How to Channel Anger Productively | Anger Management
How to Use Anger Productively
Most people view anger as a negative emotion, but it is just one of a wide array of normal human feelings. Uncontrolled anger can have negative consequences on your interpersonal relationships and quality of life. However, being able to control and channel your anger in a positive direction help you be more productive.
Embracing Your Anger
Allow yourself to feel anger.Some people are taught that any emotion that is not polite or nice should be suppressed. But anger is a normal, healthy emotion that serves an important biological and evolutionary purpose: it prepares you for “fight or flight” against a perceived enemy or danger.You should accept that anger is a normal part of life and allow yourself to experience it, as long as it does not begin to control you.
Realize that anger is physiological.Anger is certainly a psychological emotion, but it is also physiological, involving chemical reactions in your brain.The chemical process that happens when you get angry follows this sequence:
- Your amygdala, the center for emotional processing, sends a distress signal to your hypothalamus.
- Your hypothalamus sends epinephrine along your autonomic nervous system through the path of the sympathetic nervous system to the adrenal glands, which starts pumping epinephrine (adrenaline) throughout your body.
- The adrenaline gets your body ready to meet a threat, increasing your heart rate and sharpening your senses.
Seek help for uncontrolled anger.While anger is normal, feeling angry all the time or feeling as though you’re constantly fighting or suppressing your own anger is not normal. You may want to seek help for your anger if you frequently experience any of the following:
- Thoughts of violence in everyday situations
- Road rage incidents
- Overwhelming negativity
- Feeling as though others don’t understand you
- Domestic violence or battery
- Throwing dishes or other things when angry
- Yelling, screaming, or hitting to get your way
- Blaming others for getting you angry
- Violent behavior in the workplace
Channeling Your Anger Appropriately
Use anger to motivate change.Many people want to make a change in their lives. However, emotions such as fear or complacency get in the way of making change. Anger is a strong emotion that can overpower other emotions, so channeling anger towards making changes in your life can set you on the right path.You should work towards replacing the anger that initially motivated you to action with another emotion, such as passion or enthusiasm.
- For example, you may be working a dead-end job that you don’t like. If your boss says or does something that really angers you, it may be enough to motivate you to put in the extra work to search for a new job or even go back to school to become qualified for a new career path.
Get physical.Physical exercise is a great way to reduce both acute and persistent anger.Your anger may also motivate you to exercise, as it creates a surge of adrenaline. One of the most productive ways to channel anger is to put it towards physical activity. You can exercise your way to emotional health.
- Exercise does not have to happen in the gym. You can get physical exercise by tackling a yard project such a mowing or taming an area that is overgrown with weeds. You can go for a jog or run outdoors by yourself.
Clean your house.Redirect your anger by cleaning your house. Particularly if you do some cleaning that is physically demanding,you can work out your anger while creating a more pleasant environment for yourself.Here are some ideas that combine cleaning with a bit of satisfying physical exertion:
- Scrub the grout in tiled areas
- Take the rugs outside and beat them to get the dirt out
- Vacuum every room, including stairs if you have them
- Use the vacuum attachments to clean your couch(es) or upholstered chairs
- Scrub the bathtub really well
- Take everything out of your closet and only put back items that you really want to keep; donate the rest
Use anger as a substitute emotion.Many times, anger is an emotion that emerges alongside other emotions such as hurt, sadness, grief, depression, or fear.If you are in a vulnerable emotional state, allowing yourself to get angry can serve as a defense mechanism. You can deal with and express your anger rather than another, more hurtful emotion.
- This may not be a healthy long-term approach, but it could be effective in temporary situations, such as dealing with the loss of a family member or getting through an extremely stressful time.
- You may also want to see a therapist to help cope with difficult emotions.
Prove someone wrong.If you are angry at someone because they do not believe in your ability to do something, your best recourse is to prove them wrong. Instead of dwelling on the anger you feel towards the person, apply that extra energy to working towards proving yourself.
- For example, if you were told by a family member or school counselor that you would not be able to graduate from college, instead of getting angry, use the energy from the anger you feel to stay up late studying and prove that you can thrive in college through your own hard work.
Fuel societal change with anger.We usually think of anger as a personal, day-to-day emotion, but it can also be a broader cultural experience that can spur big societal change.
- For example, the civil rights movement and the women’s suffrage movements were both spurred on with anger about injustices.
Convert anger into power.For better or worse, many politicians and business people rely on anger to make them appear more powerful. Studies have shown that people who express anger (rather than sadness or guilt) are afforded more respect or are viewed by others as having more power.
- There may be a fine line between appearing powerful and being regarded as a hothead with whom people do not want to do business. If you show a little anger about a business deal, people may think that you are passionate and committed to your work. However, if you blow up and have a tantrum in a business meeting, people may not want to work with you in the future.
- An example of showing a little anger or force in a business deal is stating your position assertively and not backing down. An example of a tantrum is slamming your hand on the desk, throwing paperwork, or storming out of the room if someone disagrees with you.
QuestionWhat if I am angry towards an individual and I cannot avoid them because I see them every day?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerWhat I tend to do is channel the anger by preoccupying myself with something or someone else, because the person that I am angry with doesn't deserve my time and energy. Later, I channel that anger into something else, like sports or screaming into a pillow.Thanks!
QuestionWhat if I am using anger against myself to gain weight for protection?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerYou can use emotions to help motivate you in something you want to accomplish. However, do it in a healthy manner. Speak to a doctor and educate yourself before doing something like gaining weight.Thanks!
QuestionIs it a good idea to get a punching bag if I feel uncontrollably angry or overwhelmed with sadness?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerYes, that would most likely be very useful for you. I would also recommend looking into counseling if you're capable of doing so. A therapist can help you work through this anger and sadness while learning to handle it in a healthy way.Thanks!
QuestionWhat if I feel angry for no reason?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerJust keep calm and focus on using that anger productively, even if you aren't sure why you feel angry in the first place. To get some energy out in a healthy way, consider going for a run or doing some bodyweight exercises.Thanks!
QuestionI am angry about something in society, but I am too young, too scared, and too sensitive to criticism to take a stand. How do I channel my anger without being directly involved?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerDo it anyway. No one is too young. For example, you can protest #BLM by wearing your hair naturally or wearing the t-shirts. Do what little you can. This will make a difference.Thanks!
QuestionWhat if I feel the urge to break something while mad?Top AnswererThis is a normal urge, but you have to control it. The rule is that whoever shouts, insults or even fights first, loses. If I say A and you say B, we both can present arguments and learn from each other. If you have no more arguments, and still disagree with me, you say "well, I'm out of arguments, but I still disagree, I'll take some time to think about it, thanks for sharing your thoughts." You really can't get angry and break stuff.Thanks!
How can you let your family know how to help you without yelling or crying. I scream in to a pillow but it hardly helps. I feel like no one understands what I want?
Video: Understand anger and use it as a weapon
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