Anger is one of many emotions we have to express ourselves when we feel wronged. While showing signs of anger can have a place and purpose, (such as protesting, or speaking up for a social cause, standing up to a bully), most of the time, we misuse anger. When we misuse anger, the anger gets turned against ourselves, and does not solve what we were trying to accomplish (such as having the last word in an argument with a spouse).
To reduce or even eliminate anger within yourself, it is vital to explore its root causes. Anger can linger on for many years without any awareness of it. In order to break the cycle of holding on to anger, you will first need to identify situations, thoughts, feelings that trigger your anger. Also, you need to gain a better understanding of what anger looks like, feels like and seems like to you. You will learn how to typically react to anger in different scenarios, and reflect how anger has been a set back for effective problem solving.
Once you have been able to implement new ways to react to anger provoking situations, you now have opened a beautiful window of opportunity to replace old behaviors with new ones which will make your life lighter and more enjoyable. Repeating the new desired response to anger provocation with healthier responses, will allow you to reinforce these strategies until they become second nature to you.
There is an old Buddhist saying, “Let go, or be dragged.” When we hold grudges, harbor resentment, or explosively react with irrational words, we carry the negative consequences of carrying around the anger with us wherever we go. It’s much easier to go through life without the need to respond with anger, but rather with the ability to be patient, non-judgmental, empathic, and accepting, communicative, rational, peaceful, friendly, and task-oriented.
One of the best ways to resolve anger is to talk about it. Venting anger is very cathartic. By talking through the different aspects of anger, you can expand your awareness of the negative effects anger has had on your emotional, spiritual and physical health. There are many useful techniques to achieve anger reduction. One example is the “self-discipline” technique where you can use the power of freedom of choice to choose not to be angry. This takes courage and lots of mindfulness, but it can be done. The more open you are to trying the techniques you learn, you will feel like you have more respect for yourself and those you interact with. When you have more respect for yourself and others, the more you will be able to appreciate the benefits of reacting to what was once an anger provoking situation with greater balance and regulation of your emotions.
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