Friday, September 9, 2011

Managing Anger

By Eileen Lindner, brown belt

Anger can be a very destructive emotion.  Even holding onto anger without acting on it can be harmful.  Holding onto anger builds resentment & can lead to more anger.  Being angry when defending yourself or others can cause more problems than expected.  Acting out of anger can lead to overreacting, harming someone, or being injured.  Anger clouds judgment, so taking the time, seconds even, to evaluate where the response you are feeling is coming from can avoid difficult consequences.  Ho shin, the concept of self control, then self defense, is invaluable in evaluating our feelings before acting.  Being in control of yourself means not acting out of the emotion of the moment; but rather being aware of the emotion and thinking and then deciding upon an action.  Feeling anger is natural in many instances and understanding when anger is an appropriate response takes experience.

Black Belt Breaking a Board
Feeling angry usually leads to excess energy, the fight or flight response of biology, so managing that anger can primarily take a physical form.  But physical anger management alone will not improve self control.  Managing anger by channeling it into a positive outlet, for me, involves talking, praying and exercising.  Taekwondo is an excellent way for me to relieve stress that can cause anger to erupt unnecessarily.  Taekwondo takes much concentration, since I am absorbing so much new information that has to be processed physically.  Taking that time to connect my brain and body has made me more aware of both.  Managing anger, especially recurring instances with a particular situation, is made more effective by talking about it.  It can be especially helpful to talk to the person you are angry with; but that can be very difficult.

Learning to deal with emotional responses takes a lot of energy and experience.  Anger is one of the more difficult emotions to master; but having a set way of dealing with it – through physical activity & discussion- makes a great difference.  Channeling that anger into more intense workouts, more concentration at work, or deeper connections with people takes focus; but is the most positive outcome.

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