Anger gets the best of all of us at one point or another. Throughout our lives, there are times when we let our anger manifest until we need to let it out, often in an unhealthy manner. But there are better ways.
Anger is an emotion. Mad, annoyed, or displeased, all describe the word anger. Often, anger is a reaction to a circumstance. When we were kids, and someone poked us with a stick, we told them to stop because it hurt. If the kid flat out ignores your request and continues to poke you, eventually, you’re going to react. Most of the time, you’re going to do something to stop the kid from poking you and take the pain away, no matter what it is. For example, you could knock the stick out of the kid’s hand, push them down, or poke them back with a bigger stick, etc. There are various ways to get the person back that hurts you. But vengeance is never a good thing.
When I was younger, I would argue with my parents from time to time. Said every person ever, I know. However, sometimes it got pretty heated. I got hit as a child; therefore, I would get upset many times because I felt pain. Other times, I was merely mad because my parents yelled at me or took something away from me. Often, I’d react by going outside and punching the garage door, usually, until the point where my knuckles were red, and I may have even bled. It was my way of letting out my frustrations. Yet, I only hurt myself further and didn’t truly get anything out of it besides a few minutes of satisfying punches. But were they genuinely gratifying? No. Because there was a healthier way.
First off, it was childish for me to punch my garage door. It didn’t solve anything. Because afterward, I was still upset. I knew there was a better way, but didn’t care enough to make a change. But the older I grew, I realized how stupid it was for me to hurt something physically just because I was in pain. Tit for tat never makes anyone feel better. So what did I do? I found alternatives.
Rather than taking my anger out in a painful way, I sought different, constructive ways to release my frustrations. My one true haven since I was a little kid, you know, the one that rescued me from stupidly punching more things, was basketball. It was the one place I could go, and the thing I could do that took my mind off of everything. In moments where I needed to let out pent up aggression, that’s where I did it, on the court competing. The game was simple and made any other thing going on in my life a little less relevant. All I had to do was put a ball into a hoop, and the straightforward nature of the game was refreshing and a light in dark moments throughout my life.
Another stress reliever I had growing up was music. I would often listen to it if I didn’t have the chance to play basketball, or just wanted to get away without really getting away. Music took me to a place where I could relate to different artists. They’d speak on the issues I was going through at the time, such as relationships, family, and dreams. Ultimately, listening to music was calming and soothed me.
These are just two alternative techniques I found to manage my anger and ease my frustrations. In adulthood, I’ve found two more. The first is playing pool. I’ve always been a competitor, and anytime I like something, I want to become the best I possibly can. Billiards is another stress reliever due to its simpleness and being competition based. You see, I use my drive for competition as fuel to bridge the gap between my anger and letting it out in a constructive way. Last, but certainly not least, is writing. Writing has become increasingly essential for me over the past five years. It’s not just a passion of mine; it’s an anger management technique. If I ever feel angry or just want to let off some steam, I can write. Words are powerful, and a blank page becomes a canvas to express myself, whether I am mad or not.
The other part of anger management is maturity. As you grow older, you go through different experiences that teach you lessons. A lesson taught to me when I was younger is that getting angry and taking it out on something or someone else is hurtful. Once again, there are better ways. Your actions and reactions have power. If someone says something you don’t agree with, rather than jumping down their throat, try to have a bit of perspective. We are all different and grew up in various circumstances. Therefore, no one person is going to have the same mindset, beliefs, and moral values as you.
Because you have a particular stance on a subject, it doesn’t mean everyone else will. So, it is your responsibility to have perspective in every moment. If someone says something you don’t like, think about why they said it. Is it because of the individual’s background? Is it because of the way they’ve been treated? Typically, there is an underlying issue there. How should you react? For starters, be kind.
Be kind in a world of people who are quick to assume, judge, and let their frustrations out on others. Think about your mistakes and how, at times, you were so mad about a situation because you thought you were right, that you blinded yourself to the truth. With the help of those around you, you eventually saw the truth and realized your anger was unjust. Trust me, we’ve all been there. But it’s by holding ourselves accountable that we can ultimately manage our anger. You control yourself, no one else does. You are responsible for your actions, and you always will be. You can always change and unlearn, don’t forget that.
Start managing your anger, first, by recognizing that in the past, you have continuously taken it out in an unhealthy manner. Then, find alternative techniques to let your anger out. After that, hold yourself accountable and realize that you play a role, and always have a responsibility to do the right thing. Doing so will allow you to become more in tune with yourself, setting you up to handle any anger laden situation calmly and effectively.