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“The strong man is not the one who is the wrestler but the strong man is the one who holds himself back at the time of anger.“ (Prophet Muhammad SAW).
A popular saying goes: “For every 10 minutes that you are angry, you lose 600 seconds of happiness…Are you willing to do so? One is so sure that he doesn’t want to waste any moment of happiness and therefore, this article will help you explore the mechanism of anger; gain knowledge about the harmful effects of anger; learn ways of coping with anger. To start developing an insight on this, first we need to understand what anger really is. Anger is a normal universal emotion. Emotions are human instincts that each individual feels in varying intensities. We are emotional beings and there is no harm in feeling emotions including excitement, happiness, euphoria, anger, scared etc; the problem begins when these emotions surpass our abilities to bear with them and take them out in a positive, healthy manner. Positive emotions build us whereas, negative ones simply deplete us.
Different definitions of anger include:
- The emotion of anger is usually a reaction to a specific trigger which is mediated by the person’s beliefs and expectations about the situation. It is an emotional state which each individual feels in different intensities, but taking it out in inappropriate ways (aggression) is absolutely not acceptable.
- Novaco (1975) views anger as an emotion with three components; physiological, behavioral and cognitive.
- A secret weapon that leads to destruction of all noble qualities in man.
- It is considered root of all evils.
- It is responsible for snatching away the wisdom of man – transforming him into a beast like entity.
Why do people get angry?
- Appraisal of threat.
- To harm oneself/others.
- To achieve control/power.
- Lack of sleep/feeling hungry.
- Distorted/cloudy thinking.
- Emotional insecurity.
- Low self-esteem/confidence
The human body is manufactured in a way that it sends signals when it is getting angry. Harmful physical, emotional, social, spiritual effects of anger become evident as soon as a person becomes angry. For now we will only see the most common signs our body shows in anger, that are:
- Clenched fists
- Grinding teeth
- Loud voice
- Red ears and face
- Racing and pounding heart
- Excessive sweating
- Upset stomach
Destructive behaviors caused by anger are:
- Negative talk
- Self-blame/blaming others
- Taking everything personally
- Over reacting
- Looking for fights
- Irritability and isolation
Tips on how to manage your anger:
- Convert resentment into gratitude
- Instead of giving a REACTION, give a RESPONSE
- Transform your fear into trust
- Do not dwell on the negativity from your past
- Forgive yourself first and then forgive others
- Take responsibility for your own actions and own up to your mistakes
- Exercise EVERYDAY!
- Replace Maladaptive Thoughts
- Instead of “Omar did that on purpose to make me look bad”, you might think, “Omar is trying his best, but he still has room to grow and needs my help.”
- Be empathetic towards all
- Practice patience and perseverance
- LISTEN FIRST and COMMUNICATE LATER
- No matter what, do not disrespect the other person
- Take little things in life easy and develop a good sense of humor
- Don’t try to control the uncontrollable, let certain things be
- Organize your mind and desk every 5 minutes, every hour
- Never reply to a message/call/letter when you are angry. Let it reside until you are able to think clearly
- Learn to say no with assertiveness than to do it with a frown