We all know what anger is, and we’ve all felt it , be it as a few minutes of being annoyed at something or as full-fledged rage. As Jedi we are overly concerned sometimes when we get angry , but then again , we are not our emotions so why worry so much about it?
Anger is a normal, healthy human emotion. But when it gets out of control and turns destructive, it can lead to problems,problems at work, in your personal relationships, and it can damage the quality of your life. It can make you feel as though you’re at the mercy of an unpredictable and powerful emotion and as Jedi we like to think we are above that.The most common way we express anger is to respond aggressively. Anger is a natural, adaptive response to threats It inspires powerful, often aggressive, feelings and behaviors, which allow us to fight and to defend ourselves when we are attacked. A certain amount of anger, therefore, is necessary to our survival and should not be suppressed. So , when does anger become a threat to ourselves rather than helping us?
As children we learn that we can’t physically lash out at every person or object that irritates or annoys us. In our development we learn laws, social norms, and common sense. We place limits on how far our anger can take us and our parents guide us through the emotions so we learn to manage our anger and learn that we cannot always get what we want. We use a few conscious and unconscious processes to deal with angry feelings.
The three main processes are expressing, suppressing, and calming.
Expressing your angry feelings in an assertive, non aggressive, manner is the healthiest way to express anger. To do this, you have to learn how to make clear what your needs are, and how to get them met, without hurting others. Being assertive doesn’t mean being pushy or demanding; it means being respectful of yourself and others.
You can suppress your anger by holding in your anger , and direct your attention to something positive. Your aim is to hold in or suppress your anger and convert it into more constructive behavior. But if your anger it isn’t allowed outward , your anger can turn inward, on yourself. Anger turned inward may cause hypertension, high blood pressure, or depression.
Unexpressed and suppressed anger can create other problems. It can lead to pathological expressions of anger, such as passive-aggressive behavior ( vague complaining posts on facebook rather than confronting people head on) or a personality that seems perpetually cynical and hostile. People who are putting others down, criticizing everything, and making cynical comments haven’t learned how to constructively express their anger. Not surprisingly, they aren’t likely to have many successful relationships. And it’s no surprise they try to get people on their side by complaining about others. In their world it’s about control , control over their own lives and the lives of others. But in reality , Anger controls them.
So what to do then? When you are aware of your emotions and you know they are a part of you , you can accept them for what they are and you can find the peace to calm down inside. This means not just controlling your outward behavior, but also controlling your internal responses, taking steps to lower your heart rate, calm yourself down, and let the feelings subside.
Some techniques to manage anger are :
Relaxation :Simple relaxation tools, such as deep breathing and relaxing imagery, can help calm down angry feelings. There are books and courses that can teach you relaxation techniques, and once you learn the techniques, you can call upon them in any situation. If you are involved in a relationship where both partners are hot-tempered, it might be a good idea for both of you to learn these techniques. In the forum at Ways of the Force i have a 10 step meditation program that might be of help.
Breathe deeply: From your diaphragm; breathing from your chest won’t relax you. Picture your breath coming up from your “gut.” Slowly repeat a calm word or phrase such as “relax,” “take it easy.” Repeat it to yourself while breathing deeply. Use imagery; visualize a relaxing experience, from either your memory or your imagination. Slow yoga-like exercises can relax your muscles and make you feel much calmer. Going for a walk helps as well , so when someone walks out on you when they are angry , don’t call them back , especially if you are angry as well. They probably need some space and don’t want to smack you in the face. Give each other breathing space.
Cognitive Restructuring: This means changing the way you think. Angry people tend to curse, swear, or speak in highly colorful terms that reflect their inner thoughts. When you’re angry, your thinking can get very exaggerated and overly dramatic. Try replacing these thoughts with more rational ones. For instance, instead of telling yourself, “oh, it’s awful, it’s terrible, everything’s ruined,” tell yourself, “it’s frustrating, and it’s understandable that I’m upset about it, but it’s not the end of the world and getting angry is not going to fix it anyhow.” Be careful of words like “never” or “always” when talking about yourself or someone else. “This ***** machine never works,” or “you’re always forgetting things” are not just inaccurate, they also serve to make you feel that your anger is justified and that there’s no way to solve the problem. They also alienate and humiliate people who might otherwise be willing to work with you on a solution. Remind yourself that getting angry is not going to fix anything, that it won’t make you feel better (and may actually make you feel worse). Remember that Logic is better than anger, its ok to be angry , it’s not ok to hurt others.
Problem Solving: Make a plan, and check your progress along the way. Resolve to give it your best, but also not to be to hard on yourself if the answers don’t come right away. If you try your best and you make a serious attempt to face your problems and conflicts , you will be less likely to lose patience and fall into all-or-nothing thinking, even if the problem does not get solved right away.
And last but not least , work on your communication , use words that resonate with the other party , dont expect people to read your mind. Use humor if you think it will lighten up the conflict, be mindful of the feelings of others but don’t discard your own. Be honest about how you feel. Anger is a serious emotion, but it’s often accompanied by ideas that on closer examination can make you laugh and you see the absurd in what is going on. Someone called me a little Tasmanian Devil once when i got really angry. That still makes me smile and the fight did not last long , although i did want to hit him when he first said it….
Ilustration by : StrawberryLoveU