Christian Bale was filming a scene of Terminator in 2009 when suddenly he bursted into anger toward his own director of photography for
walking into the set and therefore ruining his concentration. His outburst was quite a sight since he was also include curse words, insults, and threats in his angry speech.
Unfortunately for him, the accident was recorded and leaked to the public. Medias were having a blast from his misfortune (because, gossip!) and some comedy program used it as running joke.
In just moment, Christian Bale lost a reputation and public respect due to failure in controlling his anger.
Do you also see him as someone not worth to respect?
Do you also think he has problem with his attitude?
Or maybe… actually you understand why he did that?
Have you ever feel so angry at everything and finally someone cross a line, and you just want to flip over and give them a taste of your fury?
If you have, don’t worry.
It doesn’t mean you have anger problem.
Anger is a perfectly normal emotion that human can’t ever get away from.
It only becomes a problem when you don’t control it. It becomes a problem when you stop just feeling the anger and start lashing out, either with abusive and hurting word or worse, action.
The good news is, you can control your anger.
Or the more accurate phrase is, you have responsibility to control your anger.
Why? Because anger can hurt other people, whether emotionally or physically.
Anger can also hurt yourself. Remember Christian Bale hurt his reputation and dignity with uncontrolled anger.
A quick temper will make a fool of you soon enough. (Bruce Lee)
We want to help you and show you how to deal with stress and anger, so you can save yourself and people around you from it.
That’s why we prepared this guide for you. We will start with understanding why can you get angry in the first place.
Why do you get angry?
I know there are many things that can make people irritated or angry. Or at least, I know that for me there are.
A packed commuting trip, severe traffic jam, annoying bosses and co-workers, rude people is enough to put me in a cloudy mood.
Basically, a stressing situation can tire me out.
Maybe you feel the same?
And then when stress keep piling up without release, you just don’t know how to deal with stress and anger anymore and burst.
did You Know?
People often says that it’s healthy to vent your anger and just let it out.
The truth is, it is only healthy if your release it in a way that won’t hurt other people, like doing light physical activities or get a massage.
But, if you vent it in aggressive way like by insulting other people or offend them in aggressive way, then it is not healthy because you take pleasure from seeing other people getting hurt.
In fact, if you release your anger in a harsh way, it only fuel the emotion inside of you and it will be harder to calm yourself down.
Anger and stress are related, because anger can be a form of your ‘fight’ reaction when your mind and body get into ‘fight or flight’ mode during stress.
Maybe some of you will say that you can’t help yourself because it’s out of your control. Maybe you feel like you have short fuse already since young.
But what if you just misunderstand the situation?
It’s not that anger is something you can’t control. It is true that you can’t control the cause of your anger but you have full control to the way you express that anger.
You can control whether to express your anger in destructive or constructive way when you understand how anger happens in your body.
There is a part in your brain called frontal lobe where it is charged with the task of making decision, solving problems, and choosing behavior to display. When you’re angry, blood rushes to the frontal cortex, making it ineffective in performing it task.
Meaning: you can’t make decision, can’t solve problem, and can’t choose your behavior. So you can either shout at people at the top of your lungs or even crying when you’re angry.
This will be continued when your adrenal glands starts secreting cortisol and adrenaline – hormone associated with stress and anger – giving you more energy. As result, your body will tense as it prepares to fight to release that energy. Your blood pressure and heart rate will increases as well.
With added energy and clouded mind, can you still control your anger? The answer is, you can – depends on how well you control your mind even when it is cloudy.
Fear not, because we’ll give you some tips on how to deal with stress and anger.
How to deal with your stress and anger?
Here we will tell you how to deal with stress and anger in a constructive way.
There are the quick way and the long term way to deal with stress and anger.
Quick fix on how to deal with stress and anger
You can use these quick fixes when you’re in the middle of (or about to) expressing your anger.
First, recognize your anger. This is important because some people don’t even realize that they’re angry before they lash out.
Like sickness, anger also have symptoms. You can feel your heart beast faster and you breathe more quickly. This is your body preparing your ‘fight’. You may feel knots in your stomach, tension in your shoulders, and find yourself unconsciously clenching your hands or jaw.
When you understand that you’re in state of anger, quickly regain control over your mind by doing either one of these:
First, you can breathe slowly. When you’re angry, UK National Health Service says that you automatically breathe in more than out when angry. So, to return your body to normal, even out that effect by breathe out longer. Do it slowly and it will calm you down.
Second, if you still can’t calm down, leave and move. Help Guide says light exercise can release your pent up energy so you can cool down your head. Take a 5 minutes walk around your block is very easy and effective.
