Anger is natural emotion, and it is fine to feel angry some of the time. The big happiness block comes when you are feeling angry ALL of the time. Anger is a necessary but dangerous emotion. It can consume you. If you are not sure a big, red-faced, angry you is blocking your path to happiness, you can take this quick test.
Why Staying Angry is a Bad Thing
To much anger in your life can cause a host of physical problems. Anxiety, high blood pressure, fatigue, headaches and even stroke can be caused by staying angry all of the time.
Besides the physical problems anger can cause, staying angry can cause huge problems in your personal relationships. When you are angry you tend to say and do things you don’t actually mean. Those things often hurt someone you care about, and they are pushed away by your actions.
So How Do You Fix It?
You took the quiz, you read the articles and you are pretty sure you have an anger problem. Now you want to know; “How do I fix this?”
First know you won’t fix this overnight. Constant anger can easily become a reflex response, it will take a little work to change your habits.
- Count to ten. When someone or something makes you angry, force yourself to stop and count to ten.
- Ask yourself “what is my expected outcome?” Once you have stopped and counted to ten, consider what you would like the outcome to be. For example, if you come home from work and find dishes overflowing from the sink and you asked your husband/child/partner to put them in the dishwasher, this has the potential to make you very angry. (I know it drives me bonkers!) Before you go off on a tirade, consider what you would like the outcome to be. The answer is probably, you would like someone to take some pressure off of you and put the dishes in the dishwasher. Will yelling and putting someone down make that outcome more or less likely?
- Reverse the situation. In the above scenario consider how you would feel if you someone screamed at you and put you down before you even had a chance to speak. Not so good. Consider how likely you would be to respond favorably to that type of treatment.
- Give some grace. One day I was following my GPS and suddenly it changed its mind and I had to make a quick decision. Do I try and get over 2 lanes in the next half a mile, or do I keep going and follow the GPS reroute? Honestly I have made both choice A and choice B. Sometimes when making choice A, I have cut someone off. I wave my apology in the rear view mirror and hope I didn’t upset them to much. Chances are you have made the same decision, so when someone cuts you off in traffic, give a little grace and laugh about the time the GPS suddenly changed its mind.
- Focus on the good parts of your day. One of the best way you can break the anger cycle is to find small things each day that make you happy. A Happiness Journal is a great way to get you started on that focus.
Should You Consult Your Doctor?
This answer is entirely up to you. Considering there are physical symptoms that are associated with excess anger, a physical might not be a bad idea. Another reason to consider consulting a doctor is the close relationship between anger and anxiety. If you can not get a handle on your anger, there is no shame in consulting a doctor.