Holding onto 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 natural response to certain situations, and is experienced by everyone at some point or another. But it is also among the most underrated and ignored feelings. Have you ever been furious with a friend just because they made you wait for a couple of minutes? Or remember when you were vexed at yourself and vented your frustration on someone else? Such situations are faced by most of the population, and while they may be brushed off with a mere ‘sorry’, they are never permanently addressed. But before identifying a proper solution, it’s critical to be fully aware of this feeling and its variations.
Anger can be triggered by frustration, disappointment, hurt or annoyance, and can cause significant damage, both physically and emotionally. Let’s look at some different types of anger, and then explore some ways to deal with them.
Chronic anger is an ongoing form of anger, and is highly unhealthy, as it places continual stress on the immune system. If unchecked, it can lead to depression and also contribute to a range of other mental disorders.
Self-inflicted anger is frequently the result of not reaching one’s goals or feeling incompetent. These feelings can easily trigger anger, and can result in physical or mental self-destruction. Eating disorders, self-deprecation, or self-sabotage are common manifestations of this form of anger.
On the other hand, people prone to volatile anger are subject to physical or verbal outbursts fuelled by external annoyances. This type of anger can be effectively controlled by anger-management techniques. Volatile anger tends to erupt episodically. Anxiety, drug and alcohol addiction, compulsive disorders, sleep deprivation, and isolation may be among the symptoms.
Anger in itself is not a problem, but how you deal with it requires careful attention. Releasing energy and tension can be extremely beneficial, but it’s important to do so constructively. There are some tried and tested ways to calm yourself down. Initially, begin with short-term remedies, and that includes controlled breathing. This can help lower your anxiety and keep your blood pressure in a healthy range. Taking deep and longer breaths gives pause to your system, and can help prevent you from reacting immediately.
Another common short-term solution is to count to 10 slowly during potentially anger-inducing situations. But these are only temporary remedies; permanent solutions call for more significant lifestyle change.
Exercising can be a panacea for health-related problems, and works wonders in lowering anger levels. Establishing a routine of swimming, running, yoga and meditation is a great way to release energy and reduce irritation or anxiety. In addition, it’s a good idea to abstain from alcohol and other toxic addictions that can raise tempers. Creative activities like painting, dancing and composing music also play their part in relaxing both mind and body.
Of course, maintaining a healthy diet is an important component of having a healthy mental outlook. Breakfast is the crucial meal of the day; it provides the fuel that your nervous system needs to function throughout the whole day, and you cannot afford to miss it. Be sure to include proteins like egg whites or healthy smoothies in your breakfast. For lunch, consider barley, fish and broccoli, as they are high on vitamins and keep your energy up and temper at bay.
For dinner, try including hot sauce, triggering the release of endorphins, which act like a signal to your brain to be happy. This in turn, will help you sleep soundly. Lean chicken breast is also an excellent source of protein to add to your dinner.
Whether it’s a healthy diet, moderate but regular exercise, or other lifestyle modifications, there are plenty of ways that help keep anger at bay. The key, of course, is to recognise when anger rears its ugly head, and to understand and deal with its root causes.
..... Sneha Reddy