Anger is prevalent in our world today and is appears to be increasing. In working with many different people over the years, I have witnessed and heard about anger in its many forms. Some anger in unhealthy and causes problems. Some anger is a healthy expression of an emotion, anger, that originates with some kind of pain or separation. Identifying and using the 8 ways to turn unhealthy anger into healthy anger is a vital life skill.
8 ways to turn unhealthy anger into healthy anger:
- Know Your Anger Style – Everyone has a primary way they express anger. In order to begin to transform unhealthy anger into healthy anger, knowing you style(s) is important. Here are some unhealthy anger styles:
- Anger Spewer – These are highly sensitive people on the inside and they tend to bite the heads off of others when they are angered.
- Hides Behind Distraction – This person deflects their anger in an attempt to not be noticed.
- Stoics– These people are taught very early that they aren’t allowed to express anger so they are stoic and often do not have their voice when it comes to anger.
- Right Fighter – These people collect all the wrongs of the other and throw them into an argument if they think they might be losing.
- Blamer and Whiner – These people are often pointing finger and complaining through a tight voice so their words become high pitched.
- Bomb – Be careful: you never know when the explosion will occur.
- Projector and Dis-placer – These people accuse others of what they have inside themselves and when they are having are having a bad day, they take it out on everyone else
- Addict – These people self medicate using alcohol, drugs, food, control or something to numb their feelings.
- Laterally Violent – These people are often oppressed over a period of time and then they take their anger out laterally on each other – gossip, competition, gang warfare, survivor mentality.
- Power Broker –This person doles out power to people – Domestic Violence can be an example of this type of unhealthy anger. Triggered when powerless or afraid – bypass the fear or pain feelings and turn it into rage.
- Communicator – Talk directly and share feelings. Doesn’t mean you change the other person.
By knowing your anger style, you are able to better express and manage your emotions. Awareness gives you the option to make choices that are healthier and therefore not destructive.
- Know Your Triggers – Everyone has an autobiography and many people have old grief that continues to impact their life consciously and unconsciously. Some people may experience powerlessness and helplessness and this could trigger anger in a form mentioned above. Much of the violence stems from fears of abandonment or loneliness.
- Understand How Shame Impacts Your Life – Many people have a secret idea or belief that they are inherently not good enough or unworthy. This shame can erode your self-concept and fester anger. Many people are taught to be ashamed of tears or anger which can feed internal shame levels. When you are being prideful, it is often because of secret shame and you are over compensating for the idea that you are not worthy somehow.
- Become Self-Empowered – Too many people live in a state of victim-hood, relinquishing their sense of being able to make choices for their life. Dealing with anger in a healthy manner requires that you come away from the victim mentality and begin to take your power of choice much more seriously. Even when it seems you have no choice, begin to look for choices and possibilities.
- Learn Accountability – You are accountable for your life. We live in a society that attempts to shift blame to others so as not to be responsible or accountable. If you want your unhealthy anger to turn into healthy anger, it is required to begin to take responsibility for your words, actions and responses.
- Learn Healthy Life Balance or Equilibrium– Dedicate time each day to developing your 5 major life areas (Mental, Emotional, Physical, Social and Spiritual). Pay attention to how you are living day to day. Know that when anger shows up in an unhealthy way, your life is out of balance. Learn then take focused action to regain balance and equilibrium.
- Learn Healthy Ways to Express Your Anger in a Healthy Manner – There are many ways to express your anger so that it does not become unhealthy. It is important to write in a journal to gain perspective, then it is vital to have someone to talk to who can listen without agenda and will keep your confidence. Verbal expression is important. It helps you identify the underlying pain and fear. This person can be a counselor, coach, mentor or another trusted person. Another healthy expression is physical exercise, both cardio and rhythmic exercise.
- Establish and Maintain Multiple Peer Groups – I often say that Connection is the Correction. When you are feeling pain or isolation or another disconnecting experience, anger is often part of the consequence. We are meant to be in relationship with others. It is also important to identify who to go to for what. For example: When I want to talk about sailing, I speak with my sailing peers, not my work peers as they do not connect with me in the same way as those who are already aligned with me in this area.
Anger is a powerful emotion and it can cause many problems. There are specific steps to take to help decrease the negative consequences of anger in your life. As you become aware, learn new skills and take healthy actions, you will notice how much more fun and enjoyable you life is every day.