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Anger: The Misunderstood Emotion

October 28, 2020

Anger is one of the six basic human emotions along with happiness, sadness, disgust, fear, and surprise. If not managed properly, anger can affect our personal and professional lives.

At multiple times we resort to anger in order to cover up other feelings and therefore, anger is sometimes seen as a secondary emotion. It can be imagined as the tip of an iceberg.

Anger causes various physiological changes in our body. It triggers the ‘fight or flight’ response mechanism of the body causing the adrenal glands to release adrenaline and cortisol in our body. This increases our heart rate, blood pressure, and perspiration. There is a blood rush towards the muscle which is why many people turn violent when angry. This adrenal response, if it continues for a long period of time, can lead to problems like headaches, anxiety, or even heart attack.

If not expressed and dealt with appropriately, anger is an emotion which may damage our relationships with other people as well as ourselves. Hence, we must learn to deal with anger in a constructive manner.

Anger management aims to manage the emotional and physiological changes and find a healthy outlet for them.

However, we need to remember that anger management is not equal to anger avoidance. It means acquiring the necessary skills to identify your triggers and keep them from pushing you over the edge.

Here are some techniques you can use to manage your anger:

· Self-awareness: Be aware of your feelings

· Relaxation: Practice deep breathing, do yoga exercises that stretch and relax your muscles, or picture yourself in a calming situation. All these will help you manage your anger.

· Better Communication: Think carefully about what you want to say, listen actively to the other person and use ‘I’ instead of ‘you’ in sentences. This is helpful in controlling altercations. For e.g. instead of saying “You hurt me” say “I was hurt”. Learn about conflict resolution strategies.

· Manage Your Environment: Give personal time and space to yourself, walk away from situations that you feel are getting out of control.

Some people may need professional help in managing their anger, if it starts interfering with their daily lives and ability to carry out routine tasks.

Anger management is an important contributor to a fulfilling life and anger managed well is a sign of emotional intelligence.

Dr. Alka Saxena

Deputy Director (Health & Wellness), Blue Bells Group of Schools