Managing Anger

Anyone can become angry- that is easy.

But to be angry with the right person, to the right degree, at the right time, for the right purpose and in the right way- this is not easy.


Anil and Aniruddh came out of the business meeting, very angry. Their boss had been very critical of their work and had not even a word of praise for them. Anil followed the boss into his cabin, started shouting at him, and told him what he thought of him. He threw in his resignation  letter and walked out, still in anger.

Aniruddh, instead, waited till his boss was in a relaxed mood, and then, sought an appointment. He told his boss how terribly pained he was by his criticism and asked for clarification on how to improve his work. Aniruddh came out of his boss’ cabin, satisfied and with a better understanding of what his boss expected of him at work.

Anger is a normal reaction to any situation or person that we perceive as frustrating or threatening to our  wellbeing. However, when anger gets out of control, it can destroy our relationships and the quality of our life. Can we manage anger so that the immense energy produced by it can be useful to us? Yes, if we follow Aristotle’s diktat. Here are some tips to help you practise it:

Tips for anger management:

  • Note the triggers: the people, events, circumstances that set off your anger.
  • When you’re angry, your thinking can get very exaggerated. Logic defeats anger.  Replace thoughts which reinforce your anger with more rational ones. Eg. instead of thinking, “oh, this situation is  terrible,” tell yourself, “it’s frustrating, but it’s not the end of the world.”
  •  Avoid discussing important issues with your colleagues or spouse when you are tired or distracted.
  • Be careful with words like “always”, “never” when referring to your or others’ behavior. Statements like “ My boss never appreciates me ”, “ I always  mess up” are usually not correct.
  • What are your expectations of others – do you demand fairness, appreciation, agreement with your ways of doing things? Translate these demands into desires: “ I would  like it if……..” rather than demanding it.
  • Communicate your expectations to others. Find out other’s expectations of you. Decide which of these you would like to satisfy.
  •  Do not jump to conclusions. Consciously slow down, think carefully before you act or say anything. To get a balanced perspective, remind yourself that you are experiencing a rough spot in your life and  others are not trying to “get at you.”
  • Ask yourself “By expressing my anger now or in a particular way, will it achieve the result I seek?”
  • Maintain your cool through deep breathing, using a relaxation response, visualizing a positive situation.
  • Sometimes we cannot change, get rid of or avoid people or events that anger us. At such times focus on how  to face the problem rather than getting frustrated by it.
  • If you feel your anger is affecting your relationships and important aspects of your life, consider consulting a psychologist for help.

You can decide whether you react in anger or with calm to difficult situations or people. Anger is a CHOICE YOU make.

Dr Vinaya Prabha V. Baligar