Getting angry is easy. It might be one of the easiest emotions to encounter in daily life. Someone steps in front of us in the line at the supermarket we get angry. Our boss or co-worker says unkind words to us, we get angry. Our partner asks us to clean more, we get angry.
There are a million different ways to get angry, and most of us don’t know how to deal with it because it seems so natural when it arises within us – it seems like there is no way we are able to free ourselves from this emotion.
And maybe there isn’t. But that’s not the point. Instead, the point is to have a plan of action for when it does arise.
To be aware of our anger when it arises, notice that it’s there and let go of it immediately. This way, we are in control of our anger, instead of it being in control of us.
When I think of how many times I’ve said something in anger which I wish I could take back later, I’m mortified. Thankfully I’ve gotten good at apologizing and explaining that I didn’t mean the things I said in anger, but obviously this strategy is not ideal.
A better strategy, which I’ve found to work incredibly well is to simply notice the anger as we experience it – it is easier said than done, but it is doable, and it becomes easier with practice.
What’s important to realize when we think about how to deal with complex emotions such as anger, is that we don’t have any control of when or how they arise in our minds – we must prepare for them to arise and have a coping strategy ready to deal with it, because the only thing which is within our control is our response to our emotions – not our actual emotions themselves.
That is why it is of crucial importance to have a plan of action to make sure we are ready to deal with anger when we experience is – this way we can regain control of ourselves and actively shape our outcomes instead of letting our outcomes shape us.