We are sometimes posed with situations in our lived experiences that infuriate us. Incompetency in our work environments, people that we think simply push our buttons, and group-work where we’re sometimes the only ones making contributions are just a few examples in a sea of several instances that can arouse anger within us. Just as emotions like happiness and pride exist within the plane of human existence, ones like anger ‘do too! We’re not going to typecast these as ‘positive’ or ‘negative’, because every emotion has its own purpose when it finds need to manifest itself within a situation. However, even though every emotion is needed, there are certain ways that we, as level-headed individuals, need to deal and negotiate our emotions in an eloquent manner in order to balance our inner mental states to equilibrium.
When we feel anger, there comes a certain feeling of ‘strength’ with it. This strength is only illusory, and is a natural reaction to being annoyed or angry, since when these emotions rouse and manifest within us, adrenaline is released, which provides us with a rush of energy. If we’re especially aggressive in temperament, we might even want to knock someone out of their senses, and take the situation to a realm that involves a lot of knuckle sandwiches. However, this ‘strength’ arises from the changes that occur in the composition of our physical inner self, and is usually associated with warding off a threat external to us from the evolutionary perspective.
The paradox of anger comes into play here. If we feel so much inner strength, why is it that someone external to us seems so threatening , merely through their words or actions? It is thus clear that this ‘strength’ is only biochemical, and is something we need to learn how to negotiate, by learning that a display of aggression is not a solution to any problem. Dealing with it calmly is probably the best bet!
Anger is something that makes us want to experience a catharsis of emotion instantaneously. It’s like a volcano that is active; ready to spew lava and burn the opposing party. However, we need to understand that even though words are merely words; what people think of them can lead to a bout of aggression, which can strain relationships unnecessarily. Reacting to what is said to us immediately by forming a quick perception without thinking about the consequences is what often leads to these social strains. In order to keep our cool and maintain our relationships with people, we need to be assertive and not aggressive. Aggression may be a way to deal with our innermost emotions, but it surely isn’t the best way to. It can lead to more problems than solutions, and that’s why most say that assertiveness is the best route.
People often mistake that an intense display of aggression will get them what they want. We’ve discussed assertiveness before, and it can be put to good use here. When we can negotiate our anger through assertiveness, by simply stating how we feel in a calm, composed manner, it enables us to bring to the table a possibility to peacefully negotiate situations that cause us some form of distress or annoyance.
Thus, it’s clear that we need to practice the pause whenever we feel like we’re going to erupt with anger. Before saying something unpleasant, think to yourself ; ‘Am I going to gain anything by saying something unpleasant? Is it going to cause considerable distress to someone else?’ When we’re able to ask ourselves these questions, we often realize that posing our thoughts in a calmer manner is probably the best way to deal with situations like these. We need to understand what anger means to us. If it is something that we think will get us what we want, or lead us to solve a situation, it’s pretty clear that we need to reframe the way we perceive the way this emotion works.
Practice the pause; don’t let your anger overcome you. It’s probably what’ll make you the bigger person.
An undergraduate in Psychology, Shantanu is an aspiring Educational Psychologist who will be pursuing his Master’s in 2018 at the Ohio State University. He is adept with psychometric and statistical research, and has honed his grasp over psychology through a 4 year undergraduate course in Liberal Education at FLAME University, Pune.