Anger is an emotional state caused by a real or perceived grievance (a cause of distress). You can be angry at other people, events, and even yourself. Physical conditions such as hunger, fatigue, pain, hormonal imbalances, and even sexual frustration can cause levels of anger to become elevated. Some even feel that genetic predisposition can cause some people to be more angry than others. Getting angry not only affects you emotionally, but physically as well. Your blood pressure increases, you have an increased level of adrenaline in your bloodstream and your heart beats faster. These are all natural responses to threats. It goes back to the basic fight or flight response that is programmed into each of us.
So, can we control our anger? The answer to that question is an overwhelming yes. With some basic techniques you can learn to manage your own anger levels. That’s not to say that you shouldn’t get angry at all. Many injustices and our own values give us valid reasons to become angry. What it does mean, though, is that you can control what angers you and how you respond.
The first step in taking command of your anger is to changing your thinking. Believe it or not, changing some of your beliefs and expectations can decrease your anger immensely. When you expect people, including yourself, to behave a certain way and a different behavior surfaces, this can cause a great amount of anger. Perfectionist thinking causes a tremendous amount of anger as well. So, instead of expecting people to be flawless, give them a break, and give yourself one, too. If you don’t anticipate a perfect situation you won’t be angry when it doesn’t pan out.
Another way to help dissolve anger is to stop thinking in terms of always and never. Nothing is black or white; all or nothing. Everything is somewhere in between. If you get into the habit of thinking this way, you are less likely to become angry over any given situation. Of course, some situations are bound to cause anger, especially if you feel that something is unjust. But it is up to you how angry you get over any situation. You can be incensed or your can become enraged, but it is in your control.
A final way to prevent anger is don’t jump to conclusions. This can be one of the biggest causes of anger. Learn to talk out a situation instead of assuming you know the answer. No one is a mind reader. If you ask for clarification in a given situation you may be surprised to find out you misread the other person and their intentions. This can diffuse anger very quickly.
Remember, how you feel about any given situation is up to you and you alone. It stems back to your beliefs, values and expectations. Alter those and you can alter your anger levels.