Anger Issues? 3 Obvious Questions That People Don't Ask Themselves
Anger feels right in the moment.
But is it ever the right course of action?
Context matters, I know.
Anger issues should be studied in the environment they take place.
But I believe, in the vast majority of situations, that anger is detrimental to mental health and should be avoided.
In the end, you'll walk away with three important questions to ask yourself.
Here's why and how to avoid anger.
Anger Issues - My Experience
Before I learned coping skills to calm myself down, I would often ruminate. I would think about people who had wronged me, and I would consider actions I could take. "If they do this, then I'll do this!" "If they say that, then I'm going to say THIS!"
Before I knew it, I had gotten myself all worked up in a fit of anger and anxiety.
Has this ever happened to you?
What was even worse was when I lost my temper and yelled at someone or made a rude remark. It rarely happens anymore, but it used to.
And what happened to me in the moment? In the moment, I felt righteous. I felt on top of the world for expressing my point of view in a forceful, powerful way.
And then, later on, reality set in. And I considered the ramifications of anger. I realized that there are very few acceptable circumstances for which angry action is the solution. Self-defense? Maybe. To speak out against bullying? Fair enough.
But those responses should be few and far between.
Because anger destroys the body and mind.
This is Your Body on Anger
Anger is a hijacking of the body and mind. It throws them both into a tailspin. Anger is freeing in the moment but cages you in over the long-term.
And, for the most part, anger usually covers up some other emotion. For instance, a big reason that people get angry is because they actually feel ashamed. And shame is not an acceptable emotion in many societies. But anger is. Especially for men.
But let's take a step back. What happens when anger takes over?
Anger is insidious. It has a creeping, toxic effect on mental health. It may not be noticeable at first, but stew for long enough about a problem, or a foe, or a situation--and eventually anger colors your entire worldview. The world becomes darker and jagged. People are no longer to be trusted. There are more problems than solutions.
Or so it seems.
Stepping Away From Anger - Questions to Ask
If you ever find yourself in the grips of anger, I want you to ask yourself a few questions. Because questions get you away from knee-jerk reactions--they force you to step back and consider alternate paths.
Am I angry?
Seems obvious enough, right? But how often have you stopped to consider this in the moment? Before you can do something about anger, you need to know if you are angry. You need to label the emotion. Getting this kind of information essential because it helps you chart a new course forward.
Why am I angry?
Another obvious question, right? Not exactly. Ask yourself this not once or twice, but many times in a row. The more you ask yourself why, the deeper you get to the root cause. In business circles, this is known as The 5 Whys.
Will anger truly help this situation?
Remember, the point of asking questions is to get you to take a step back. When you ask this question after getting some initial feedback about what's causing your anger, you start to see new paths forward.
And that's the goal, isn't it?
Taking a step back to take a step away--from angry actions to more hopeful ones, to anger as a toxic reaction to understanding as a nourishing response.