Control Your Anger, Or It Will Control You

Anybody can become angry, that is easy, but to be angry with the right nperson and to the right degree and at the right time and for the right purpose, and in the right way – that is not within everyone’s power and is not easy

Aristotle

Of all of the emotional states, anger is the most harmful. It causes people to lose perspective and act irrationally. Worse still, it lingers. You can’t get angry at someone or something, take a few deep breaths and then be back to normal. Giving in to anger  could put you in a foul mood for the rest of the day or week. When this happens, you risk hurting more than just yourself. Unintentionally, you find yourself snapping at loved ones, finding fault or shutting yourself away from them through no fault of your own. All because someone pissed you off at work or on your commute.

Anger, when managed well, can be a force to bring about positive change. Contain it, bottle it up and unleash it in your work or in the gym, and you will find that fire in your belly driving you to hit all of your work targets or power through your workout. This is an incredibly difficult balancing act, as you have to be careful not to turn that anger towards anything or anyone else other than what you are focusing it on.

In order to control you anger, instead of letting it control you, there is a lot of work to be done first;

  • Self Awareness. First things first, you need some kind of idea regarding what you want from life, who you are, what you value and what makes you happy. After all, this is the baseline against which you measure your daily life. Living in accordance with your beliefs and values makes you happy. Being forced to go against what you value and hold dear, on the other hand, leads to frustration and disillusionment.
  • Triggers. As you self-reflect, try to identify the triggers for certain emotions. When do you feel happy? What makes you angry? What brings on certain emotional states and why?
  • Responses and consequences. Let’s look at anger. What happens when you get angry? How does it affect your work? How does it impact your interactions with others? Do you have any control over it? Do you deal with it quickly or does it linger? Does it cause unintended problems in your personal or professional life?

Once you’ve reminded yourself who you are, what you value, what you believe in and what makes you angry and why, it’s time to work out some strategies for dealing with this dangerous emotion. This is why it’s important to be self-aware, because the best way to change your mood is by doing something positive that brings you peace, enjoyment or relaxation.

This will inevitably vary from person top person as we are all different, so you have to find what works for you. Here are some of my favourite ways to stop anger in its tracks, as an example;

  • Take the dog (or just myself) for a walk. Simply taking yourself out of that situation, changing scenery and getting active can work wonders. I love being outdoors, so a walk in the park or the woods is an instant mood changer.
  • Look for an outlet. It’s not always possible to drop everything and go for a walk to clear your head, so you need a back-up
    • Write it out. I always carry a notebook, and will often write out everything that is pissing me off. This helps to clear my mind and I feel like a weight has been lifted. More importantly, I am able to read back what I have written and see what caused my anger, why and what I could do to stop it from happening again.
    • Gym. Get it out of you system by getting sweaty and releasing some endorphins.
    • Throw yourself into a project. Turn all of your nervous energy towards something productive, be it a DIY project at home or a work project.
    • Reach out to a friend or loved one for a chat. Sometimes, just having someone to listen can do the world of good.

Left unchecked, anger can cause untold harm in your personal and professional lives. That’s why it’s important to be proactive. Learn to recognise the warning signs, and always have a few strategies up your sleeve ready to stop it in its tracks. After all, if you don’t learn to control your anger, it will end up controlling, and ruining, your life

 

Discipline

“In reading the lives of great men, I found that the first victory was over themselves. Self-discipline with all of them came first”

Harry S Truman

When exploring the multitude of factors which have the power to influence or contribute to our happiness and success, there is one which reigns supreme. Discipline. Mastery over the self, and a certain level of control over our emotions and impulses, can bring serious benefits to all areas of our lives from our health and fitness to our relationships with others, our professional lives and everything in-between.

There have been a number of studies over the years which have explored the power and benefits of discipline in depth, and if there is one common theme, it is that those who practice self-discipline are often happier as a result. Better yet is the fact that discipline is a learned behaviour. It is not something that you are born with, but rather it’s within reach for all of us. So, if you want to become more disciplined, it is entirely possible as long as you put the effort and hard work in. And hard work it most certainly is. In order to become disciplined, you must master the self. This means becoming more aware of who you are, what motivates you, your hopes and fears and your vision for the future. Furthermore, you become more acutely aware of your emotions and what triggers them, leading you to becoming more effective at controlling them as well as your impulses. This culminates in a person developing a sense of balance and becoming more able to make better informed and more rational decisions, which are not governed by impulse and emotion. Your decision-making process becomes proactive and guides you towards your goals as you spend less time and energy simply reacting to the world around you.

Becoming more disciplined requires constant practice and reflection, but the results are more than worth the hard work and effort required. Alongside the increased self-awareness and impulse control, as you work on becoming more disciplined, you will find bad habits being broken and replaced with healthier, more productive ones.

When it comes to the “how” of becoming more disciplined, there is no singular, winning formula. This stands to reason, as we are all unique and on our own individual journeys towards our vision of success. There are, however, a few proven and popular methods, and i’ll end with my top 4;

  • Expressing gratitude. We live in an age of consumerism and are relentlessly bombarded with messages about things that we need to buy in order to be happy. The result is that we spend a ridiculous amount of time and energy focusing on what we lack, and how important it is for our future happiness to have it. Essentially, we are allowing our impulses and actions to be manipulated by clever marketers and salespeople. If you want to become more disciplined, you need to take control here. This starts with a shift towards appreciation and gratitude. Focus, instead, should be switched to what you already have and are grateful for.
  • Eating healthier foods, sleeping well and exercising regularly. Fighting temptation and cravings in order to lead a healthier lifestyle will build a healthy mind as well as a healthy body. As the saying goes, “Mens sana in corpore sano” or “a healthy mind in a healthy body”.
  • Organisation. This is one area which you can practice at work, as well as at home, in order to become more disciplined. In becoming more organised, you become better able to prioritise tasks and manage your time effectively, as well as your emotions and energy levels.
  • Resilience. Discipline is also about willpower and mental strength, and the one area where this guaranteed to be regularly tested is in our response to setbacks. As you develop the ability persevere through hard times, you will find yourself becoming more disciplined. This, in turn, will help you to develop the strength to bounce back from challenges and get yourself back on the path towards your goals.