Anger is tricky, powerful and very seductive emotion. It can make you do a lot of things, both good and bad, but depending on how your mind works, you are more likely to fall on the bad side.
This powerful emotion had been used properly since the dawn of civilization, but it seems to have lost its meaning in the present civilized world. Its roles seem to lead to more counterproductive and, often times, harmful results. I have seen examples of traditions who use anger productively, for example, the Maasai tribe in Tanzania usually use emotions of anger during their rituals dances and hunting. One has to get into a very excited state to participate in these activities. And they use it productively because they have been trained so since childhood.
However, until today, this very emotion is still a source of creativity to some and source of misery to others. Why is that others fails to get the best out of it? Is there something behind this powerful emotion that they miss out? Austin Kleon in his book, Steal Like An Artist, observed, anger is one of my favorite creative resources. I don’t waste my anger in complaining or lashing out at people, I try to channel it into writing and my drawing.
Some people are more impetuous than others. Some people are quicker to anger than others. In the end, to use your own emotions towards the productive ends is all about how you keep your composure amidst turbulence – and that’s what counts.
Why Is Anger Necessary
There are so many reasons why you must be angry at times, but in this article I would like to share with you my two reasons why anger is so important in your journey through life, only if you could turn it to a productive power within you. Here is what anger taught me so far:
1. You stay focused
Anger is a habit, and as an emotion, it has a greater chance of stimulating your subconscious mind than you could ever imagine. Don’t anger and attempt to suppress it. It won’t work well, and in most cases it will backfire. Rather, learn to direct your emotions towards what leads to productive than destructive outcomes. Anger must be expressed constructively. I don’t encourage you to suppress it, unless of course if suppressing it is the only productive choice for you.
I know you don’t become completely insane when you are angry. You still have your mind to think and decide between the right and wrong. If you can’t think when you are angry, then that is bad because you have conditioned yourself to act impulsively for quite sometime. That trend can change when you take simple practice to change the pattern in your mind. And the best part is, when you replace the destructive pattern with the creative one, magic starts happening.
Contrary to popular belief, when you are angry, your mind stay focused and fixed on only one thing – that which annoys you. This way, the brain crystallizes and redirects all your attention to one thing. This is how you get to stay focused, streamline your ideas, and channel them for best results. This is how you impress your subconscious mind.
Whenever you learn something completely new, it’s always hard at first. There are more failures and a few successes. That is how anger makes my blood boil in me. These trivial failures make me so angry that I can hardly lose focus of what I have at hand. At times, to maintain my sanity, I take deliberate momentary breaks and came back to ponder on the same problem. It’s such an unnerving experience but my anger wouldn’t let me quit. Guess what? I never allow my ego to get on the way. The angrier I get the more efforts I put. The more efforts I put the more I discover the flaws and the more I learn.
Finally, I grasp the meaning of my anger – It’s the only way to singlemindedly focus on what I am doing. And it is the core source of creativity in me. I can’t deny it, but anger always makes me thrive. I don’t get angry at people. I get angry at things, knowledge and goals. I want them done, and they finally give way to their attainment.
2. The Best Way To Bring and Accept Major Changes
“Usually when people are sad, they don’t do anything. They just cry over their condition. But when they get angry, they bring about a change.” – James Russell Lowell
Sometimes anger crowds our mind so bad that we fail to see the plain truth before our very eyes. But this is important, after the anger dissipates, our minds become more receptive to changes and we are more able to accept the inevitable. This happens in so many occassions, especially when you lose something so precious and immesurable. That brings pain and pain turns to anger.
I remember the moment when I lost my father, I had just turned 13. It was so painful and later it turned to anger. I don’t know exactly what was I angry at, but I think I was angry at everything emotional about life – especially love and loss. I felt powerless before death and the feeling that I couldn’t do much was so perplexing to an extent of making me dwell on it for days at a time. My mind was stuck and I couldn’t think otherwise. I was trying to think of one thing that has troubled man since the beginning of life – and that is mystery around death. But it was that anger that drove me that far.
Finally, I had to accept what I couldn’t change. I understood that, no matter how angry I could get, something couldn’t be fixed and life couldn’t be restored. A damage is already done and I had to learn to live with the past while embracing my bright future. Since then, I became more accepting of circumstances and more open minded pertaining to life, sharing, love, loss and death. Anger took me through a wild ride of life. I learnt the good, the bad, and the ugly that embodied life.
