Strategies to prevent and manage anger
Anger is an emotion . It is a signal linked to a set of physiological changes that occur in our body, and that try to warn us that something is happening in our outer or inner world that is not aligned with us; something we do not agree with; something we do not like; something that, according to our point of view, we can not allow.
Our anger, anger, anger (you can call it as it seems better), is nothing more than a defense mechanism that helps us fight a malaise. It appears when in a situation we are very far from our needs.
What types of anger are there?
We could simplify and give a classification of the emotions depending on whether or not our needs are met, in this way we would have:
- When our needs are met and we feel good ... we have positive emotions .
- When our needs are not met and we feel bad ... we have emotions called negative .
It's a lot to simplify but sometimes in simplicity is the key.
Good emotions and not so good emotions
Within the needs mentioned in the classification we could find ourselves from basic needs, subsistence and well-being (food, hydration, rest, tranquility ...) to identity needs (self-affirmation, respect, integrity ...), relational needs (attention, love , listen ...), needs for meaning, security, freedom, recreation, participation, realization and celebration.
Any type of need that we have, if it is not covered, generates discomfort .
From negative emotions to anger
But let's go back to our anger.
Synthesizing what we have seen so far ... if we get angry it's because at that moment a need of ours is not being satisfied . Then, our body responds with an accumulation of physiological reactions to warn us that we have to act. Our wise body can not allow our need not to be covered.
But what happens? ... that we focus so much on both ourselves, and our needs, that we do not realize that the other person also has his.
Generally we only look at what we need and focus on the words, attitude, and gestures of the other person and we can not allow them to talk to us like that or treat us like that.
When we get angry, we usually overreact
What is the worst of this?
Well, in the vast majority of cases we lose the north of the real reason for our anger . We end up angry with ourselves, or with third parties, and on many occasions leaving our original need unfilled, and even giving rise to the creation of new needs, due to the anger itself.
Maybe your anger has appeared because you were tired or you needed to be recognized for your work or simply because you needed a little bit of tranquility and there is a terrible ruckus ...
The reasons can be endless but, many times, nwe focus so much on the attitude of the other person that our anger ends up not achieving its true purpose , which is that your need is covered or, at least, validated.
Trying to prevent anger
Ideally, when we detect ourselves in a state of anger, let's investigate a little more.
What are you missing? What need do you not have covered? Why is your body reacting like this?
Ok, we've seen your anger ... now we go to the other side:
"But what happens to the other person?!" ... "Do not you see what you need?!" ... "How can you be so selfish !?"
That is what we generally think and, sometimes, we even say without realizing that the other person also has their needs. So now, we are going to try to manage in a correct way the moments of anger that we all have on occasion.
Managing the moments of anger step by step
1. Analyze why you get angry
Close your eyes for a moment and think of an argument or an anger that you have recently had with someone (your partner, a co-worker, your son) ... What happened?
Surely you had some totally valid reason to feel bad and that's why your anger was fired to come out in your defense . But you must take into account several things. Let's continue. Close your eyes again but now focus on the real need you had when your anger appeared, you needed silence, you needed fun, love, recognition, what was your real need?
And, now, let's change our role.
What reason could your partner, co-worker or your son have to act as he did? What unmet need was there behind?
Imagine that you are the other person ...What need do you think you can have? You need to replenish energy, respect, play ...
How do you see the discussion now? Do you still see it from your self?
Have you been able to empathize with the other person and see or feel their other need? From this place, would you have acted otherwise?
Personally I think that none of us voluntarily seeks a discussion , however, many times we find two completely opposite needs not met (ours and the other person's), to which neither of us knows how to name or communicate properly and this makes us unwittingly become a conflict.
2. Take a breath and think about the needs of each one
The next time you detect that your automatic of anger is triggered ... Stop and ask yourself:
What need of mine is not being covered? And then ask yourself, What possible need of the other person is not being covered?
If in a discussion we try to cover both needs, from humility, from tranquility, from the perspective that no need is more important than the other, but are different and valid needs, at that moment and in both people, then the discussion has ended.
3. Reinterpret conflicts and give them a positive exit
Turn your conflicts into a search for solutions , trying to cover both needs as much as possible, and validating both needs as legitimate and equally important.
Sometimes we can not cover both needs at the same time, but we can always resolve the conflict by validating both needs as important and looking for a possible solution even if some, a little more is postponed.
I propose that in your next discussion you start by asking yourself:
What do I need? ... And the other person, what do you need?
What are the needs that are not being met?
You will see how your anger will automatically diminish.