“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.” – The Buddha
Anger is a powerful emotion that everyone experiences. But not everyone knows how to acknowledge it, let alone manage it. Unruly outbursts of anger can hurt someone, something, or yourself. According to a 2018 US survey, when questioned about their previous day, one in five Americans reported feeling angry a lot, same as the global average. While on one hand, when not handled properly, anger may have destructive results for you and those closest to you. It can lead to arguments, physical fights, frightened people, physical abuse, assault, self-harm, and even damage relationships. On the other hand, well-managed anger can be a useful emotion that motivates you to make positive changes.
An emotion as elemental as happiness and sadness, anger tied to our survival and growth, which has been honed over the long course of human evolution. Related to the “fight, flight, or freeze” response of the sympathetic nervous system, it enables humans to fight and defend themselves. But this fighting doesn’t necessarily mean physical altercations; it could also motivate a community to fight against injustice and demand new reforms.
The long-term effects of uncontrolled anger are not just emotional or on your relationships. Disruptive anger also affects your physical health with frequent headaches, high blood pressure, insomnia, and even depression. Prolonged release of the stress hormone that accompanies anger can destroy neurons leading to short-term memory, and a weakened immune system. In this feature, Soulveda presents you strategies with which you can move through anger in a healthy and productive way.
When channelised appropriately and in the right direction, anger can become an extremely powerful motivating force. The most straightforward thing to do is simply direct the energy towards a task–any task–that can keep you from venting violently. Anger is capable of pushing you towards your goals. Use anger as the driving force and prove to those doubting your abilities that you can you overcome all obstacles and emerge a winner. Use anger as the push to run that extra mile in the morning or work overtime for that incomplete project. Anger, when applied effectively, can lead to boundless productivity.
When you are angry, you are determined, that resolute is either for success or vengeance, whichever it may be, you want it as quickly as possible. Instead of venting it out in violent or aggressive ways, take the rage you feel and turn it into a plan for the future, dedicated to your betterment. Don’t let all that energy go to waste. Device a 5-year plan and work towards it. Plan now to live more successfully later.
Artists and musicians are best known to turn anger into something positive, energetic, and cathartic. Art needs energy and if your anger isn’t applied to something, it may turn into blind rage. Art doesn’t just have to be painting or drawing, it can be music, poems, writing, woodwork, automobile customisation. There are so many artists that have become immensely successful and famous because they have channelled their anger into something creative and energetic. American rock band, Nirvana, is one of the fine examples of artists using anger as a driving force, subtly showcasing it in their characteristic dynamic, quite to loud music style.
Anger for the betterment of your relationships
Arguments and frustrations are all part of being in a relationship, as long as there’s no physical violence and abuse involved. Anger is a natural reaction when you feel wronged. It is a way to communicate the injustice experienced. But suppressing that anger can be detrimental. If your partner does something that upsets and angers you, not expressing it in any way may lead to frustration and resentment, affecting your relationship adversely. Instead, aim your anger at finding a solution and for strengthening your relationship. Find a justifiable mean to communicate that anger and hurt to better understand each other.
“The angry man is aiming at what he can attain, and the belief that you will attain your aim is pleasant.” – Aristotle
It may come as a surprise, but anger is capable of triggering optimism. As Aristotle suggests, anger as a powerful emotion encourages you to focus on what you hope to achieve instead of focusing on the hurt or insult behind it. Enraged, you feel determined to push yourself towards the attainable, never hoping and wishing for the impossible. Anger makes us look at situations differently, what may have seemed too hard earlier now appears within reach, empowering you to take action and turn your unfavourable circumstances to favourable.
Frequent outbursts of anger can compel you to search within for answers and solutions. Analysing the reason behind your temper and disappointment can provide insights into your faults and shortcomings. It makes anger a gateway for positive outcomes in your relationship and life in general. Remember—we are all human and sometimes anger gets the better of us. But just because you allow yourself to be angry doesn’t mean you also have to let anger control you. You also have to understand that just like you, other people make mistakes as well. So, in order to turn anger into positive energy you have to first forgive yourself and then forgive others as well. Make anger your fuel and motivation for all things positive. Try these techniques and practice them in your own life to deal with anger more constructively and put yourself in control of your anger.
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