Anger Management: What Works and What Doesn’t

Speak when you are angry and you will make the best speech you will ever regret.

Ambrose Bierce

Look, everyone gets angry. You get angry, I get angry, your grandma gets angry, the little toddler that didn’t get his candy gets angry, the world’s most caring philanthropist gets angry, even the guy who’s stoned 24/7 gets angry once in a while. Anger isn’t a bad thing. It’s a natural reaction to something that doesn’t ascribe to our natural order, and if used properly, it can even help us attain heights that was previously impossible to reach.

The problems begin once you don’t have a handle on how to manage your anger.

While there have been cases of anger mismanagement since time immemorial, our current generation has been plagued by too many factors, both internal and external, to effectively tackle or channel their anger in a productive manner. Often times, our anger ends up in the destruction of relationships, sanity, productivity, health and our own goddamned peace. While there are anger management classes, not many of them will attend them, either for fear of being labelled, or pride, or thinking that this anger isn’t a problem at all. For those guys and for others as well, this article is for you.

Now, I’m no zen master who has mastered his anger and has found inner peace like some wise panda who loves dumplings, and I have a shorter fuse than most people, So I might not be the most qualified person to belt out advice on anger management. But it’s precisely for that reason that I’ve personally tested methods to bring my anger in line. So I can tell you which methods actually work, and which methods that you think work, don’t work in the least. So here goes.


Talking To Others: Works Just Fine

Source: lifehacker.com

This method has worked for centuries, even works to this day, either with family or with a paid counselor and I can bet your fine face that it will still work in the future with some AI assistant providing you some zen advice while siphoning off a hefty sum for it’s services, and will actually be useful other than telling the time.

I can see the questions that will be asked for this method. I ask them myself.

Why should other people know about my problems? It’s mine to bear.

I won’t get a solution to my problem.

What’s the effing point? Things aren’t gonna change

People who care about you will want to hear about your problems, and you may not get a solution to your problems, and yes, things may not change just because you talk to them. But the point is bringing your anger in line, and frankly speaking, voicing out your problems to someone will take a big weight off your chest. It’s way better than lashing out in anger at the world in general, and assaulting your mind on why on earth this stuff happens to you alone.

Everyone in this world has a different perspective on life and talking to people might help you realize what went wrong with your plan. Remember that the situation that’s screwing you over isn’t unique to you. Someone, somewhere must have experienced the same thing and got over it. So talk to them. If you think that talking to your close circle won’t work out for you for some reason, then you can approach a counselor, though I’d recommend this as a last resort.

Swearing: Does Not Work. At All.

Source: thedignifieddevil.com

Oh, how most of us just love to swear, yours truly included. Something goes our way, we swear. Something doesn’t go our way, we swear. Nothing eventful happens, we swear. For a long time, I thought that just cussing at the air, with whatever swear words I know, would help alleviate my anger to a good extent and I’d go back to my merry…well, my normal self at least.

Oh, how gloriously, stupendously wrong I was.

Before I had dawned on this realization, my swearing was usually directed towards people or stuff that was in my direct line of sight. So even if my anger hadn’t subsided, the feeling that I showed someone their place and the error of their ways superseded my anger. It was enough for me, for some time at least, to provide me a temporary respite from the source of my anger. It was only 2 weeks in my new project at work, that I realized that swearing at the Sun did nothing to help my situation or my anger.

The cause of my anger? My clients. But I can’t interact with them directly. There’s a coordinator and a manager for that. Sometimes, those clients say the damnedest things that would make me want to throw a baseball in their general direction, if not their heads. I’d have to end up changing something or the other because these clients can’t keep their head straight on a decision. So I’d swear, well mutter under my breath, thinking it would help out. It didn’t.

If anything, I was pissed off for a longer time than was normal. There I was fuming with my own anger when I was thinking, “Wait, why the hell am I still pissed off??….Well, I swore my ass off. That should have worked, right?“. In practice, it didn’t work at all. In the process of cussing some entity that will never appear before my eyes, all my mind did was focus on the event that worked me up, which led to me swearing, which again brought the event into focus and again made me swear….It’s a bloody loop.

Trust me, you don’t want to be caught in a hellish loop like that.

Exercise In Anger: Better Than It Sounds

Source: 8tracks.com

This was something my brother recommended in case I blew my fuse and didn’t want to destroy everything in sight like Godzilla on steroids. He just told me to channel my anger in my workout, which would also do wonders if I was struggling with a particular weight class. To be honest though, I’ve never tried to do strength training when I’m angry, for the simple fact that I could pull a muscle or tear my shoulder if I tend to overdo a particular workout in anger. Trust me, getting an injured shoulder is something no one should have to go through. So I’ve never tried it for strength training.

But this advice has worked for me in one area: Shadow-boxing.

