This is a continuation of the “Use Stoic Philosophy To Learn Self Help Anger Management” and the last in the series. The first post in the series can be found here.
What is Anger?
I’m sure every human being has experienced anger one way or the other in their life because it seems to be hard-wired into our DNA. Anything can trigger this emotion to swell within and then explode into rage. Some people can tame it before it gets too out of control; some can manage it and turn it into something positive; but some people do not possess the presence of mind to be able to deal with anger at all.
For those of you who cannot put out the fire of anger before it runs wild, you must learn to use your minds as extinguishers to fight anger and then put it out for good.
What are the Effects of Anger?
Anger, if left to it’s own devices can be devastating to the one who is a victim to it. Not only can anger lead to violent conflict it can also affect your health mentally and physically. It can also take only a few regrettable words or a display of violence to destroy relationships.
As for myself, I can get pretty frustrated and angry with certain things or people (especially when playing football. What is it with men and their testosterone?), which is mostly caused by impatience – and when it does happen it isn’t a nice feeling. When the temperature starts to rise and the blood begins to boil it feels like my body and mind have been totally possessed by a fiery tiger.
Fortunately, I am not one to express my anger violently, but I can become a tad brash. Recently though, I have learned to become more aware of when anger may strike and have quelled it with my mind before it can take hold, and this seems to work. But to be able to deal with anger effectively, one must be conscious of the many causes.
What are the Causes of Anger?
The causes of anger can include:
- pain of words said
- difference of opinion and stubbornness
- impatience (bane of my existence)
- physical altercation
- invasion of personal space
How can one deal with Anger Stoically?
Let us go through each cause whilst applying stoic thinking:
1. Stress: What is causing you to be stressed and then ultimately to become angry? Maybe you should not set your goals too high and try not to do too much in a short period of time. Stress and anger is usually directed at oneself because of the need to instantly perform when called upon. You must learn to relax and do things at your own steady pace, which may help you achieve more in the long run.
2. Pain of words said: Why let the mention of something painful, that may have happened in the past, affect you in the present? What is causing you pain are not the words themselves, but your own judgment of past hurts that affect your character in the present. Everything outside of yourself should not affect the mind, especially a mind that is governed by reason.
3. Intolerance: Why be angry because someone is of a different race, religion or political belief? Or you may just dislike being in the presence of a particular person. You have become both intolerant and angry with a psychological illusion and not the person themselves. Tolerance is acceptance – and once you can accept that person as a human being only then the intolerance and anger are both eliminated.
4. Difference of opinion and stubbornness: You will need to realise everyone is entitled to their own opinion, including you. You must try to be both open minded and objective in conversation. Once you don’t let personal feeling enter the arena, anger will be locked out of the gates of rationality and reason for good.
5. Impatience: Patience as they say, is a virtue, and I have been guilty for being impatient and then angry more than once. The reason for my impatience is due to me comparing my ability to someone else, and then thinking that they should be able to easily pick up something that I have had experience in. I must learn to show patience and be reasonable with people of all different levels of ability. Show respect and you would have gone a long way in dealing with impatience.
6. Physical altercation: This cause has to be avoided at all costs because of the serious consequences that can happen. It is imperative for you to learn to manage anger at an early stage before it gets to the stage of you becoming physically violent.
7. Invasion of personal space: You must have realised by now that you’re not the only one on this planet. Yes, it is a bit overcrowded and people can be unaware at times rushing from A to B, but you must have some patience and reason to think to yourself that nobody actually bumps into you by purpose or wants to invade your personal space by choice.
Managing Anger with the tried and trusted method
The simple and practical thing to do when you feel the anger arriving is to first hold to silence, leave the situation immediately and then count to ten in your mind whilst performing deep breaths. This gives the brain enough oxygen to keep stress levels down whilst giving the voice of reason time to regain possession of the mind.
You must learn to control anger and not let anger control you. You are creator and master of this negative emotion, which should give you the power alone to throw anger into the dungeons of obscurity, never again for it to attempt usurping your kingly position of contentedness and equanimity in your life.
Lastly, one should try to be stoic in attitude and application to attain a temperament of a saint – something which, I admit, is perhaps impossible in this stress filled world. Worth a try anyway.
Definition of being Stoic:
- One who is seemingly indifferent to or unaffected by joy, grief, pleasure, or pain.
- Stoic A member of an originally Greek school of philosophy, founded by Zeno about 308 B.C., believing that God determined everything for the best and that virtue is sufficient for happiness. Its later Roman form advocated the calm acceptance of all occurrences as the unavoidable result of divine will or of the natural order.