“I am a kind person and don’t lose my cool. I was patient for so long, and then I lost it. I could not control my temper. How can I get so angry? Why did I lose it so bad? How did it go beyond me?” – Have you experienced this?
Most of us, at some point, have experienced this uncontrollable anger which took us by shock. It’s as if some other person took over our loving and caring being.
You know at times, anger does help you get work done, but most of the times irritation causes damage than repair.
Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned - Buddha
Cons of anger:
- Anger has the potential to disrupt your positive flow of the day.
- Anger has the potential to ruin the day for those around you and impacts relationships.
- Anger harms your immunity and health
- Suppressed anger increases stress levels.
- Anger impacts decision-making ability
No one decides to get angry. Who starts the day thinking, today I will get mad? Yet anger makes its way. So why does one lose it?
I want to share my example and walk you through the daily practice to stop anger from getting the better of you.
Situation: There is construction happening right next to my house. Noise part of it goes beyond 7:00 pm. (As per our residential area rules, the noise-related activities should stop at 7:00 pm)
I am tolerant through the day but lose it after 7:00 pm. The noise starts affecting me, I get angry, my stress levels rise, and I am unable to calm myself down. Somehow whatever helped me tolerate the noise before 7:00 pm does not work after 7:00 pm. WHY? There has got to be something in there.
Out came the journal and a cup of tea. I sat with the question “Why does it bother me after 7:00 pm?”
Slowly it all started making sense. I value honesty. Faithful obedience of society rules & regulations helps create harmony for everyone. After 7:00 pm, the noise begins attacking my core belief & value system. That’s when I become sensitive to it. After 7:00 pm, the sound is an attack on all sacrifices I make for following rules & regulations.
I then started reflecting on all the other moments of anger, and I found this common thread. When my values & core belief system is under threat, I have an anger outburst. At times, it is a vocal outburst with another person; sometimes it’s an internal outburst and many times it remains suppressed.
How to stop this anger? How to manage anger? Reflection and deep contemplation led me to the formation of three steps to help keep the harmful effects of anger at bay.
Here is a 3 step system that can help.
Step 1: Identify your value system
E.g. My topmost values are honesty, sincerity, clarity, patience and compassion.
Step 2: Frame an affirmation that allows you to let go of threats to your value system.
E.g. I believe in honesty towards rules. Not everyone does. To each his own. It’s all okay.
I believe in sincere work. Not everyone does. To each his own. It’s all okay.
I believe in having clarity about the next steps of work. Not everyone does. To each his own. It’s all okay.
I believe in having patience. Not everyone does. To each his own. It’s all okay.
Step 3: Visualize/Recall what happened in the day that was a potential threat to your value system & repeat the affirmations above.
E.g. The construction noise went beyond legally permitted hours – a threat to my values of honesty & sincerity.
I saw people roaming around without a mask – a threat to my values of honesty & sincerity.
I received mixed instructions related to a project – a threat to my value of clarity.
I have started practicing this three-step system. My acceptance of the situation has improved. It’s not that I don’t get angry, but the anger does not impact me as much as it did before.
Next time you get angry, pause and reflect what belief or value was at threat?
This 3 step system helps to stop the anger from brewing or makes it weak. The chances of outburst and negative impacts of anger are reduced. Do give it a try and leave your thoughts too...