Do you feel the urge to punch or hurt somebody during an argument? If yes, you might have problems  controlling your emotions.

Recent news featured some incidents on the consequence of anger. A fight over saved seats at the LDS Church escalated from an exchange of angry words to punches thrown at the church’s parking lot that eventually led to one man being struck by a car.

Police authorities investigated the incident and found conflicting statements from the two men involved. Having found probable cause for aggravated assault, the police arrested the driver of the car. He is also facing third-degree felony charges and disorderly conduct, a class C misdemeanor. Reports indicated that the man posted bail. Church authorities will provide counselling sessions to the families involved in the hope of reconciling their differences.

The second anger related incident involved a soccer referee and a teenager who allegedly punched the referee causing his death. According to the news article, the referee called a foul against the teenager and issued him a yellow card. The teen responded by punching the older man in the jaw with his closed fist. Doctors in the hospital where the referee was brought for treatment said that he suffered a traumatic brain injury. The referee remained in a coma for a week before he died. The teenager pleaded not guilty to the charges filed against him. He is facing the charge of homicide by assault, a third-degree felony.

Clearly our emotions get in the way by preventing us from making good choices. The aftermath has the potential to ruin our lives and cause grief for the next of kin.

How can we manage our anger? considers anger as a normal and healthy emotion but when it becomes chronic and explosive, it can get out of control, and it can have a serious effect on your relationship with people.

Most people would get angry if they felt they were being wronged or treated unfairly. The problem is how you handle the situation when you are angry and what course of actions you undertake as a result of anger. Violence can have serious repercussions as reflected by the incidents mentioned above. Harsh words spoken out of anger can also wound your loved ones. It may take time for the relationship to be restored.

Here are some helpful tips on how to manage your anger:

1.  Explore the reasons why you easily get angry.

It is possible that as a child, you learned that showing anger is normal. You have adults around you who fought, often shouted at the slightest provocation and threw things when their needs were not met. As an adult now, you have to change your mindset about anger.  It is good to express your anger but do not let it get out of control. Learn how to express anger constructively and keep reminding yourself that just like broken pottery, your relationship will display the cracks even when reconciliations are worked out.

Signs that will tell you there are other underlying reasons behind your uncontrollable anger include: having a hard time making a compromise, having a hard time expressing other emotions other than anger and considering dissenting opinion and viewpoint as a personal challenge.

2.  Be aware of your anger warning signs and triggers.

Anger is an emotional response and is often accompanied by physical manifestations that you can feel. This includes clenching of jaw, tightening or knot in the stomach, feeling clammy or flushed, breathing faster, headache, pacing or the need to walk around, “seeing red”, having trouble concentrating, pounding heart and tensing shoulder among others. If you are experiencing “anger signs,” manage your anger before it gets out of control.

A negative train of thoughts can trigger your temper. These are:

  • overgeneralizing
  • reading other people’s thoughts and jumping to conclusions
  • collecting grievances and just waiting to blow
  • blaming your current situation on other people

Avoid situations, people, places and thinking that trigger your anger. Part of anger management is AVOIDANCE.

3. Learn ways to cool down.

Know ways to reduce your anger or to cool down. Select what is best and what works for you. Ways to cool down include taking deep slow breaths, counting slowly, stretching or massaging areas of tension and listening to calming music or picturing relaxing scenery.

Lastly, do not forget that uncontrollable anger often results in disastrous consequences. Control your anger to reduce your share of unnecessary heartache and trouble.

Photo copy right of Paul Cross.