Very often, being angry is a natural reaction to a situation. However, handling that anger in a socially appropriate manner is something to be learned and practiced. If you grew up in a family that responds to anger by shouting and yelling, you will probably get angry easily and respond naturally in this way. If you grew up in a family that responds to anger by always talking things through, being polite, and never blowing up, you may still become angry at times, but will learn to handle it by hiding it. There are benefits and drawbacks to both styles.
Expressing your anger can help you to feel relief and avoid further stress, but it may hurt others and put that stress onto them. Worse, it may not help to change the situation which made you angry in the first place. Holding your feelings in and not expressing anger can cause you to feel the effects of stress in other physical and emotional ways if you don't somehow get relief. When you feel yourself getting angry, a first step is to consider the source of the anger. Are your feelings justified, or are they selfish? Will expressing your anger help or hurt the situation? Can you solve the problem in a way that doesn't hurt others physically or emotionally? When you feel yourself getting angry take the following steps.
- Take a deep breath, hold it a minute, then slowly let it out.
- Take a moment where you don't say anything, but just think about the situation.
- Ask yourself why you are upset: Are you not getting your way? Does someone not understand you? Has someone else done something to you?
- Before you react, consider what you will gain by your reaction. Your number one goal should be to get the best results from the situation.
- Now respond. This might mean walking away rather than making things worse. It might mean talking things over. It might mean expressing your anger in a firm but calm way. It might mean explaining to someone else how they upset you. It might mean letting your anger go because you realize it is unproductive.
If you follow these steps and practice them whenever you can, you will find that, while you might still get angry, you may also get better results and feel less stress.
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