Anger is one of the most basic of human emotions. It's experienced even by babies. But while infants and toddlers manage their anger primarily with tears and physical reflex, such as hitting, adults have better options. Using healthy ways to manage anger can benefit your mental and physical health and it makes you more likable in most cases.
Studies show that feeling angry can have health risks unless it is managed in constructive ways. Whether it's experienced as a mild form of anger, such as feeling temporarily irritated or annoyed or a strong level of anger such as fury or intense hostility, angry feelings may result in health risks like heart disease and can even result in things like car accidents.Anger affects the nervous system, releasing stress hormones. Those hormones may disrupt heart rhythm and may push us toward an unhealthy lifestyle in an attempt to curb our feelings. Feeling angry without having a constructive or healthy way to manage the emotion may contribute to excessive alcohol consumption, overeating, smoking and other negative lifestyle choices. Researchers also have discovered a link between experiencing anger while driving and car accidents. Some angry emotions can result in risky behaviors on the road from road rage to intimidation attempts or even speeding. Similar studies associate anger with driving dangers such as reduced concentration and lack of control behind the wheel. And of course, none of these are healthy things. But we can't just stop feeling angry. So what can we do?
Feeling anger is part of the human experience. We all feel angry at some point. But if we want to increase our health, we need to keep it well in hand. Researchers have learned that managing those angry emotions in positive ways that help someone express themselves can make us healthier than if we try to ignore the feelings.
Instead of yelling, driving at high speeds or punching holes in the wall, consider these positive ways to release that anger:
After you have released your anger in positive ways, and feel calmer, make a plan of what you want to say to the person who made you feel anger.
It may help to write a script and practice the upcoming conversation. Mention your needs, your feelings, and if applicable, an apology for your role in the situation. Remember that it's more important to maintain an important relationship than to be right. If you both want to maintain the relationship, then start from there, on the same side. And work your way out to the incident that sparked the anger.
When you are ready, communicate to the other individual calmly. Keep your discussion respectful, seeking input on methods to avoid similar situations in the future. Take ownership of your feelings in your dialogue with statements, including “I feel” and “I think.” You may also want to include benefits for the other person in your discussion, such as improving your closeness.
Anger is a normal emotion. Learning to manage anger in healthy ways can help us all. By communicating our feelings calmly and respectfully, we can improve our emotional and physical health and future communications to the point of greatly improving our relationships. And a good relationship with a friend or family member is absolutely divine and worth every effort to create and keep.