We all feel angry some times. We learn our first lessons in anger management from a very young age by emulating the people around us. However, most children are discouraged from expressing anger directly and consequently, learn to suppress it. True, if not handled properly anger could have destructive physical, psychological and social manifestations. However, anger is a normal emotion and we need a certain amount of it to survive and defend ourselves in certain situations. Anger management is a skill that enables us to minimize our negative responses to anger producing situations.
Impacts of Anger: If everyday situations such as being caught in a traffic jam regularly make you angry, you have a problem at hand. On the physical level, constant, chronic anger, hostility and aggression increase the likelihood of a heart attack Research indicates that people who are frequently prone to anger are more likely to suffer a heart attack before age 55. Anger elevates adrenaline and blood pressure levels, increases the prospects of stroke, cancer, depression, anxiety disorders and a depressed immune system- little aches and pains, headaches, upset stomachs, colds and fever are common in hostile people.
Conversely, suppressed anger could bring on heart disease, cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, hives, acne, psoriasis, peptic ulcer, epilepsy and migraine amongst other conditions. Experts agree that while expressing anger is crucial for good health, equally important is expressing it appropriately.
Anger breaks down communication and relationships. In a rage, people often say and do things that hurt others and which they usually ends up regretting. Anger depletes large amounts of physical and mental energy; it affects our self- esteem, our ability to form constructive relationships and to enjoy life.
- Explore other ways of venting your frustrations and pent up feelings. Scream in private, bang your fists on a pillow or have a circle of ‘sponge friends’.
- When you feel anger building up, drink several glasses of cool (not icy cold) water. Avoid soft drinks, which usually contain sugar, acids and caffeine and are likely to excite you more.
- Replace junk and processed foods with healthy, protein rich foods. Omega-3 essential fatty acids, which are present in flaxseed oil and cold-water fish such as salmon and tuna, are of immense help for regulating brain functions and are essential for optimizing mental performance. Women who are deficient in the essential fatty acids are generally more prone to depression.
- Eliminating all sweet and fat or better still, fasting could keep you in a cool frame of mind. However, since fasting could lead to hunger pangs and subsequently, irritation, combine it with relaxation or breathing exercises.
- A very small amount of sweet, just enough for the taste, allowed to slowly melt in the mouth could also help.
- Avoid pungent, salty, sour and astringent tastes as far as possible.
- Avoid smoking and drinking alcohol-it heats and dries the body.
- Chewing red or green cardamom helps turn the acid biochemistry to alkaline, thus reducing anger.
- Walk or exercise for at least 30 minutes, everyday- its one of the best relaxants possible.
- Avoid overeating- it loads the digestive system and produces more heat, which could manifest in the form of anger.
In my opinion the best way to manage your anger is to firstly become aware that you have a short fuse. Observe the emotion and watch it rise and then subside. Stay quiet ‘consciously’ during this entire phase and ‘observe’ yourself with total awareness. This will prevent any harm done to others and eventually to yourself. When you master this, the next step is to change your attitude towards the triggers. Simply smile to yourself when you see a trigger coming up. It will help you calm down. Take it easy. Treat life as a play. Stay free from reaction. Don’t stir up people and don’t get stirred up. Remember that no one can drive you crazy unless you give them the keys to do so.
ANJALI MUKERJEE, Nutritionist, Founder Director-Health Total, having health centers
in Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore, Pune -manages obesity & other health related disorders.
Contact numbers: 1800 8918131/+91 86575 61727
For further information, Visit www.health-total.com