Then, when we become aware, we may feel guilt and take corrective action to remedy that state. Up to here, ground known to all.
However, there are people who are charged with anger, who – without having any disease, such as bipolar disease – go on to have really frightening outbursts of violence and aggression.
Anger is one of the five basic emotions of human beings (the others being fear, sadness, surprise, disgust and joy).
It is perhaps one of the most harmful, because beyond what it produces in others and in oneself this uncontrollable emotional outburst, there are marks and traces that can last forever.
It usually involves a great deal of violence based on extreme irritability, anger, or very strong resentment towards another person or situation, which completely unleashes the person’s system of emotional self-regulation.
In cohabitation environments, anger represents a danger to the mental, physical and psychological integrity of people, and we often see the additional consequences in the form of hitting, throwing objects, breaking doors and any other type of manifestation of great out-of-control aggressiveness.
Prior to and during the duration of the anger episode, blood pressure and stress hormones are increased to maximum levels of adrenaline and noradrenaline, and the heart rate is significantly accelerated. Because of this accentuated flow in the blood the person becomes red, and in addition, his body becomes tense, the muscles contract, breathing becomes very superficial in the upper level of the lungs (short, fast, almost like a snort) and, like an uncontrollable rage, the internal energy rises in a threatening way. Stiff mandbula, showing teeth, closed fists, are some of the ways it occurs.
This state notably diminishes the capacity for reasoning, and the primitive reptilian impulse to confront and escape appears, that is, to attack or escape from a danger that the person interprets and that generates emotions such as fear, insecurity, loss of something, or feels hurt or violated in some way.
Anger produces serious physical consequences, such as coronary (heart attacks, for example) and gastrointestinal problems, sleep disturbances; and psychic consequences, such as personality and behavioral disorders, which must be addressed by a mental health professional.
A tantrum in childhood, the permanent bad answer in a regular conversation, an emotional outburst before something that we consider unfair, are expressions of the emotional nuances totally spontaneous and moderately acceptable if the other and oneself are not attacked. Some examples are mild levels of anger, rage or irritation, for example. They usually regulate themselves after a few minutes.
In the case of anger, and especially in temperaments in people with this tendency to overreact to things, it bursts into automatic especially when it has set itself a mental scenario that does not coincide with reality. That is, when she feels a threat to her goals, she may react with anger.
The psychologist has identified at least five types of this human manifestation:
1 – Anger on impulse or defense: it appears when something is very unpleasant and unacceptable to you. You get into clerical mode and respond automatically, seeking to detach yourself and override or annihilate that impulse. For example, when you are insulted or receive an accusation that you consider unfair.
2 – Repressed anger: usually leads to an explosion. When anger or displeasure is placed in a pressure cooker, it explodes in the worst way. It occurs when something triggers it, or you can no longer stand the situation that the person interprets as causing it. As a consequence, there is anguish, anxiety, distancing from the direct circle of people, among other feelings. For example, it occurs when you do not know how to express your feelings at the right time, avoid saying no to please others or accept situations with which you do not agree, although you do not know how to manage them.
3 – Anger over unmet needs: the best example is babies who throw a tantrum if they are hungry, or feel unprotected. Adults also tend to get angry when they are hungry and tired. This state is usually temporary and, once the need is satisfied, the person regulates himself. It is a basic emotion created for our survival.
4 – Spontaneous anger: it appears when the person feels something is wrong with them, and responds aggressively. When the trigger is neutralized, the anger gradually fades away. It is a natural survival mechanism, which has been very useful in the prehistoric era.
5 – Intermittent Explosive Disorder: in this case, anger appears for no reason; the outburst is spontaneous and bluntly violent (for example, throwing an object against the wall), but it is not preceded by signs like anger, but goes directly to the manifestation of anger. It happens, gives and goes away. Then, there can be confusion, internal impotence for not being able to control these impulses, and an intense feeling of guilt, which sometimes leads to apologizing to those affected, although when you are calm you know that this does not compensate for the emotional damage that has been inflicted on others.
I have been able to contribute with dozens of senior business managers, executives and professionals in this aspect within their executive coaching processes, and in some cases, I have referred them to a mental health professional for a basal, reasoned approach.
These twelve keys are designed for you to exercise them over a continuous period, without interruption. You will find here enough resources for you to address your anger and gradually overcome it.
Remember: this information is merely for guidance; you need to consult a professional specialized in mental health to obtain better results:
1 – Anger can be managed
Emotional management implies having the development of appropriate skills to know how to face and self-regulate the way of acting before what is presented. In Daniel Goleman’s EQ model, this state is defined as self-regulation, the internal limit that indicates the threshold to be avoided. I recommend intense supervised physical exercise, yoga, meditation, mindulness, tai chi and disciplines of internal self-mastery.