Third, stretch and massage the tension in your body. Remember when you get angry your shoulders tense. You can roll them. You can also give a light massage to your neck and scalp. This relaxes your body and lower your inclination to burst. You can also release the extra energy from your anger in other easy and harmless way, such as pressing a stress ball.
Four, you can also visualize peace. When you recognize the symptoms of your anger – that can range from a feeling that you can’t think straight, to seeing red, to increasing heartbeat and breathing, to shaking hands, close your eyes and imagine a calming place.
It can be a green tropical forest with the sounds of bird chirping, a wide and quiet beach with its gentle breeze and warm sunshine, or beautiful meadow with little houses and cattle.
Five, express your anger in harmless way. You need to get that excess energy out and get that blood in your head go back down. Choose a tension releasing activities that won’t hurt other people. You can either pacing back and forth in your room, typing your frustration away in your computer, or even go to the bathroom and wash your face to cool down the blood in your head.
Lately, there is special merchandise to cater this purpose in office: stress ball. Squeezing stress ball can make you release those pent up energy without you needing to control your mind much. Invest in durable stress ball such as Teacher Peach I Think I Can or Hengsong Humorous Face Top.
Anger management for long term
Now that you know how to deal with stress and anger in instant outburst, it’s time to take a further step: practicing anger management in a long term.
Basically, you should practice this so it becomes a habit and you can learn to control your anger before it happens.
First, find the real reason of your anger.
Do you know that when you get angry, often the anger itself is not your real feeling?
Dr James Woollard, Clinical Leadership Fellow at Oxleas NHS Foundation Trust, says that when people talk about anger, actually they means aggression.
It is just a defense from another feeling that you feel.
This feeling may range from fear, hurt, vulnerability, insecurity, or embarrassment.
When you recognize your real feeling, this will be the key to decide your next action. So, when you face the stressing situation, instead of getting angry, you can focus your ‘fight’ mode into other action – finding solution.
For example, you get angry because your wife overspend with her shopping. You recognize that you are actually afraid you won’t be able to pay them. You then can shift your focus to find the solution – for example, by asking your wife to join you in making budget – instead of lashing out and shouting at your wife.
Just because you’re angry, doesn’t mean you have the right to be cruel. (Anonymous)
Second, change your vocabulary.
In a stressful situation, there are some words you should avoid saying or even thinking to remain calm.
This is words that can makes you feel bad, some examples are ‘it’s not fair’, ‘you always do that’, ‘you never listen’, ‘you shouldn’t be like this’.
This words can actually make you feel the situation is worse and make you blame other people for it. Avoiding them can avoid triggering your anger.
Of course for every person there are other words that can make them feel bad. Recognize what words that you should avoid yourself.
Third, always remind yourself about the stake.
Remember what a moment of anger can cost you: reputation, respect, and even relationship. Keep telling yourself that it’s not worth it.
Imagine your boss or coworker getting angry at you instead and observe your feeling. Are you feel angry back at them? Do you lose your respect for them? Do you think he is not competent as a worker and not decent as a human being?
Now, remind yourself that those thought are exactly what other people think when you get unreasonably angry with them.
Speak when you are angry and you’ll make the best speech you’ll ever regret. (Ambrose Brierce)
Be willing to forgive people for their mistake and learn to know when to let something go. Sometimes you just have to agree to disagree.
Engage in activities that can practice your calmness. Creative activities like painting and writing is amazing answer for how to deal with stress and anger. If painting or writing is too much for you, you can start with a milder activity like coloring adult coloring book such as this Release Your Anger Adult Coloring Book.
And if after all of that effort you still have difficulty in controlling anger, then it is okay to seek help from other people. There are many anger management therapy and class. Choose the practice that is already licensed.
And if the therapy and classes can’t help you, it is also okay to seek help from professional such as a psychologist.
Are you the better man who knows how to deal with stress and anger?
When you finally understand how to deal with stress and anger, you will gain more than you expect.
When people see that you are not easily offended and angry, they will respect you and therefore more willing to listen to you and accommodate your needs.
They will not be afraid to get close to you and offers different viewpoints – this can make your insight grow larger and you can see things from new perspective. Your relationship with either family, friends, or co-workers will be more stable and harmonious.
In the end, it’s very rewarding both for yourself and people around you when you become a cool person in dealing with your stress and anger.
So, are you ready to be that ‘cool person’?
Share your plan to be ‘cool’ or tell us your experience about dealing with anger in the comment below.