Have you ever thrown a fit at your boyfriend, shouted at your mom, or said something incredibly mean to your best friend just because you were caught up in a moment of anger? I know I have. When something infuriates you, it’s just very gratifying to hurl out with all you’ve got. I act out a lot in anger, by raising my voice or saying something hurtful. Hours later I would usually be punching myself on the inside for doing something so rash and stupid, and for hurting those so close to me.
Time and time again I would tell myself I needed to control my anger, but time and time again I would get so mad I could not think rationally anymore. I realise this is a problem, and it’s not a problem only I face. Numerous riots are incited over small issues. Entire groups of people would shun others without truly contemplating what it all means. Remember Kiki, the girl who succumbed to an incredible bout of road rage a few months ago? Anger plays a huge role in all this.
Today is the International Day of Peace. While we can’t solve all of the world’s conflicts, we do believe that change begins in ourselves. Ask yourself this: if everyone in the world would stop to think for a second before reacting in anger, what would it be like now?
Anger is destructive, to your personal relationships, to your health and to your outlook on life. Here’s how you could keep a rein on it:
1. Think before you say or do anything
This is easier said than done, but try to consider all the factors before you burst out in anger. Ask yourself questions like, “why is this making you angry?”, “will getting upset over this solve the issue?”, “will I regret this outburst?”. These questions should help put your anger in perspective so you can address the underlying causes in a calm manner.
According to Jerry Deffenbacher, a psychologist who specialises in anger management, everyone’s anger threshold is unique, and some people just get angry easier and more intensely than others . But this doesn’t mean you have to succumb to it. If you find something getting on your nerves, take a deep breath (from your diaphragm), and keep taking deep breaths. Think positive or relaxing thoughts while breathing in and out and after five cycles you should feel calmer . Practise this technique daily and you’ll soon be the master of zen.
3. Talk (not shout) it out
Ever gotten into a huge fight with your partner over the smallest, most insignificant thing? Angry people, running high on emotions, tend to jump to conclusions which aren’t always accurate. If your partner made a remark about your long working hours, should you lash out and scream at them for not being supportive or wanting all your time to themselves? Or maybe, if you’ve taken the time to calmly hear their side of the story, you’ll realise that they might be feeling neglected or worried for your health? Our anger is directed by our view on things, but sometimes getting another point of view can help give a different, more accurate perspective to it. So talk about it.
4. Walk away
If you don’t trust yourself to not lose your temper, stepping away from the situation could help. Excuse yourself (politely) and go for a walk or something. Time away from the situation will give you a moment to compose yourself and get some clarity. You’ll probably realise that you don’t really have to leave that nasty, shouty Facebook comment after all.
5. Think big picture
When you feel that you’re getting fired up, ask yourself, “Will this matter in 10, 20, 30 years?” Most of the time when we get really worked up over the smallest of things, and asking yourself that question will help you realise that.
I used to get into a lot of heated arguments with my mom and we’d shout at each other for a while until one of us cracks up. When someone starts laughing (in a genuine, non-sarcastic manner), the heat somehow dissipates and we get over the anger. Turns out, that’s the trick experts use too. According to Emil Coccaro, MD, chair of the department of psychiatry at the University of Chicago, you can startle yourself out of rage with humour. For example, try imagining the person who’s infuriating you standing there stark naked, with a bird pooping on their face. 
Anger, when repressed, can actually lead to problems in your body — from psychological issues to heart disease. This doesn’t mean that you should go punching everyone who annoys you in the face. Instead, you should try redirecting your fury into something that can help you release tension. Find what suits you best. It could be dancing, running, hitting a punching bag, or even screaming like a hyena on the top of a hill .
8. Think logically
Logic trumps anger, always. Anger is explosive, and your thoughts leading to it is often exaggerated and overly dramatic. If you’re always thinking along the lines of “this stupid LRT is NEVER on time!”, “she NEVER listens to me!”, “he’s ALWAYS like that”, you have to hit pause and think again. Because only isn’t it inaccurate, it helps you justify your anger and alienate people. Instead of telling yourself “this is horrible, it’s the worst thing ever, I hate it!”, you’d do better to tell yourself that “the situation is annoying and it’s okay to be upset about it, but will this matter on my death bed? Will being frustrated solve anything?” Don’t get caught up in the moment, think with logic.
At the end of the day, there will be things that’ll make you mad, frustrate you, and annoy the heck out of you. Life is full of ups and downs, and there definitely will be trying times. You can choose to let these events affect you and consume you with anger, or you can choose to manage your anger and come out stronger and happier. The choice is yours.