How to deal with anger

We feel calm toward those who humble themselves before us and do not talk back. For they seem to acknowledge that they are our inferiors. … That our anger ceases toward those who humble themselves before us is shown even by dogs, who do not bite people when they sit down — Aristotle

Our relationship with anger is a very shaky one, and most of us subscribe to the idea that anger should be suppressed and avoided at all cost. Psychologists, in some cases, describe anger bursts with personality disorders. We mostly identify anger as an inadequate element of our lives. We are not comfortable with the idea that anger is a manifestation of our dark side, suppressed feelings, and blocks of guilt scattered around our subconscious. Anger often has a reputation for being a nuclear threat when it comes to our interaction with others; we like to measure our communication success based on how cool we present ourselves to others. However, our intimate and between closed doors relationship with our own anger bursts can often give the mind the impression of it being justifiable, especially when we felt attacked or venerable facing uncomfortable situations.

Undesirable as it seems, anger is part of the mental fabric of our self-beliefs, and as such distracting ourselves or even avoiding it, can only translate into failure to understand it. The mind processes feelings and converts them into emotions, which are elements of our everyday experience with what we perceive as reality. Our feelings when unveiled through the mind can manifest themselves in many forms: frantic, hopeless, willing, afraid, guilty, ashamed, worried, proud, disgusted, lonely, and so on. Anger when activated through our ego and manifested as defensive mechanism, can be very hard on the body and our innermost self. Losing control of our response machine affects everything in the dynamic of our structure and can lead to predictable mind processes following an unpredictable side effect. Losing control of our negative emotions signals a failure reactivity in our brain, and causes us to react excessively or insufficiently, both ways are damaging to our health, social interactivity and self-awareness.

But should we avoid or even try to fight our angry mind entirely? Anger not only works as suppressing mechanism of our true feelings but also, as a reactional emotional response to threats. Anger belongs to the parentage of causes and effects, and it partakes in our genetic personality factors. Our mind reaction to daily life events are supported by our past experiences and the way we perceive our reality, and when this reality is threatened or questioned, the obvious outcome is reactional. Hence, fighting against what is, is not only futile but also counter-productive to the development of our consciousness. When we are lost in angry thoughts or actions, we are pouring down our decades of suppressed emotions and frustrations, and as such we should not muffle anger or even try to reason with it. However, we should look into the opportunity that angry emotions can produce. Basically, we should not look at what made us mad at the moment, but what is the root of this anger. The patterns and predictability of our emotions can give us valuable clues of who we think we are and why we are a slave to such feelings and responses. Anger is not your enemy, but rather your inner thermostat saying, — ” look at me…. What issues haven’t you dealt in the past which accumulated and translated in such a negative attitude?” — “What are you actually suppressing or avoiding?”

Anger experience needs two essential features; activation and frequency, this regularly happens very fast and much beneath the level of our full consciousness. This means that when we become angry, we experience an emotion (activation) and have a flood of adrenaline (reactional frequency) pouring in our body, even before we consciously get to know what is happening. Making peace with our emotions can give us the opportunity to understand them further, and as a result, we can better predict which triggers our mind is using to manifest into anger. The fact is, you are never angry for the reasons you think you are, and our failure to pay attention to our thoughts leaves our negative emotions to run freely, and we are all familiar with the results. Manifesting anger without investigating its original sources can profoundly affect our lives and the others around us, this unconscious defensive action can subsequently generate painful states. By being aware of our hidden fears and suppressed emotional dialogues, and honestly investigating their causes, we have the opportunity to bring mindfulness to our daily emotions, and even when anger manifests itself, we become acutely aware of what is really going on in the present moment. This helps us to deal with the facts, and not mind illusions from the past which keeps revisiting us, asking for immediate revenge. In other words, deep breath and self-examination is a good starting point.