Issue No. 7
How to Handle Anger
Table of Contents
- The Nature of Anger
- Effects of Anger
- How to deal with Anger
Anger causes us to do things that we later regret. Some people become violent
and even kill others, something they normally would not even think of. Anger
makes us unhappy. And it is generally an ineffective way of coping with
II. The Nature of Anger
Anger is tension and hostility as a result of frustration. We respond in
different ways at different ages. When a baby, we cry or scream. As children,
it may be a tantrum or fighting, or surliness. As we grow older, we normally
react through verbal expressions: arguing, criticizing, swearing. Or the person
may become violent and aggressive. On the other hand, the person may have
grown up learning to suppress anger, but at the same time not learn how to cope
with problems, and hence tend to be ineffective in confronting difficult
situations. Both these extremes are not wholesome. Aggressive release of anger
as well as its suppression are not the most effective ways of dealing with a
problem. Remember: the way we cope with problems and the way we express our
anger are learned. There are effective and ineffective ways. If you have learned
an ineffective way, you can relearn a better way.
III. Effects of Anger
- It destroys relationship
- It can lead to violence.
- It leads to high blood pressure.
- Its suppression can lead to psychosomatic disorders.
- It can create more problems as it tries to solve existing ones.
IV. How to deal with Anger
- Accept the inevitable. When a valuable vase is broken. Learn to
face that it has already happened. See what can effectively be done to
prevent a similar occurrence.
- Learn how to dissipate build up of your aggressive energies.
The best way is by developing constant awareness. Be in touch with your
feelings at all time. When small frustrations arise, be conscious of your
physical symptoms: shortness of breath, tightening of muscles in the face,
neck, arm or chest. Awareness of these at the beginning of anger will
- Breathe deeply several times. Observe the relaxation of your
body as you breathe in and out.
- Reflect on what is the best way of handling the situation.
- Undertake regular activities that will tend to dissipate aggressive
- Sports - this regularly releases pent-up energies.
- Hobbies - this takes away our mind from sources of
conflicts for a time giving the mind opportunity to rest and be free
- Realize certain facts about anger.
- You create your anger, and hence it is your responsibility, not
others'. Someone may be offensive to you, but it is you who
create the anger. Decide that you must be in control of yourself, not
they who will control you.
Example: in certain conflicts, such as boxing or in competitive
sports, a participant may provoke the opponent to anger to make the
other lose his cool. As a result, the one who loses his temper may
no longer play the game effectively and lose. He has fallen into the
trap of reacting in anger to a provocation.
- Anger often causes you to do things or say things that you will
later regret. Therefore, it is to your advantage that you
minimize the automatic expression of anger.
- Anger can sometimes be extremely dangerous to your health.
Aside from risks of heart attacks among those who are
susceptible, anger can produce certain toxic substances in the body
that can harm oneself, or a pregnant mother's womb, or a nursing
Example: Mother who breastfed her 3-month-old baby while in a fit
of extreme anger. A few hours later, the baby turned blue, and by
evening the baby was dead. (See Peace Ideas No. 4, page 4)
- Regularly practice silence.
Take time out to enter into periods of silence and meditation, where the
emotions are naturally calm and the mind is silent. Our emotions will tend
to deepen and we will no longer react superficially to small daily
provocations, but will have the capacity to reflect on them.
Copyright 1995. Permission to reprint is granted provided acknowledgment is made to:
Theosophical Society in the Philippines, 1 Iba St., Quezon City, Philippines
"If five percent of the people work for peace, there will be peace."