You probably don’t need much proof to believe that we are living in an angry world. Every day, you have countless opportunities to witness anger in action. Whether it is some teen bullying story you hear on the six o’clock news, the latest case of domestic violence or child abuse, or the courrupted-ness of elected officials – anger is everywhere. It is even a rare occasion of today for peaceful protests or work amongst religious groups to be void of some sort of outcome that is fueled by anger.
In fact, it seems that we have become so angry that recent generations have caused an outburst of crying that has led to the millions of anger management courses being available (and pursued) by so many people worldwide. Even court systems and school systems today are providing anger management for people that seem to have lost control of their ability to balance their emotions.
It is nearly impossible for us to understand why the world we live in has become so angry. People find infinite reasons to blame their own anger on others or situations that they have encountered in their life. The truth is that anger is as natural an emotion to humans as smell is one of the five senses. It isn’t that we are an angrier population today, but simply that we have lost sight of learning how to deal with our anger.
If you or someone you know has anger issues, the first thing to realize is that this problem comes from within. Life is frustrating all around. There are stressors in everyone’s life. But the ultimate choice of how you or anyone else reacts to the stress in their lives is a personal one. The average person is able to find some sort of solitude and draw on learnings of respect and responsibility before acting out their anger in a rage. But so many others – who encourage this angry world, do not. They believe that their anger is justified, or is actually an affect from some distant cause. In other words, they participate in the blame game that completely voids them of both responsibility for and control of their own emotions.
Dr. Charles Stanley wrote a book entitled Surviving in an Angry World. In the preface, he points out that “The emotion of anger not only wounds those it targets, but also destroys the hearts of those who nurture it.” And in recent years, many studies have shown that people who have difficult understanding and controlling their anger have problems with nearly every aspect of life, from their health and sleeping habits to their relationships with others and their basic every day functions. Plus, every person who knows them or comes in contact with them, risks being victimized by their anger. So you might have an angry boss, or an angry parent or an angry teacher or an angry co-worker – and in some way their behavior and anger affects you.
The worst part about living in angry world is the fact that the anger is contagious. Even if you feel like you have total control over your feelings, you can eventually be sucked into the vacuum of anger. This will in turn make you angry as well. And so the cycle continues.
The only choice that any of us has is to arm ourselves with tools to help us from being angry. Surviving in an angry world can make living in one a little easier. Sadly, the people who choose anger as their go to emotion, have to find their own help and realize their own accountability for the problem.
The following are some essential tips for keeping your own peace and sanity while living in an angry world.
1.The first tip comes from Mark Twain, who said, “Anger is an acid that can do more harm to the vessel in which it is stored than to anything on which it is poured.” You have to realize that YOU have control over how you feel. If you feel anger or feel that people around you or circumstances in this world are making you angry, then realize you have a choice. And realize that giving in to the anger is more detrimental to you and your wellbeing than it is to anyone or anything else. When people are reacting with anger, problems are created not solved. To be part of the solution, stay in control of your anger and choose to funnel it into a different emotion that can is solution based.
2. Learn your personal triggers that indicate you are getting angry. Do your ears turn red? Does your heart beat quicken? Do you start clenching your teeth? One key to surviving well in an angry world is to realize when you are starting to feel anger. This way, you can take pause and learn how to realign those emotions. Being mad or upset is not always a bad thing, as long as you stay in control.
3. Choose your battles. As mentioned before getting angry is sometimes necessary and can be a healthy emotion. However, if you cannot sit down and watch the news or attend a social function without finding reasons to get angry or frustrated than more than likely the problem is you. Instead, choose your battles in life and decide that wasting your time and energy on every little thing you feel is unjust or not right is no way for you to lead your life. Plus, you will have more energy left over to do something about the things or people that make you angry.
4. Avoidance is one technique often taught in anger management classes. In fact, experts believe that people have become so addicted to anger that they often seek out reasons to be mad. Bottom line is that if the check out lady at your grocery store always messes up your order….then don’t go through her line. Chances are there are healthy, non-passive aggressive ways to avoid dealing with people and situations that make YOU angry. Realize that your time is too valuable to waste on things that upset you.
5. When you find yourself angry, which you will no matter how hard you try to avoid it – ascertain whether your response to anger is helpful or hurtful. In other words, do you sit around and pout for weeks at a time, or do you lash out as a way to get even with others. (Neither are healthy options).
What you may not know is that anger is an addictive emotion. There is in fact a physiological science experiment going off in your brain each and every time you feel anger. Since anger is one of the most primal human emotions, such as fear – the body experiences an adrenaline rush when you are angry, which also releases dopamine. Over time, if you are constantly feeling anger, you can pretty much bet that you have become addicted to the chemical responses from your brain. Even so, hiding anger or seeing it as a negative emotion is not the answer either. Anger is natural and when handled correctly can lead to some pretty amazing things in your life. If you utilize your own anger to fix situations rather than meet the needs of some adrenaline fix, you will survive just fine.