It's only fair to share…

Have you ever overreacted with anger to what someone else said or did? Are you prone to road rage? How much is that anger costing you in terms of lost career opportunities or soured relationships?

When is anger appropriate?

All emotions, including anger, are an important part of being human. Emotions are our way of knowing when something sits well with us and when it does not. Sometimes we feel appropriate anger when other people do things that do not sit well with us. For example, when people call us names, put us down, take advantage of our good nature, borrow things without returning them when promised, etc.

If the anger we feel in a situation is in proportion to the situation that we are in, then the anger we feel is appropriate. The anger is there to let us know that something is not right for us, hence, we need to pay attention to the emotion.

In contrast, any time we overreact or experience anger which is out of proportion to the situation we are in, it is a sign that we have unresolved anger from the past. For example, when people experience road rage, the traffic triggers all the past anger to come up, so they over react to the situation with anger.

Some people express their anger and others suppress it. Either way, if the anger is unresolved for a period of time, it has the potential to cause stress, impact our immune system and create health problems. In addition, anger can result in very hurtful conversations with loved ones, friends and colleagues, which can sour those relationships, and can even harm our professional career.

Here are the top 5 ways to identify any possible anger issues: 

  1. Overreacting to situations with anger eg.  road rage in traffic.
  2. Overreacting to people with anger eg. being very short tempered, verbal abuse, lots of swearing or physical violence.
  3. Beating up on yourself too much or being overly critical or judgemental of yourself may mean you are angry with yourself.
  4. Finding it difficult to forgive other people for what has happened in the past may mean you are angry with them.
  5. Being surrounded by angry people.  Like attracts like.

Managing vs addressing past anger

You can learn to deal with anger and to manage it as it comes up. This is only a temporary solution because the underlying anger will still be unresolved, and will still be pushing your buttons and causing you to overreact. A more lasting solution is to deal with the underlying anger. The best way to be free of the past anger once and for all is to address it in a safe and comfortable way, without having to relive the anger or the trauma of past events in order to let it go.

Instant calm

Here is a quick way to stay calm until you address the past anger:

  1. Sit comfortably and pick a spot in front of you above eye level that you can look at comfortably eg. picture on a wall
  2. As you focus on that spot, keep your head still, and start to notice everything around you in peripheral vision eg. the furniture either side of you
  3. Continue focusing on that spot for 1-2 minutes, while being aware of everyone and everything around you. Notice how this centres and calms you.

Imagine being free of your past anger, creating better health and improving your personal and professional relationships.