Being able to manage your anger is an important life skill. Everyone has anger, it’s a normal emotion, and, like all emotions, it’s there to give us information. But how you respond to anger is the difference between living a good life and a nudge from the judge.
There are all sorts of things that trigger our anger during a day snarled traffic, a boss in a bad mood, an assistant who doesn’t do what they’re supposed to do, a difficult colleague, kids who won’t get ready for school on time, even a headache or an overheated room.
You can see how anger gives us information. For instance, if you’re getting heated up because the room temperature is too hot, or it’s too stuffy, then you know there’s a problem that hopefully, you can address. Getting some air in the room, lowering the temperature in the room, moving to another room, or taking off your jacket are some constructive ways to deal with this information. Lashing out at a colleague or making a poor decision because you can’t think straight are not good ways of dealing with this. The problem, though, is how to calm down enough to think straight.
We tend to get the most feelings of anger with loved ones. It’s ironic, isn’t it? But who do we care more about? And the outcomes are so important. If your partner has done something that makes you angry, it matters more than the traffic jam or the secretary, simply because we care more about the outcome, so our rheostat is set higher.
Also, some people just have an anger rheostat that is set higher. If you’re the kind that gets angry easily, you know this. Some people are just more laid back about things.
Learning how to manage your anger is an important life skill and is part of what we call emotional intelligence. There are other emotions, after all, that can cloud our thinking, cause us to self-sabotage, or harm others or ourselves. It all falls under the category of managing emotions intelligently.
If you’d like to learn more about managing anger, why not consider getting the full-meal-deal and learn about emotions in general where they come from, why they happen, what they are useful for, and how to respond, not react.
The strongest emotions (like anger) are the ones where we tend to have a knee-jerk reaction. We think we have no choice in what we do about them, and then we get in trouble. We can harm ourselves, others, or our important relationships.
If your boss insults you, there are really all sorts of options. You don’t have to lash out and jeopardize your job, or walk out and quit. You may WANT to do this, but it doesn’t mean you HAVE to. Other things you can do, if you can calm your anger, are: cut the boss some slack because you know he’s having a hard day; take a break and think it through; consider whether there are many good things about your paycheck, so don’t quit; talk it out with your boss at a quiet time; take a time-out and come back when you’re in a better frame of mind; keep quiet until you’re under control, or call a coach and vent.
Emotional intelligence and anger management are all about choices and making a better life for yourself and those around you. The more options you can find in a situation, the better off you are going to be, and in order to do this, you have to understand the anger and understand that you have choices, and what they are. It’s like having new tools, and more tools to do the job.
When anger happens, and you act like you’re a robot, with only one thing to do, you are very predictable to others. That’s also to your disadvantage. It’s well-known in the work world, like with negotiations or in depositions, that if you can make the other person angry, you have won. Why would you want to be a victim of your own anger? If you have a trigger-anger, always reacting to the same thing, people around you pick up on this and can use it to their advantage, and to your disadvantage. Unfortunately, this is a fact of life, and it happens. You can learn how to manufacture more options for yourself and quit losing your temper, your advantage, your job, and important relationships.
The most important thing about emotional intelligence is that it can be learned! Why wait?