I hope you can help me. I am worried that I’m becoming increasingly angry with the world. It feels like most things aren’t perfect in my life and that frustrates me. I recently shouted at a family friend at a social gathering, which has caused embarrassment. Why have I become like this and how can I stop? I don’t want to be known as an unpleasant man.
From your question it’s clear you’re not an unpleasant man. The fact that you have identified you have a problem and that you want to make changes to your life indicates you are conscientious and aware. Anger is a very powerful emotion; before you know it rage blows up like a storm, sweeping you away, leaving you powerless to pull yourself out of the tornado until it’s too late. Often, when the dust settles, you are left with a fallout. However, anger is a symptom of a deeper underlying issue and to learn to manage your fury, it’s important to understand the cause and what is triggering it.
You don’t mention any details about your age or domestic circumstances, but I imagine you’re experiencing the kind of 21st-century pressures we are all subject to from time to time. However, it’s important to delve deeper into your feelings and try to work out if there is anything in your past that is contributing to your feelings of anger in the present. It might be helpful to seek professional help to do this.
On a more practical level, learning to recognise the warning signs before your anger becomes too difficult to control is enormously beneficial and can save you the distress of upsetting others and embarrassing yourself. These signs vary, but common signals are clenching fists, tightening jaw, an increase in heartbeat and breathing rate, and mental fogging where you begin to feel powerless in a situation. Once you get to know these signals you can learn to remove yourself from the situation before it blows up. After moving away from the source, triangulated breathing can help. To do this, slowly breathe in deeply to the count of three, then slowly breathe out to the count of three and then hold your breath for the count of three. Continue this rhythm until you are calm.
Exercise might help you too – this can help to burn off the excess adrenaline that can fuel anger, and also helps to banish negative thoughts and low moods.
It’s important to remember, the anger is not who you are, it’s something you’re dealing with and will get control of with the right support.