Stress Management and Mastery: 5 Tips for Positive Anger Management

A grandfather, whose grandson came to him angry at a schoolmate who had done him an injustice, said,

"I too, at times, have felt a great hate for those who have taken so much, with no sorrow for what they do. But hate wears you down and doesn't hurt your enemy. It's like taking poison and wishing your enemy would die.

"I have struggled with these feelings many times," he continued. "It is as if there are two wolves inside me: One is good and does no harm. He lives in harmony with all around him and doesn't take offense when no offense was intended. He will fight only when it is right to do so and in the right way. But the other wolf, ah! He is full of anger. The smallest thing will set him into a fit of temper. He fights everyone, all the time, for no reason. He cannot think because his anger and hate are so great. It is hard to live with these two wolves inside me, for both of them try to dominate my spirit."

The boy looked intently into his grandfather's eyes and asked

"Which one wins?"

The grandfather solemnly replied

"The one I feed."

Anger is human

Anger is a naturally ocurring emotion that in and of itself is not necessarily a bad thing. It's what we do with our anger that makes the difference.

We can either feed it and make it worse, or we can work with it and handle it in a way that makes healthy sense. It's always a choice. .

How to feed anger

Play the blame game.

Finding, placing and dramatizing blame is one of the greatest sources of creating and feeding anger. Blame talks like this,

"It's someone else's fault. He should not have done it, and I must make him pay for it."

One of the many downsides of this is that the blame game takes so much time and energy, leaving you with little for the rest of your life.

Play the enflame game.

Once you are angry, you have two choices: Defuse your anger or enflame it. The danger with enflaming your anger is that it quickly becomes a habit and you forget it's a choice.

Enflaming requires nurturing anger by running the injustice over and over in your mind. Another way to do this is to tell as many people as you can about how you feel until you get a number of folks on your side. They become assistant enflamers.

Blaming and enflaming fit dangerously well. The more you blame, the more enflamed you become. The more enflamed you become, the more you find to blame.

How to feed healthy feelings

Play the diffuse game.

Pausing to ask yourself a few questions helps reduce anger. For example: How much do I enjoy this feeling? How strongly do I want to feel this anger? How long do I want to feel it?

Anger can prevent us from thinking. Pausing long enough to answer these questions allows you to re-engage your brain and decide how you want to handle your anger.

Accept that not everything in life can or needs to be set right.

Many times when we try to set things right, we just muck it up that much more. Sometimes we just have to release it and move on. Treat it like the dust it is, shake it off your shoes and walk on into the rest of your life.

For more tips and tools for managing anger visit Tools for Successful Living

In The News:

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More Than a Murder-Suicide  Psychiatric Times
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