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    Volume 9 Issue 20| May 14, 2010|

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Taming Your Inner Demon

Anika Hossain

Nowadays the residents of Dhaka have a long list of things to be angry about, and who can blame them with even the basic necessities such as electricity, gas and water being scarce, a dirty polluted environment and mind numbing, paralysing traffic on the roads to deal with, anger and frustrations are bound to build up. An unhappy mind will find other reasons to be dissatisfied about, such as lack of job satisfaction, family problems, problems with partners and other interpersonal relationships. It is not uncommon to see people get out of their vehicles in the middle of a huge traffic jam and scream at complete strangers who are probably just as helpless themselves, just so they can find an outlet for their life's stresses. It is very easy to let anger seep into our lives, without realising how harmful it can be.

Everyone feels angry, it is a completely normal emotion. It's how we deal with our anger that shows whether it is a real problem for us.

Anger has many faults. It is by nature, an extremely painful state of mind and has the capacity to rob us of our reason and good sense. It can have physical effects such as causing injuries, increasing adrenaline surges, increasing heart rate, high blood pressure and may cause a stroke or a heart attack. It can also have emotional effects such as creating feelings of guilt, failure, depression, agitation and rage, which may even lead to suicide. Anger can turn any normal person into a full-fledged demon.

It is a myth that only violent, out of control people need to learn anger management. It is very important for everyone to learn how to handle their anger in a healthy way to prevent it from turning into bitterness and resentment. Experts have come up with many effective ways to deal with anger to minimise its negative effects. For us Dhakaites this is very useful information.

Recognising stress is probably the first step to take when managing ones anger. If one can point out the exact cause of the stress which eventually turns into anger, and can realise the moment the stress starts building into something more and negative thoughts start clouding ones judgment, it is easier to nip the process in the bud.

It is very important to be able to step back and see the situation from the point of view of the others involved. It helps to clear the mind and to think rationally. When upset, we often end up saying things we later regret. Thinking things through and even putting what we want to say down on paper is helpful. In short, developing empathy is an important skill to learn.

We as human beings have the ability to choose how to express our anger and can therefore learn new ways to communicate our needs, feelings and requests.

Responding to the anger causing triggers is more effective than reacting to them.

The wrong way to deal with anger.
The right way to deal with anger.


Recognising and changing the inner conversation or "self talk" which we have in our minds when we are angry, helps us control how strongly we feel the anger, how long we hold on to our anger and how we choose to express it.

Being able to communicate how we feel, honestly and effectively can help curb our anger and hostility. A good coping mechanism is to learn to adjust our expectations, whether high or low, in any situation. Often, anger is triggered when we get something different from what we expect.

When our anger turns into resentment, it is often more harmful for us than the offender. It is better to learn to forgive and try to let go, the two major steps towards acceptance and peace of mind.

Taking a step back and thinking things over, a timeout or sorts can be very helpful when dealing with anger. Although it may seem cliché, but counting to ten before reacting in a stressful situation can help diffuse anger. It is also a good idea to take a break from the person we are upset with for a while till the anger subsides. Once we are calm, it is easier to communicate in a non-confrontational way.

Physical activity, such as exercising, swimming, running, any sport or even a walk can be an outlet for strong emotions if we feel we are about to explode.

Working with the person we are angry with to find a solution to our differences is often more helpful than dwelling on the reasons we are angry in the first place. Sometimes, humour can help lighten the situation, ease tension and open up avenues for effective communication. Don't use sarcasm though. That can make things worse.

Practicing relaxation techniques can often help diffuse the anger that flares up. These include, taking long deep breaths, tensing and relaxing our muscles, visualising a relaxing scene, repeating a calming word or phrase such as "take it easy" or "calm down," listening to music, writing in a diary, yoga and meditation.

These are just some of the ways in which we can have control over our excessive, unhealthy anger. We must remember that an angry person is not necessarily a bad person; he/she just needs to learn how help themselves in situations they might feel are beyond their control. Anger creates a deluded mind, which exaggerates the bad qualities of the person/object our negative feelings are directed at. Therefore as residents of Dhaka we must learn to put a leash on our tempers and accept that our situation will not be improving anytime soon. Always keep in mind that it is very important for us to overcome this destructive state of mind, which in reality serves no purpose whatsoever.


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