Eventually, I was so grateful because that very anger made me appreciate every moment in life and love it even more than I ever could without going through that episode. I learnt how important is it to be independent, focused and more responsible for myself and those around me.
Anger is a source of change, but a change comes when you learn to accept the inevitable, that is the truth. You may get angry, but it won’t help. You’ll finally get to cope with your emotions and live with it. This happens in all areas of life, and someday you’ll face it, and when you do, don’t suppress your anger, accept it as a normal emotion that is there to help you change something big in your life. Anger is there to let you explore more choices around you.
Get angry and get things done. Don’t direct your anger to those people around you, they are the only ones you need when the going gets so hard.
How to Manage Your Anger
We aren’t taught how to handle our anger, instead we are suggested to suppress it. Does it help? I don’t know, I have always seen more problems with that tactic so far. I have better ways to help you or anyone else who’s angry and needs help.
“Beware of him that is slow to anger; for when it is long coming, it is the stronger when it comes, and the longer kept. Abused patience turns to fury.” – Francis Quarles
There are various ways of managing anger. Some like to express it simply and others loudly. Some love holding it so long and eventually it eats them up, they finally take it out in ways you never imagined. More of these tactics were put forward inthe previous article Anger, your worst enemy or your best friend?. This article, lays forward the methods by which anger can be productively channelled for your own good.
Anger is an emotion, and it has nothing to do with it being either bad or good. It’s how you act that gives it meaning. The best way is to know how to manage your anger productively. You must accept anger as a normal emotion, don’t suppress it, rather pay attention to it and then make a choice to improve your reactions when anger strikes. This is for your own good.
I know our anger may result from very different circumstances and so are the ways to deal with them. There is no one way that be applied whenever you are angry, but you can adopt several to give you options when that moment arrives. The main goal with these methods is to help you maintain your composure admist chaos. Remember, this is not to suppress your anger. No, not at all. It’s just ways to delay your reaction until the moment you are able to think straight. Anger crowds your mind. To avoid problems, you must buy as much time as you can, and avoid instant reactions which may complicate the situation and lead to regrets after a short time. Here are ways which could do just that:
1. Imagine today is your last day on earth
Forget mistakes. Forget failure. Forget everything except what you’re going to do now and do it. Today is your lucky day. – Author Unknown
Would you be angry at anything or anyone if today was your last day on earth? Would you feel bad towards anyone if you knew today was your very last moment on earth? If you think and analyze, you’ll find that there’s no reason to feel that way.
People always want to reconcile before they depart, that’s why its always good to release all the burdens of anger before it kills you. Hold your anger, and smile back. Let it be. There are more important issues to deal with that being angry. Anger takes away from you, think of doing something that adds to your life instead – consider a forgiveness and a simple laughter.
2. Delay Your Reaction
“When angry, count to four; when very angry, swear.” – Mark Twain
This tactic works magic. You’ll always thank yourself after you have practiced this, especially when you are so much enraged and you have no other alternetive.
Remember, anger is an emotion that works at a very short burst. It almost doesn’t give you moments to think. It’s like when it comes, your mind ceases to work – intelligence, reasoning, and logic are all suppressed. However, when you play a delay technique, and hold your reaction a bit longer, you quickly regain the state of consciousness. Your mind gets wiser and you can avoid saying things you would otherwise regret.
Thomas Paine once remarked, “The greatest remedy for anger is delay.” and I concur. Delay is critical, and here is why. When you hold your mind, you can always change your reactions inside your head. But when you act on your thoughts, you start a chain reaction, that can range from verbal to physical. Anger instigates your action. Your actions are self propagating from one to the next. In no time you’ll find yourself doing things that are unlike you, but that’s because patience has not been on your side. Next time you want to react with your anger, count to four, then smile and walk away. That’s how you become bigger than your ego.
3. Read your favorite book
Reading is a form of therapy. It makes you escape the madness, pain and panic that is around you all the time. If you have a chance, grab your favorite book and read for an hour or two. You’ll be surprised on how quick you regain your consciousness and forget about what made you angry in the first place.
