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How to handle anger

Anger is a universal emotion. People and events around us, that are not going right for us, evoke within us, feelings of anger. To some extent this is understandable. However, when our basic personality is that of an angry person or if we are moving to that kind of a disposition all the time, it needs to be addressed.

It is believed that there are 14 different types of anger in human beings. They are assertive anger, behavioural anger, chronic anger, destructive anger, judgemental anger, overwhelmed anger, passive aggressive anger, retaliatory anger, self-abusive anger, silent anger, verbal anger, volatile anger, deliberate anger and addictive anger. Each of these types is quite self-explanatory.

Every one of us can experience one or more forms of anger all the time. Whatever be the kind of anger we are facing at a particular moment we need to get a hold of it and handle it effectively. If we do not tackle it well, it can simmer and fester within us over time. It will eventually debilitate our wellbeing, ruin our peace of mind, annihilate our relationships and destroy our communion with God.

More often than not we justify our anger and seek retribution, not realising that the people and events that have caused our anger cannot be changed. Ultimately, the anger we are feeding and nurturing grows and grows, morphing us into hostile individuals. Nevertheless, when we learn and practice the art of handling our anger coolheadedly, we will be well-disposed individuals.

A three-step approach is advocated in the art of anger management. Firstly, we need to acknowledge our anger. We should candidly admit that we are increasingly becoming angry persons. Secondly, we need to address the anger. Are we justified in getting angry? Most times we too may be part of the situation that is causing our anger. If this is true, we ought to revert from that behaviour. Finally, we need to forgive the people and cope with the impulses that are causing our anger.

The above steps are summarised by St. Paul as he wrote: “Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behaviour. Instead, be kind to each other, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you” (Ephesians 4:31-32). 

(Published 25 October 2023, 19:28 IST)

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