2 – Sernate before you react
When you feel like you’re about to burst into rage, curb the primitive, serene impulse. This will allow you to lower the decibels of what you want to manifest, and give you the opportunity to incorporate this mechanism until it is applied automatically.
3 – Take a deep breath with your abdomen
As I said before, breathing during anger is very superficial. Practice breathing exercises, including the abdomen (the muscle below the navel and near the stomach); inflate your belly as much as possible; then, in turn, fill your lungs with air. Breathe in, hold for a few seconds and release the air, always through your nose in this case. Repeat ten times twice a day, to instinctively incorporate this type of cost-diaphragmatic breathing (as it also fills the intercostal spaces).
4 – Responds assertively, (not aggressively)
Being assertive means having the ability to connect with the other person’s tie, and understanding what they may be feeling at the time. To do this, observe and stare into each other’s eyes, hold your gaze and breathe deeply (point 3). It allows you to feel the air coming in and out as you strive to be present, listen and interact in a calm and serene manner.
Then, express without attacking what you want to say, always from the first person of the singular: I feel, A m pasa me, to open a space of understanding beyond the differences that you could have with the others.
5 – Nonviolent Communication
This model by Marshall Rosenberg, who mediated wars and territorial conflicts worldwide, allows you to express what you feel from a calm and assertive perspective. It consists of four steps:
Step one: Observing the facts. Describe them without judgment or interpretation, neutrally; the pure fact.
Step two: Express how you feel from your position in the situation. This made me feel it’s a good way to start.
Step three: Express your specific needs and values. That is to say, what you need to NOT feel that way.
Step four: Formulation of an order/agreement In this last step, you will make a formal request to your interlocutor as a plan of action and commitment, where you commit to follow certain guidelines and ideally, the other person as well. In case the other party does not accept, start again from the first step, taking as a reference that answer you have just been given, until an agreement satisfactory to both parties is reached.
6 – Leave the situation and rethink it when you calm down
Another tool I recommend is that you don’t respond when in internal ebullition. It’s better to pause, ask for a space to think and then resume later.
7 – Listen to each other without interrupting
This tip is essential, because the person with a tendency to anger is usually the one who wants to appropriate conversations in moments when he or she feels an inner rage. So, aim for the conversation to be a pin-pin between the two of them. Then, you listen, pause before answering automatically, and then think about what you are going to say.
Please avoid making up your mind as the other one talks, as this can cause anger to arise spontaneously. It is better to pause the conversation for a few moments, and to be able to say what you want from a calm and serene place.
8 – Look for the origin of your emotional outbursts
Professional psychotherapy and self-awareness in general, allow you to dive into the races of this irascible behavior.
9 – Practice flexibility with you
Starting with you, practice being flexible. The best way I’ve found is by watching people who get on my nerves: there’s something about me that identifies with just that part of the other person; that is, what I recognize that I don’t like about the other person, I recognize because I have something about that that I can improve.
10 – Activate Code X and observe what your body says (tensin, migraines, etc.)
Physiology is a great anticipation of anger. The pulses are accelerated, there is tension in the muscles, even perceiving how your breathing is acting when that emotion approaches. When you are attentive to the signals, you apply what I have called Code X, a name or a gesture that anticipates the other that you are in a situation of internal ebullience. In this way the other party can help you to avoid the outbreak of anger and to rebalance you.
11 – Watch your tone of voice and body language
During anger the voice is expressed at a high volume, in the form of shouting, howling, sometimes a voice torn by tension and the pain that this outburst is manifesting. Also your body accompanies with a series of gestures and non-verbal attitudes.
If you begin to work on your tone of voice to take it from high to medium imperatives, for example, to express kind, pleasant words and insert acknowledgements, congratulations and thanks (without pretending), you will see how you can shape both: your emotional language will be more enriched, as will your body language be more fluid and less confrontational.
12 – Use the STOP technique
Created by Tim Gallway, it allows you to stop in time before you explode:
S Stop > Do not act, stop all impulse
T Think > Reflecting on the basis of the impulse
Or Observe > Wash yourself out of what you feel and look at the situation from the perspective of the other, as well as your own. What new information can you gather?
P Proceed > Acting by going through the three steps above will allow you to have become more aware of what you are going to do, and possibly have downloaded several changes before overreacting.
As the philosopher Sneca said: Anger is an acid that can do more harm to the container in which it is stored than to anything else it is poured into. Remember that you do most of the giving to yourself, as well as corroding all kinds of relationships with others.
Facilitator and Executive Master Coach specialized in CEOs, top management, professionals and teams; professional communicator; international speaker; author of 30 books. LinkedIn Top Voice Amrica Latina 2019.
SUBSCRIBE for free to my Newsletter: https://www.danielcolombo.com/pages/newsletter/
My books: www.amazon.com/author/danielcolombo