Becoming aware of your choices and developing mindfulness can help you manage your anger. As the title suggests, anger management means you’re managing your anger. In order to properly manage anything, you need objectivity and to act with purpose. It starts with knowing what anger is, the process of managing anger, and the ways anger can be used.
What is Anger?
Knowing what anger is can help you handle it and use it in a healthy way. A simple definition of anger is “energy to solve problems”. Anger doesn’t have to be negative; the way it is used is often negative. It’s common to feel victimized and respond out of fear, in a subjective rather than objective way. But when you know what anger is, and you’re aware of your choices, it’s easier to be objective, proactive, and make mature choices.
Mindfulness and Choice Awareness
What situations cause you to feel fearful or threatened? When you are aware of what makes you feel angry, afraid, or hurt from past events, you can start to manage your anger. Our instincts normally start a fear response that leads to feeling like a victim. This makes it difficult to be objective. Being proactive instead of reactive doesn’t come naturally without purpose and practice. Consider this example:
- Have you ever looked back on a situation and cringed at the way you behaved?
- “Why did I do that?”
- “What was I thinking?”
- You probably did “that” because you weren’t thinking.
- When you respond out of a fear-triggered instinct, you’re most likely responding in a reactive, negative form of anger.
Thinking back to that bad situation, you can probably think of at least one way to handle it that would have led to a better outcome. That bad situation will be our example. The steps of anger management can seem like a complicated process, but here are the steps:
- Think back to that “bad” situation—the one that makes you cringe when you think of how you behaved.
- Recognize what triggered your feelings.
- Think about how you felt.
- What made you behave in a way that embarrasses you now?
- What would you do differently?
Developing Mindfulness and Choice Awareness
Now—to apply what you’ve learned when a similar situation happens:
- Stop yourself from reacting “in the moment”.
- Think about how you feel.
- Consider the outcome of your actions.
- Act in a way that won’t embarrass you later.
Benefits of Maturity
When you’re able to manage your anger, and respond in a proactive, mature manner, you will be able to:
- Take responsibility for your own actions e.g. not blaming others
- Respond in a manner that neither causes nor prolongs an argument
- De-escalate tense situations
- Acknowledge mistakes
- See situations objectively
- Not take criticism personally
- Adapt to change
Developing this level of maturity is helpful in personal and professional life. In the business world, you’ve probably heard of Mindfulness and Choice Awareness. These terms are often used interchangeably with Emotional Intelligence. With purpose and practice, and the development of Emotional Intelligence, you can develop Emotional Maturity. For more information on coaching, see our coaching blog.
3 ways to use Anger
This chart shows the different outcomes, or ways to use anger.
It starts with a threat—real or perceived—which triggers emotions of fear, hurt, or pain from past events.
Anger becomes the energy used to solve problems and seek balance.
As mentioned in the previous example—this is the choice you need to be aware of—the way you choose to respond can be positive, neutral, or negative.
- Positive choices, often called “taking the high road”, is acting with maturity. By making positive choices, you can look back on your reaction and realize you made a choice that de-escalated or at least did not exacerbate the issue.
- Neutral reactions can include not acknowledging the situation; not reacting. This is often the choice of someone who is depressed or has become apathetic.
- Negative choices include “victim energy”, feeling threatened, and getting “out of control”. Escalating and retaliating, attempting to hurt the other person, and making the situation worse are examples of negative choices. This lack of choice awareness is what leads to feeling embarrassed about that choice later.
If you’re tired of regretting or feeling embarrassed by the way you’ve responded, contact CrossRoads for help with Anger Management. Call 317-842-8881 today.