Lita Chakraborty looks at the anger epidemic and how to overcome it
Whether it’s on the roads, at work, while playing a friendly game or even during daily chores… bouts of immense violent anger seem to be bursting out of the cauldron of emotions everywhere. Gruesome lynchings occur with alarming regularity. Road rage is a constant. Switch on the TV and you’ll find our ‘respected’ voted representatives debating ‘sensitive’ issues by yelling angrily while the anchor fuels the fire some more.
The Aurangabad bench of the Bombay High Court recently pointed out that in India, due to absence of humour, the tolerance level has gone down shockingly. Taking things in a lighter vein seems to be the last thing on most minds. In fact, practically everybody you bump into seems to have an issue no matter how trivial, which gets converted to immense anger which can be targeted at any and everybody at any time.
Control not crush
So is anger the villain, the culprit, to be shunned at all costs? Mumbai-based psychologist Ferzeen Firodi avers, “Anger is indeed a necessary emotion just like laughter or sex and it is absolutely normal being angry. The art here is to control the anger and not crush it. In fact, if you let out your pent-up anger, it’s extremely healthy and good for your body. Anger can also fuel your ambitions and help you strive harder. It gives you that ‘angry’ drive to make you succeed against all odds.”
She adds, “It gets dangerous when it flares out of control. In fact, there are so many people who seem to be constantly living on the edge. Their anger tends to get explosive and it can not only harm others, it can also take a toll on the individual’s health and state of mind.”
Firodi admits, “India, as a nation, is definitely getting angrier. We Indians face a lot – whether it is enduring arduous ways of travelling, facing severe traffic jams, not getting taxis, the heat and grime, and then after all that ordeal, getting fired severely by the boss for coming late! This small ball of irritation tends to gather and grow until the embers of dissatisfaction build into an inferno of anger inside. And that is utterly dangerous because that’s when it becomes a point of no return.”
Ferzeen says, “Unbridled anger can hurt your life, relationship, career, hurt people you love and do immense harm which, at times, cannot be reversed. The solution to this is proper anger management. The goal is not to suppress anger, but attempt to understand the issue which makes you angry.”
A few tips for effective anger management…
Don’t vent out impulsively: While it is good to let out pent up anger, it is never a good idea to let your temper hijack your life. If your kneejerk reaction to anger is to scream and shout, the message is never conveyed. Pause a moment, analyse your anger and then speak.
Unbridled anger hurts you more than the other person: When you explode, however wronged you may feel, your body vitals spike up to dangerous levels. You become a victim of blood pressure and other lifestyle diseases. Calm yourself down and you’ll pay less hospital bills.
Damaging to career: Shouting or saying something offensive can harm your career immensely. Think of your problem practically and coolly and you’ll find a sensible solution.
Remember, anger is a cover-up for other issues: Traumatic events and stress can channelise your anger issues. It could be a feeling of insecurity or the feeling of being slighted but before you head for the spontaneous anger explosion, think for a moment. Taming your anger will help you build relationships instead of breaking them, achieve your goals and lead a healthier, wealthier and wiser life.
When angry, do this:
- Pace up and down
- Pranayam is wonderful as the right breathing exercise can stabilise your emotions. Yoga is great too
- Massage areas of tension
- Count to 10
“The world is getting angrier by the day. The overload of stress, the lack of right kind of knowledge and the lack of awareness of self, cause anger. Patience levels have gone down and people channelise their anger in vitriolic ways. I see a lot of anger especially on social media. Anger has a deep history. It stems from a lot of reasons like how you have been treated as a child, your experiences etc. It’s very important to understand anger and know how to cope with it.” – Shama Sikander
“Sometimes when the world around you is ignoring you, it’s important to scream! You can call that scream progress or anger. So, India is marching ahead, not getting angrier in my opinion. I believe that the world around us is running at lightning speed – either catch up or get left behind. I want to go ahead of it and for that anger is a great emotion to have. I control it in my personal life but when it comes to my work, my anger (energy) is my fuel! I don’t need to manage it, I need to unleash it!”
– Soundarya Sharma
“Yes, somewhere down the line, anger levels have gone higher for so many different reasons. It happens to all of us. We all sometimes lose control though we don’t show it! But certain things happen that get us worked up. The trick here is not to react impulsively when angry.”
– Sana Khan