Have you ever overreacted with anger to what someone else said or did, or to a situation? Do you find yourself getting angry with yourself over the smallest things? Are you prone to road rage? How much is that anger costing you in terms of lost career/business opportunities or soured relationships?
When is anger appropriate?
Emotions are our way of knowing that something feels comfortable or uncomfortable for us. Therefore, paying attention to our emotions is very important. Sometimes we feel appropriate anger when other people do things that are disrespectful towards us. For example, when people call us names, put us down, take advantage of our good nature, borrow things without returning them when promised, etc.
If the anger we feel in a situation is in proportion to the situation that we are in, then the anger we feel is appropriate. Any time we overreact or experience anger which is out of proportion to the situation we are in, it is a sign that we have unresolved anger from the past (i.e. you are feeling the anger of the moment plus the anger of the past which is coming up for you to address).
Some people express their anger and others suppress it. Either way, if the anger is unresolved for a period of time, it has the potential to create health problems, such as heart attacks, heart disease and weight gain. In addition, anger can result in very hurtful conversations with loved ones, friends and colleagues, which can sour those relationships, and can even harm our professional career.
Here are the top 5 ways to identify any possible anger issues:
1. Overreacting to situations with anger eg. road rage in traffic.
2. Overreacting to people with anger eg. being very short tempered, verbal abuse, lots of swearing or physical violence.
3. Beating up on yourself too much or being overly critical or judgemental of yourself may mean you are angry with yourself. You may even be angry at yourself for not doing the things you want to be doing or for not doing the things that you said you would do.
4. Finding it difficult to forgive other people for what has happened in the past may mean you are angry with them.
5. Being surrounded by angry people. Like attracts like. If you want to stop attracting angry people, let go of your anger first.
Managing vs Addressing Past Anger
You can learn to deal with anger and to manage it as it comes up. This is only a temporary solution because the underlying anger will still be unresolved and will still be pushing your buttons and causing you to overreact. Screaming, yelling and expressing the anger will only make the situation worse over time as it only serves to intensify the underlying anger.