We can wonder: What is it about that person’s inner life that is making them angry? When you get beyond the shouts and gesticulations, you find that angry people are frequently deeply frustrated over something that seems not so important in retrospect; having someone cut you off in traffic, or a person seeming rude and inconsiderate.
Perhaps, ironically, their own fear over the loss of something drove their emotions to detonate, causing them to lose the thing they wanted after all. Uncovering what is really making you or another person angry is key to figuring out how to defuse that anger.
When we understand the evolution of anger, and the reasons this natural force remains a determinant of human behavior, we can learn to expose it and use it. Not only that, but like the martial arts master who uses the energy of the opponent to power his own moves, each of us has the ability to detect, harness and train the force of anger in ourselves and others. When we do this, we can apply it in ways that enhance our lives, achieve our goals and, ultimately, influence other people’s behavior for the better as well.
Anger is just an emotion. It’s what you do with it that matters.
References Outsmarting Anger: 7 Strategies for Defusing our Most Dangerous Emotion. Joseph Shrand, MD Leigh Devine, MS 2021 Second Printing, Books Fluent paperback edition
Written by: Dr. Joseph Shrand Drug Story Theater Podcast Originally appeared on Psychology Today Republished with permission