Managing anger can be a challenge.
You might feel powerless to resist it when the red mist comes down.
But if you express your anger at something as soon as you feel it, then it can often end badly.
You might say things you don’t really mean or express yourself poorly.
When you’re riding the waves of anger, you’re not in a position to think through what you’re doing or saying before you do it or say it.
You can end up making the situation worse rather than better.
Yet, despite what a lot of people might think, anger can be a good thing.
It’s not a bad emotion that we should avoid at all costs.
Sometimes, it’s right and important to get angry about things.
If we never let ourselves get angry, and bottle that anger up instead, then it can cause big problems in the long term.
Yet, your anger can be a force for positive change.
The majority of changes, whether small changes to one person’s life or significant changes to society, result from anger or frustration in some way, shape, or form.
But if you don’t express it in the right way, it can be problematic.
Anger can produce positive results only when it’s harnessed and channelled, with purpose, focus, preparation, and planning.
If you’re fed up of letting your anger get the better of you, it’s time to take control.
These tips should help you take hold of the anger you feel and use it for good.
1. Acknowledge your anger.
Let’s be clear: anger isn’t a negative emotion.
It’s a natural emotion that we all experience on a regular basis.
Anger serves an important evolutionary process because it helps to protect us from danger.
Whenever you experience anger, you shouldn’t just squash it or dismiss it.
You need to face up to it and feel it, whilst also questioning where it comes from and what it means.
2. Decide whether this is really something worth getting angry about.
Lots of things can annoy or anger us in this life.
The key is to pick your battles.
You can’t turn everything that winds you up into a crusade.
You can recognize the emotion, and acknowledge it, but you don’t need to let your behavior be dictated by it.
You need to recognize the difference between things that you can change in this life, and things that are totally beyond your control.
Could channelling your anger about a certain situation achieve anything positive?
Could you turn your anger into a force for good?
Could it have a positive outcome?
Or is it something that you have no control over?
Would trying to struggle against it be a waste of your time?
It’s important to only allow ourselves to feel anger over situations we can change, rather than external factors like a missed bus, which will only cause us stress and anxiety.
3. Take some time to breathe.
Anything that you do in the heat of the moment is unlikely to be productive or positive.
It’s hard to think straight or communicate clearly when you’re angry.
Anger fills you with energy. It makes you feel like you need to act straight away.
But if you can resist the temptation to do so, you’re more likely to be able to react in a positive, productive way once you’ve calmed down.
If you’ve been made angry by a text or something you’ve seen online, try to take some time out and respond later on.
If it’s something that’s happening in the moment that’s bothering you, it might seem like you have to react immediately.
Just remember: even if someone is standing right in front of you waiting for an answer, you can still take a few seconds to breathe and consider your true feelings rather than giving a knee-jerk response.
Just don’t take too long to respond or take action, or you might lose some of the energy that could be channelled positively.
4. Think about what it is you’re really angry about.
When you’re feeling angry about something, it’s important to get to the bottom of what it really is that’s pushing your buttons.
Only by identifying the root of your anger can you channel it into positive change by taking action, either in response to this specific issue, or toward something else.
It might be that, on the surface, it seems like the problem is one thing…
…but when you start analyzing it, you realize that your anger stems from another source entirely.
5. Mull it over whilst you exercise.
If you’re struggling to uncover the reason why you’re feeling this way and how you could use it positively, exercise could be the answer.
There’s nothing like getting your heart rate up to calm you down.
Your finest moments of inspiration about how to move forwards will often come when you’re exercising and your mind is clear and focused.
6. Use your anger to create positive change.
Anger can be a great motivator.
There might be changes you want to make to your life that you never actually make out of fear or complacency.
Anger can be the catalyst to finally overcome that fear or inertia.
You might use your anger to throw yourself into that new project or finally leave the job you hate.
For example, it might be the 10th sarcastic comment of the day from a toxic coworker that makes you commit to searching for a new job.
Anger can make way for the passion or enthusiasm that you need to create the life you’ve been dreaming of.
7. Prove your doubters wrong.
If your anger stems from someone not believing in your potential or ability, then it could give you the boost you need to prove them wrong.
Don’t dwell on how they’ve made you feel, but focus your energies on proving to yourself, as much as to them, that they underestimated you.
8. Get involved in movements for positive change.
Anger can create positive change in your own life.
It can also help you to create positive change in the wider world.
Some of the most important and positive changes in society have been driven by anger about injustice.
Educate yourself about the topics that matter to you and seek out organizations and movements you can get involved in.
You contributions, however small they might seem to you, are a positive step in the right direction.
If we all do our bit to right the wrongs we see in our societies, we can, between us, create a better world.
9. Plan for the future.
Use the anger you’re feeling now to envisage a better life for yourself in the future.
Use it to plan how you’re going to turn that vision into a reality.
Take all that energy and determination and use it to picture how you’d like to live one year or five years from now.
Then follow that plan to move forwards with purpose, letting your angry energy propel you.
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