Anger is a normal healthy emotion, but when it is explosive and spirals out of control, it can have serious consequences for your relationships, your health, and your state of mind.
People experience anger in different ways and for different reasons. Something that makes you furious may only mildly irritate someone else. This subjectivity can make anger difficult to understand and manage. It can also compromise your ability to perform everyday tasks – like driving – in ways that could be dangerous for you or the people around you. Through this article, EHC discusses what you should never do when under the influence of anger.
Do not sleep on it
You should not go to bed with unresolved anger. Going to sleep may reinforce or "preserve" negative emotions, suggests a study in the Journal of Neuroscience, which found that sleep enhances memories, particularly emotional ones. So going to bed after an argument will likely cause that experience to be consolidated more effectively than if you went on to remain awake for that same eight-hour period.
Not to drive
Driving a motor vehicle when you are enraged can be dangerous. Research shows that angry drivers stake more risks and have more accidents. Anger gives a person tunnel vision – you stare straight ahead and may not see a pedestrian or another car coming into your peripheral vision crossing the street.
Not to eat
When we are angry, we often make unhealthy food choices. No one ever reaches for broccoli. We go for the high-sugar, high-fat, carbohydrate-loaded comfort foods. In addition, a heightened state of emotions sparks the fight or flight response, where the body thinks it is in danger. In such a state, digestion does not function optimally, and this may result in diarrhea or constipation.
Do not keep arguing
Staying in the conversation when you have difficulty modulating your anger makes it likely you will say things you will regret. If it is possible you will say hurtful things that you will regret and can't take back, ask for a 'time out' with intention to come back to the conversation. Use the time out to actively calm the mind and the body so that you express yourself in a more mindful, intentional manner.
Do not post about your conflict on Facebook
When you are angry, broadcasting your feelings to your friends and family on Facebook and other social networks will more than likely come back to haunt you. Posting something publicly can't be taken back.
Not to write emails
You can't take back a heated rant after you hit the send button. If you can't resist writing down your angry thoughts, jot down your feelings in a Word document. This way you can't send it hastily and can still safely clear out your feelings.
Not to drink alcohol
Alcohol makes it more likely you will act out your anger because it removes impulse control. Alcohol lowers inhibitions by acting on the frontal lobes of the brain, which are responsible for controlling the impulses that prevent us from giving in to urges to harm others or ourselves. This may lead to more permanent destruction by doing things you will regret.
Do not ignore your blood pressure
The risk of a heart attack and stroke increases in the two hours following angry outbursts, especially among former heart attack patients. Heart attack risk increased nearly five times and stroke risk rose by three times. Individuals who become angry should know how their blood pressure responds. If it is going up, they need to work diligently to manage their anger with exercise, better sleep, and bio-feedback techniques.
Not to ruminate
Obsessively thinking about ways the other person harmed you or was unfair to you – known as rumination – does not resolve anything. If you find yourself on the receiving end of someone else's anger, you may be able to calm them down by first keeping your own cool. Start out talking to the angry person in a manner that matches his or her level of emotion and then gradually become calmer and steadier as you speak to them.
These strategies are only a general guide. If anger continues to be a problem, you might need to seek the help of a qualified health professional. Do not let anger get in the way of joys in life. Learn to forgive people who make you angry.