Psychologically, reading involves more than a physical action, its something that takes your full concentration, in other words, your mind has to be at what you do. If you can manage to immerse yourself in a book, your emotions will be under your control.
Writing is a different realm of life. If you can simply sit down and envision something in your head, you are simply traversing into that realm at the time. When you can’t think of something to write as you are so mad, then simply write down whatever comes on your mind. Jot down your thoughts – why you are angry, how would you want to react and anything else that comes to your head. Don’t stop until your anger is gone. When you are done, take a piece of paper, read it aloud to yourself and then shred it. I am sure you’ll be done with your anger.
“It is impossible for you to be angry and laugh at the same time. Anger and laughter are mutually exclusive and you have the power to choose either.” – Wayne Dyer
Laughter is medication. It’s a therapy, whether you laugh alone or along with someone else. Either way, it is useful when you are angry. Laughter clears your mind from all the ills, stress and negativities. It puts you in a good space to focus and concentrate on what is important at the time. Anger can’t replace your best moments of laughter, because your positive emotions are always more powerful than your negative ones.
6. Take a walk
Taking a walk in nature is probably one of the best things that can simply cool off your mind. If you encounter a circumstance that is not good, then take a walk. The body movement and the change of environment will simply make you sane.
Avoid airing your feelings back in anyway , either on mails, or social media or text.
Find the right time to confront your enemy face to face, that facial confrontation is much better because you’ll either do any of the two: 1) Feel that it was stupid to react, 2)Find out that you were the one who has a problem.
If you are someone who loves exercising, you know that when your body is in such a high state of vibrations. Anger can’t beguile you. Your mind relaxes much better with working out. Exercising rigorously will certainly make you feel much better when you are done and your initial state of anger will be gone.
“Laughter and tears are both responses to frustration and exhaustion. I myself prefer to laugh, since there is less cleaning do to do afterward.” ― Kurt Vonnegut
Crying helps to release emotions, but also helps you relax your mind and makes you feel much lighter in the end. With tears, even the most painful thoughts goes quickly forgotten. It is a natural remedy to our pain.
9. Watch your favorite movie
Movie is one of the ways to distract your mind from dwelling to what makes you angry in the first place. If you are too angry and you have no way to express it, then go and watch your favorite movie, series or anything that can buy you time.
10. Listen to a good piece of music
It’s certain that when you listen to the best music you might quench your anger but at times your brain might be so disturbed that you might not even be able to pay attention. But trying to calm your mind and listen to a music doesnt only make you sane, but with a little bit of efforts you get to forget even the cause of your anger.
Remember, changing your reaction towards your anger from destructive to productive is neither easy nor quick. It’s something you learn and continually condition your mind to create a pattern that determine your future reactions in similar circumstances. This way, you learn to condition your subconscious mind to channel your reactions to a more productive and meaningful ways. Don’t wait until things are out of control for you to learn how to manage your anger. You must consciously decide to avoid things getting out of control when you are sane. Learn to channel your anger more productively from the early stages – you must condition yourself.
No matter what happens, you are responsible.
“When anger rises, think of the consequences” – Confucius
As I continually insist, anger should be directed towards what is productive, but when you get angry at people and cause damage, then consider this rule. There’s no other rule to consider when you get angry than this – You are responsible for your own anger and its outcomes.
It is the most important thing to put in mind. You are responsible for your actions. You are responsible for the outcome of your anger outburst. Responsiblity is first and foremost when it comes to anger. You have to understand that your actions following your enragement hold you accountable. Whether its verbal or physical, you are still responsible. If you condition yourself to observe the consequences before you act when angry or feel that adrenaline rush, you’ll obviously think twice before making bad judgments.
Acquire the mindset of looking at the situation from the third party, be an observer and not the victim. Detaching yourself isn’t easy but once you do it you gain clarity of what is right and what is wrong at the time. You eliminate the cloud of uncertainty and injustice by being the observer. This is especially necessary because at times we get angry without being clear of what really happens. To save the moment, simply maintain your composure.
That short moment to hold yourself define the difference between sanity and insanity. It can as well tell the difference between life and death. Success and failure. Friendship and enmity. Love and hate. Wisdom and foolishness.