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Anger management: a four step guide

Anger is a perfectly normal emotion, but if you let it get out of hand, it can destroy your life. When anger starts affecting your relationships with the people around you it becomes a problem, says psychologist Mansi Hasan.

health and fitness Updated: Nov 23, 2012 19:07 IST
Amrutha Penumudi

A woman in north Dallas, Texas, has managed to create a flourishing business out of something that will never be hit by recession — anger. She created an ‘Anger Room’, where stressed out people vent their frustrations by smashing things with a baseball bat.

This, it seems, makes the population of north Dallas calmer. But since we have no anger room in Mumbai to help us and our friends and families get through rage, here’s how we can manage our own anger issues.

The sound and the fury
There is nothing wrong with anger. It’s a perfectly normal, sometimes even healthy emotion. But when it starts affecting your relationships with the people around you, says psychologist Mansi Hasan, it becomes a problem.

Such a huge problem that sometimes, people even cut ties with other people they were previously fond of, as 22-year-old Sonya Bhatia did with her closest cousin brother when he started losing his temper over minor things. “Whenever he is enraged, he misbehaves with everyone around him, even those who are way older than he is,” she says. “At times he even breaks things and does not care about public protocol. I was so disappointed with this behaviour that we haven’t spoken for a year now.”

Shriya Ramachandram’s two-year-old relationship was put to a great test when her boyfriend started to lose his cool. “I was very supportive initially and knew he was going through a bad phase, but after a point of time, it got too bad to repair,” she says. “There was a fight every day at home. We decided to break it off after a few months.”

It’s nothing personal
People with anger issues tend to try and hurt the people around them by saying things that are very mean, says Mansi Hasan. “They will usually pick on something you have told them in confidence, or something that really bothers you personally,” she explains. “This makes their rebukes even harder to take. However, you must remember that this person is in a certain frame of mind and she or he probably doesn’t mean to hurt you.”

Time out
Thirty-year-old Bhaskar Singh says he has always been “easily irritable”, but his family has learned to deal with it in a very simple way — a time out. “They know that the more they try to pacify me, the angrier I will get,” says Bhaskar. “So they leave me alone. When I cool down, my mum fixes up a good meal. That always manages to soothe me,” he adds, laughing.

(— Some names have been changed on request)

Deal with anger: A four step guide

1) Know that people with anger issues usually come with a lot of baggage. Parental issues, work stress, among other things, play an important part.
2) Introspect and learn what it is that triggers your rage. Then work on coping with it.
3) Do not use your problem as an excuse for bad behaviour.
4) A combination of vigorous workouts, yoga and ample rest are known to help in such situations.

—Mansi Hasan, psychologist