to respond with anger first and not last:

Take a timeout:

Count to 10 before you respond is good advice because in the heat of the moment an angry remark is something which may hurt you permanently and it is not something which you can change once you have said it. Not responding for ten seconds or longer will frequently give us time to control our angry impulses and find a better answer or solution to the problem at hand.

Express your feelings and opinions in a noncombative way:

Once you have calmed down a bit don’t be confrontational or in attack mode but try to discuss the topic which made you angry in a calm collected way. Communicate the situation which caused the anger without immediately trying to control or hurt others with nasty comments and orders. Try to mutually come to an agreement on what should be done to diffuse the highly emotional situation. “Let’s try to work this out in a mutually beneficial way if possible.”

Instead of  being combative and saying “You make me angry” say “I feel angry” and instead of “I disagree with your opinion” say “I think that my opinion has validity because-“

Learn new communication skills:

Most humans get angry and lose control of their emotions because they frequently feel helpless in a bad situation. “What do I do next?” is frequently a question which goes unanswered and an angry response is the fast easy wrong response.  Learning to ask the right questions and getting answers to them are the communication skills which are necessary to navigate past a dysfunctional angry response. Ask yourself and others who, what, where, when, why, how, and how much about angry situations. You will find out in a controlled way who or what caused the anger, where, when, and why the anger started, and how the anger can be eliminated in the future.

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