More often than not, the result of anger is not pleasant. Hurtful words can affect the person you are angry at and you can even have emotional pain. Intense feelings of anger are worse since some people can react in violent and destructive ways towards other people and property. Most people, when violently angry, tend to destroy things around them. Hence, it is helpful to know how to manage your anger, understand how and why it is triggered and follow processes that can help you control it.
First of all, you have to understand your anger. There are several ways to do it; one is to take anger management classes. Another way is to undergo one-on-one counseling with either a peer or a professional who understands the dynamics of anger management. The professional can also guide you through the steps of understanding what it is that makes you angry and the reason behind it.
A third method, in understanding your anger is to keep a diary or what can be called an “Anger Journal”. This journal can contain your personal thoughts about the episodes of anger that you experience, the circumstances surrounding it and the reasons behind it.
For the journal exercise, write down 5 to 10 things that cause you to become angry. These things can be small annoyances that tend to build up over time, especially if not kept in check, and volcanic size annoyances.
A small annoyance, for instance, can be someone leaving the bread wrapper open or against a person who cuts in line at a concert ticket booth. Samples of volcanic size annoyances may be one that is against a person who just cannot stop bullying you or against a person who rear-ended your car last month. Bear in mind, however, that something volcanic for you may not be as volcanic to others.
Your journal then is about your personal annoyances and the things that you perceive are annoying. Writing them down can help you identify what truly triggers your anger. It is important since identifying triggers is the first step to understanding why and how your anger mechanism is triggered.
As you are listing down those things, also indicate how intense each circumstance makes you feel, with 1 being the small annoyance to 10 being the biggest annoyance or volcanic annoyance. Also, write down what you did in each of those circumstances. Indicate what you remember saying and doing as you face those triggers. Try to remember to the best of your ability the words that you may have said and the actions that you may have done.
Now that you have taken note of the details during your episode of anger, write down the corresponding results. Write down how you think your words and actions made the other people involved in such circumstance feel. If there were bystanders and witnesses around during that time, write down what you think they also felt.
Moreover, what, if any, were the punishments or reprimands that you received concerning that episode of anger of yours? Do you feel that you deserve such consequence? If the episode was to happen once more, do you think you will react any differently, given the results of your previous angry uproar? Does knowing how you and the others felt about that help you manage your anger in a different way now?
Given all these, a journal exercise can help you understand “the why and the how” of your episodes of anger. Undergoing such exercise can eventually lead to better anger management.