Anger Management: Taking a Step Back

By | August 14, 2019

Repressed anger is worth avoiding, but what is the best way to deal with this common human emotion? We all feel angry from time to time, but rather than trying to divert our attention or suppress anger, a simpler approach is to take a step back and look at the given situation as though you’re an impartial observer. Easier said than done? Maybe, but the results are worth making an effort.

Health Effects of Repressed Anger

Anger not only causes such evident symptoms as higher blood pressure, heartburn, etc., but anger is also accompanied by stress. Stress can significantly affect our body’s self-healing abilities and is believed to be a direct factor in some 90% of all health disorders.

Anger Upsets Peace of Mind

The simplest way to remind myself that anger is really not the best course is this: Anger changes my balanced, peace of mind, which never improves my experience.

When we have trouble moving past anger, it’s all too quickly that we find ourselves rushing down the river without the proverbial paddle. It’s difficult to see clearly or to make sound decisions when the mind is clouded with the mental and physiological effects of anger.

Conventional Anger Management Strategies

Conventional remedies for the anger issue can be reduced to three rather ineffective strategies: suppression, expression and diversion.

The problem with any of these strategies is that the underlying cause of your anger is never addressed, thus, you’re not less likely to choose a different reaction in similar, future situations.

As we all know, bottling or diverting anger only tends to make it build to a boiling point. This may manifest as blowing up at someone else, and/or internally, as remorse and guilt.

In my opinion, expression of anger seems more useful than the other two options, but only so far as I’m able to learn from expressing my anger. If I end up just yelling at someone I may learn something but at the cost of hurting someone else and experiencing the related effects. To whom am I expressing my anger?

Expression Holds a Key

Ask yourself, “Why am I getting frustrated?” “How is this feeling affecting my perspective” “Why do I feel like this?”

Each of these questions will bring more questions. It can be useful to follow along this chain of introspection until one feels successful at having taken a step back.

What Do I Mean?

As one follows the chain of inquiry as to why anger is setting in, one very important thing happens: One sees that the various voices –facets of one’s psyche– answering the questions come from different places within the mind.

You may notice immediately that the quick, justification -type answers are emanating from the deeper subconscious parts of the mind. By staying calm the depths of the psyche stay clear as still water and we can better understand the roots of the anger we are feeling.

The Depths Seen Clearly

Staying calm and asking questions about the anger you’re feeling tends to shed light on deeper emotions. Long-standing hurt or anger may be more difficult to clear away, but using the same techniques and allowing yourself ample patience, can drastically improve anger levels and overall wellbeing.

Once you experiment with these inquiries into anger, you’ll find that the Observer perspective comes much more easily as we stretch and exercise these muscles. This, in turn, gives us better tools for each new experience we encounter.

Wonderful New Perspectives

When I’m successful at questioning my anger some wonderfully refreshing perspectives show themselves. For one, it’s so much easier to realize that rarely are people trying to make me angry. Getting angry is my response.

The truth is most people, in most situations, are doing the best they can with their own set of experiences and emotional framework. Oftentimes anger is a too-quick response to misunderstanding. He or she may not be able to understand your perspective simply because they have a different frame around their view of the world.

Try to explain your position. It doesn’t matter how many rounds of conversation it takes if the end result is better understanding. The next time you feel tempted toward a reaction of anger or frustration, take a step back and try to have each party clarify their position or feelings.

In the long run, you’ll be building a powerful habit and resource. Not only will you become angry less often, but you’ll be moving closer to understanding your mind, and so closer to Enlightenment.


The Good Men Project