Do you often find yourself resenting people and events? Do you gossip with co-workers and friends because you’re really angry at someone and can’t or don’t deal with them directly? Do you spend a good deal of the day churning over a real or imagined hurt? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you probably have a hard time managing your anger. Here’s how to not let your anger get the best of you.
1) Trace it, own it, state it
Pinpoint who you’re angry with or the situation that you find yourself in which seems untenable. Get really clear about what is pushing your buttons. Once you’re clear, decide the most appropriate way to handle it. If a friend is all get and no give, and you’re angry with her, don’t accept it, let her know how you feel. You may lose a friend, but was she really a friend if she doesn’t consider your needs? If, on the other hand, you don’t have a problem saying how you feel, but after you express it, you still find yourself churning, get honest with yourself—what’s really going on?
2) Are you avoiding something that needs to be handled?
Sometimes when we know we need to take action and are not sure of what the result will be, we feel unsure of ourselves. It can be easier to get angry, (sometimes that makes us feel strong), than to stay with feeling vulnerable. If you find yourself getting angry when you’re about to step out and try something new, ask yourself, “Is my anger a smokescreen for something else?”Remember, when you step out in a new way, you are not going to feel comfortable.
3) Are you taking on other people’s anger instead of dealing with your own needs?
Did your friend tell you about an injustice she experienced that made your blood boil? Did you vent with her about how horrible it was, and then continue to stew about it throughout the day? Don’t get so worked up. It’s good to be there for your friend, but it is NOT good to let other people’s problems become your own. If she came to you for advice or just to vent, be there for her, but don’t take the problem home with you. You have enough on your plate.