While I don’t think this is something anyone would consider healthy, I do channel a good deal of my anger in a shadow-boxing session. No one gets hurt, I get a workout and by channeling my anger, I get to know how much force my punches can pull off, and I get to blow off some steam. I know some guys who channel every ounce of their rage into weightlifting, some channel it in cycling, some channel it through some martial-arts discipline.

So while it might sound kind of weird, this method has worked for a lot of people over the ages. Just give it a shot.

Binge Eating: Nope

Source: justrunlah.com

There is a difference between “Hangry” eating and binge eating to drown your anger. The former isn’t destructive, doesn’t screw your health and it’s side effect at most is that your mom will chide you for not being able to hold in your hunger or a goddamn ulcer. The latter, on the other hand, becomes an addiction, is destructive and will screw up your health and the side effect is a guy/girl who loses his/her health to hunger, anger and addiction.

Binge eating becomes an addiction in the same way that chain smoking becomes an addiction. Our human brain is wired to respond to certain signals in times of stress. It sees an influx of nicotine or a big helping of glucose to calm the nerves down, then it hardwires your body to eat your heart out in times of stress, anger and sorrow, since it helped the first time. What was once a stopgap measure to quell your urge for lashing out becomes an addiction and as a result, your health takes a beating for the worse.

Of course, the food in question is always calorie-rich stuff, and not the good kind either. There has never been an instance of someone binge eating fruits and veggies in anger, since those don’t contain the instant sugar and calorie overload that the body craves in times like these. So when someone says that they binge eat apples and avocados in anger, they’re either trying to look cool or a big fat liar or a combo of both. Laugh em off.

Creative Endeavors: This Helps

Source: Australian Association for Research in Eduction

If talking and exercise aren’t your cup of tea, (which it should be when it comes to anger, but who am I to judge?), then there is another time-tested method to let forth your anger without pissing off everyone else and getting a bloody nose or a splitting headache. This method can also help you create a profitable venture, if you have the wits for it.

Art.

I think I’ve done this two, maybe, three times. I can definitely say that one of those write-ups gave me a good article while the other two were just livid rants on the state of the world, which wouldn’t pass muster even as a Buzzfeed article. Ugh, the horror. Anyways, one thing about this is that, your anger is channeled in a constructive manner since you are putting all of those emotions into your art, thus ensuring you can pull off a masterful performance if you have an idea about how much of your emotions you should pour into your canvas. Whether you create a David or some craptastic piece of modern art depends on your skills and your emotional control.

Another cool advantage? If you have a knack for marketing and a business acumen, then you can easily spin your works of art as a separate business venture, and have a source of income that can really help you in times of desperation, despair and doom.

Repression of Anger: Hell Nope!

Source: The New Republic

This, I believe, is the primary reason why I have a short fuse nowadays. I reckon this one habit is bloody destructive than any other. While I thought this stupid habit helped me in college, in retrospect, it did me more harm than good and it’s led me to lash out at every bloody annoyance, even when my mind knows of the circumstances. So, lend me your ears, dear readers and listen close, at least to this one, if nothing else.

Never repress your emotions. Ever.

Let out those emotions somehow. Laugh, Cry, Lash out, Talk, Run, Draw, Write…Do something to provide an outlet for those emotions that run haywire inside of you. Keeping them locked inside you is probably a folly that ranks the highest. All those emotions building up inside you aren’t going to stay silent either. Some of them will be detrimental to your self-esteem and confidence and most of them will screw with your peace. All it takes for those pent-up emotions to burst forth like a volcano is small, insignificant spark and by the end of your scene, you will be left wondering what on earth happened to you.

Breaking and Beating: Ineffective, Destructive and Useless

Source: Painting Valley

In all honesty though, this is something everyone would have thought of, yours truly included. Don’t lie. There is no shame in admitting that you wanted to destroy the object of your anger in a pretty brutal manner just so you’d have some closure, at some point in your life. It’s in our nature to seek revenge or lash out at the world for some wrong done to us. Hence the saying, “War never changes“, for humans never change. You’ve beaten someone in anger. Fair enough.

Problems begin when that assault is the only course of action for every little thing that incurs your wrath.

The power rush that comes from beating or controlling someone is unparalleled. Look no further than the bullies in your school, the asshole jocks in your college, the manager at your workplace, the politicians of your country. So when you beat someone in anger and it feels good, that one action can start a vicious cycle of raising your fists for every single thing going wrong in your life. While violence in movies looks cool, the real world doesn’t work that way. It’s not just you that gets affected, but your friends, family, your colleagues….Everyone gets hurt.

While that action seems good in the short term, all you will have earned in the long run is the ire of your loved ones, the disrespect of the world, and the increased hatred of your enemy. The world doesn’t tolerate short fuses that damage everyone.


This is all I have for this week. See you next time, guys.

(If you are new to this blog, I publish articles for self-improvement every Wednesday of the second and fourth week of the month at 6:00 PM Indian Standard Time. If you like my articles, do subscribe to my blog and if you feel like contributing to my blog, do donate via the Paypal widget found below)

Until next time,
An ever improving geek.