During one of our Company Interventions wherein we focused on Emotion Management, I spoke about Anger Management.
That’s my favorite topic!
Very close to my heart …
Because it messed up with my mind, created havoc in my thought process and portrayed me as a totally different person over the years …
I still love exploring this area and talk about it often.
That’s because this is one of THE most important areas which contribute to our Emotional Wellbeing and helps us become happier in our lives.
In the olden days, people used to respect others more. When they came to know that a person was angry by nature, they usually took care not to trigger the anger in them. Not just that, they chose to look for the good in that person …
“This person is very angry by nature but is a good person. Anger is the only drawback!”
Now, atleast in recent times, that has not been the case.
People portray your weakness as much as possible.
They try to trigger you as much as possible.
They label you …
Only a handful of well-meaning people warn you of anger’s effect on your own selves, let alone others.
Life is not very kind these days. However, awareness about anger has increased multi-fold and that’s definitely a ray of transformation.
People get angry not by choice
People get angry by HABIT
People get angry by ignorance about their HABIT
Over the years, I have been curious to know more about this rather unpleasant state of being.
Once, I did attend a session on “Anger Management” in my past company. The trainer started by asking the audience
“What makes a person angry?”
Since it was a corporate audience listening to the session in their own company, the actual reasons never came out.
Only reasons which satisfied the trainer were shared.
I was not satisfied with what others shared and blurted out
“People who are in heavy financial debt are often angry because that
tension will be weighing heavily at the back of their minds!”
He gave a lame laugh, a sheepish smile and dismissed it as a “wrong reason”.
“It is a personal matter and has nothing to do with anger!” is what he remarked.
Naturally … he was the type who learnt these words by heart
“Hosilu daatidare, maneya samasye maneyalliye
bidabeku – including kopa!”
“When you leave home, you should leave your anger
due to a personal situation there itself!”
Theoretically, it’s true … but practically … is it possible?
I was not convinced with his reply.
According to me, being angry within but not showing it in the office is not called “Anger Management”. It’s instead called “One of the best ways to save your career but destroy your life.”
Anger Management done at the surface level is just Anger Suppression.
You never know when the piled-up anger spills out – at your home, in your office or in public.
I came to know the answer to my question a couple of years later.
Anger Management is not a technique.
It’s an indepth process!
What is this process about? How can we go about it? Let me share a few points based on my own experiences and some research findings.
This process is called A-N-G-E-R itself!
Let’s explore the steps now …
Be aware of your anger.
What is the level of your anger – like a water fountain, waves in the ocean or a tsunami?
If you are not comfortable using the power of analogy, measure yourself on a scale of 1 to 10.
Observe the pattern.
Explore the root cause.
Try not to talk or react in anger. Give yourself just a few secs.
I will tell you why …
Studies say that in the brain, the amygdala, the part of the brain that deals with emotion, is going crazy. It wants to do something, and the time between a trigger event and a response from the amygdala can be a quarter of a second.
But at the same time, blood flow is increasing to the frontal lobe, specifically the part of the brain that’s over the left eye. This area controls reasoning and is likely what’s keeping you from hurling a vase across the room. These areas generally balance each other out quickly. According to some research, the neurological response to anger lasts less than two seconds. This is why you get a lot of advice about counting to 10 when angry.
Grow Up Emotionally
There will be areas for each one of us to introspect and work on and anger is definitely one key area which directly affects our emotional balance.
The key is to accept it.
Immediately, what happens is you start experiencing freedom.
Freedom you have given yourself to change for the better.
You will start enjoying the process of positive change.
You will slowly start experiencing happiness in it’s true form and that’s when you know you have grown.
Emotions by themselves are not easy to manage. We may give lengthy lectures to others but when it does come to managing our own emotions, it is bound to be a huge challenge for sure.
Then, what is the best way to manage our emotions?
Practice managing emotions on a daily basis just like you go about doing your physical workout.
You can probably create a questionnaire for yourself.
Marshall Goldsmith says in his own words in one of his articles …
“Every day I challenge myself by answering 32 questions that represent behavior that I know is important, but is often easy to neglect. There is nothing magical about ‘32’. Just use the number that works for you.
Each question is put on an Excel spreadsheet and is answered with a ‘yes’ (use a 1 on the spreadsheet) and ‘no’ (use a 0) or a number. This exercise moves very quickly!
In my case, I pay a person to call me every day. She just listens to me read my questions and provide my answers.
One person asked me, “Why do pay someone to call you every day, just to listen to you read questions that you wrote and provide answers that you wrote. Don’t you know the theory about how to change behavior?”
I replied, “I wrote the theory. That’s why I pay someone to call me. I know how difficult this is to do one my own.”
Now, isn’t that incredible?
Rid Yourself Of Triggers
By now, you will surely be aware of various triggers.
Now, avoid them.
Sometimes, it will not be simple.
Still, work on it and get rid of them at any cost.
A client of mine had a very powerful trigger for her anger. It was due to a past incident or rather series of it. She was a victim of harassment in her workplace. She hated that colleague to the core. Even normal statements made by that colleague irritated her as she had associated a set of statements made by him as solely his statements.
Whenever she heard others making those even absolutely “non-harassment” kind of statements, she still flared up instantly. The reaction used to be so fast that she herself wouldn’t be able to figure out what was happening.
She could make out logically that the non-harassment statement was made by two different people in two totally different contexts. However, she could not do so emotionally.
The pattern she had developed very strongly was
Hear that statement? Get triggered and hence, flare up.
The solution to her predicament was that she had to give herself permission to break that pattern.
This is what she did …
On a piece of paper, she wrote what was bothering her/what she wanted to let go.
She burnt it and saw it going up in smoke. She repeated this activity for a few days.
This worked on her subconscious mind and gave her freedom from that unpleasant incident.
She never forgot the incident and she can recollect it even today. However, what shifted in her was that she could recollect it without getting disturbed, angry or worried about it.
It din’t affect her anymore!
As you see, anger management is not a technique. It’s a process wherein you work on yourself and gift yourself your best version.
You may fail several times along the way. However, it’s still okay.
With practice, you will surely start noticing a positive change.
Each and every trigger will have a history attached to it.
Explore, Work on it and make the trigger itself History!