how to control anger

Calm down: 5 things you should never do when you are angry

Anger is natural, its escalation is not. We must keep in mind what not to do while angry. Knowing how to control anger helps our personal relationships as well as our productivity.

How to control anger might be one of the key things that stand between us and our pursuit of happiness. We encounter many situations where just another disagreement snowballs into a heated argument. Often, situations or people make us angry and it becomes difficult to keep calm. Maybe we remain silent, vent or find it difficult not to scream.So what is the right way to channelise anger? Because if not channelised, anger can prove to be destructive. Acts we do in a fit of anger often lead to escalations that go beyond our control.

While anger is one of the most natural human emotions, it is really difficult to manage it. When anger spirals, it leads to a loss of wisdom and consequently, poor decision making. It even impacts our daily chores. It sours our solid relationships. If anger is not managed well, it has an adverse effect on our blood pressure, stress levels and general wellbeing. In short, we do not end up happy.

While it is difficult to avoid getting angry, keeping a few things in mind help in controlling the more devastating effects of anger. Interestingly, as much as there are dos, there are donts that you have to adhere to when angry. To not escalate anger into an uncontrollable outflow, it is important to consciously not do certain things.

Soulveda lists 5 things that you should never do when angry.

Do not plunge into arguments

“For every minute you remain angry, you give up 60 seconds of peace of mind,” said Ralph Waldo Emerson, the famous American poet and philosopher. Getting into an argument when angry seems to be the easiest way to go. But arguments lead to even more escalation of the issue at hand. Often, in the heat and flow of things, people end up saying or hearing words which hit hard. It’s a spiral that keeps producing more anger. 

Continuing to speak when things are going haywire due to anger is how we end up regretting the most. Since the mind loses its rational power, we say things that we might not even mean. But it makes the other person lose trust in us in the long run and that’s a real dampener.

This is why it makes sense to step away from the place of provocation for a while. If one is anticipating that the situation may catapult into a more serious kind, one must move away. Go for a walk, tune into some music or simply try deep breathing. This ‘cooling off’ period might just be for a few minutes or for a few days but it is essential; it is the time one takes to come back to a mature and calm conversation-like situation again. By doing so, we become ready to talk it out more mindfully, without any assumptions. And we may even get rewarded with uninterrupted listening and a resolution too.

Do not hit the bed angry

Type ‘never’ in Google and the first and the fastest result it shows is ‘never go to bed angry’! A study conducted in 2016 concluded that sleeping with a simmering issue leads to storing up of the event with negative memories associated to it. Dwelling on an issue that has lead to you being angry makes the entire sequence of events negative in the bigger picture.

While sleep is the way to calm our physically and mentally exhausted body and mind, doing so without resolving an issue keeps the frayed nerves taut, ready to bother you the minute you wake up. You start another day with a bad mood and a not so positive mindset. Another day gets spoiled, which could have otherwise been a day of immense possibilities.

Do not drive

While a long drive is leisurely and rather therapeutic for many of us, getting behind the steering wheel in a fit of rage is extremely dangerous. Not only does it put your own safety into jeopardy, it is equally dangerous for pedestrians and other vehicles. Driving requires an agile mind and good judgement skills. Anger inhibits both, posing extreme danger to you and those around.

Anger is known to give a person a tunnel vision—you stare straight ahead, blind to everything else. As a result, you may not be able to have a wholesome view and judgement of the situation, criterias that are extremely critical for safe driving.

So always cool yourself before you jump into a car and drive away.

Do not binge eat

How many times have you raided the refrigerator or your snack counter and gone on an unhealthy binge eating when stressed out or in a state of anger? An angry mind often compels us to reach out for food and we end up eating processed and packaged foods that eventually make our gut unhappy and us sick.

If you are the type who reaches for food while enraged, there is a high probability that you munch on high-sugar, high-fat, carbohydrate loaded comfort foods. This hugely compromises the mindful, healthy eating that you usually do. Further, Kathy Gruver, PhD and author of Conquer Your Stress With Mind/Body Techniques, emphasizes that a heightened sense of emotions ignites a ‘flight or fight’ response, that hugely impacts our gut health. So try your best to stay away from the kitchen or fridge the moment you lose your temper.

Do not vent

When extreme provocation strikes, all we want to do is vent or rant. And if we are not able to do it personally, we often choose our friends or social media to vent our anger. Although this may seem like a safe channel, the advise you might receive from these places are neither professional nor appropriate. In fact, it might just reinforce your anger without looking at the root cause of it.

Further, those who are going through your vent post may absorb the negativity and end up feeling angry themselves. Similarly, if you keep listening to vents from other people, you might reinforce a negative thought they are sharing.

So do take care when anger makes you go blind or wild. Learn to not let anger sweep you off your feet. It is extremely important to keep your reactions under control when bouts of anger engulf you. Remember that if you are able to let the wave of anger pass through, you will feel a renewed sense of calm and strength. Instead of letting anger overtake you, learn how to control your anger – following these donts is a good place to start.




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