There are a number of myths about anger, but the one that is perhaps the most recognized and believed is that anger is negative and destructive. Anger is an emotion, neither positive nor negative, and it is not a problem. It is what we do with our anger that causes difficulties. Mismanaged anger is a significant cause of strife in our personal and professional lives.
It is helpful to recognize that anger is simply a part of who we are along with joy, sadness, happiness and other feelings. It will always be there, but we may need to learn how to handle it in a more constructive manner. Doing so will benefit our relationships, self-esteem, overall well-being and reduce our stress levels. It also results in greater cooperation from others.
Some things to try when you feel your anger starting to build:
- Take deep breaths, exhale fully (count to ten).
- Take a quick walk or a time out and allow yourself time to calm down.
- Talk with someone about your feelings of anger.
- Pick your battles. Is this topic really worth fighting about?
- Determine the seriousness of the issue. How much energy does it deserve?
- Listen to what the other person is saying. Ask questions to clarify statements.
- Talk in facts rather than in generalizations.
- Learn to compromise.
- "Live and let live." Not everything has to become a battle - learn to let go.