Anger may be used for a constructive purpose but when anger becomes uncontrollable or unexpressed, it may lead to destructive thoughts or actions.
According to a Consultant Clinical Psychologist, Department of Behavioral medicine, Lagos State College of Medicine/ Lagos State University Teaching Hospital, (LASUCOM/LASUTH), Ikeja, said, one gets angry for several reasons; which include: person’s feeling of self worth, self image, feelings of superiority, feelings of competence.
Other reasons are frustration, unjust treatment, lack of a sense of acknowledgement from important people.
However, the common thread that links all of the above can be conceptualized as being emotionally identified with the scenario in question.
Dr Zechariah said, “in general therefore, it is this process of identification that needs to be addressed in considering how to manage one’s feelings of anger, especially if it tends to get out of hand or uncontrollable. The key to managing one’s anger is thus what can be termed ‘ the practice of non-attachment’ to the scenario, person, or event that is triggering the feeling of anger.
“The more one is identified, the more one loses the ability to maintain a detached and objective perspective. He or she finds himself or herself carried along with the emotion. Very often, the ‘flow’ of anger can gain such a momentum that the person may find it very difficult to control the emotion, leading to frequent and unfortunate altercations with perceived detractors, and sometimes negative consequences for the person in terms of relationships and job situations.”
Techniques of achieving ‘detachment’ or giving oneself ‘a gap of time’ before reacting to anger. During this ‘gap’, one can ask oneself some questions along the following possible lines:
••Is it really worth it to expend negative emotional energy on this issue?
••Is the issue that significant or important?
One can also engage in self talk during this gap along the following general lines:
••If I blow up, it is going to cause me more harm than good. There are more important issues in my life.
••Let me let go of this issue and be free of the burden of negative emotions which may affect my health. There is nothing to gain from ‘blowing up’.
••Physically leave the scene quickly and become engaged in some other activity away from the scenario.
••Deep breathing and other relaxation techniques.
••Finally, if one finds it extremely difficult to control his / her anger, on can get in touch with a psychologist.