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Five practical steps to control Anger

Anger is a very natural feeling. If a person says that he or she will not get angry at all, he or she is lying. Every human being does get angry at times. It can happen to any human being, at any time. It happens due to a variety of factors. However while it cannot be totally eliminated, it can be controlled. This article deals with five practical steps to control anger.


While each one of us get angry at some point of time or the other, it is quite possible to control this anger by following some practical steps. Much of the learning in this regard is from practical contexts at home, in the office and in the wider society. This learning ought to be internalized to a great extent, if it has to make a big difference to controlling anger as it were.

In this context, it is wise to a) look at the floor b)look around for anger triggers c) carefully align preventive actions d) review events "as they were" and e) look for cool alternatives.

Look at the floor

This is the wisest thing to do to control anger, more so at the office. If the boss is angry and gives a dressing down, it is wise to look straight in his eyes for a second and then look down at the floor. When this happens, we suggest a very apologetic body language which suggests (i) that we are sorry (ii) we will not repeat the mistake and (iii) we will be careful in future. The boss is likely to see this and respond well.

This can also happen in our houses. Imagine this situation. Many men (including this author) have a habit of taking on too many things at the same time and becoming lost. In these circumstances, we do not listen to our wives and this rise to a huge amount of anger. This particularly relates to misplacing things. We go on searching for some object and this increases their anger. We get angry too. After searching for a while, if we are not able to find the object, we should exhibit this behavior. That is, look at the floor with head firmly held in the same position for at least one minute. After that vital one minute, we could look up and say 'am sorry". By this time, the wives would have cooled down!!

It is so natural that we get angry too and this is possible because of our ego. Remember it requires two hands to clap. There is nothing wrong in withdrawing our hand and instead apologizing by looking at the floor. This is the easiest method to cool down tempers on the other side.

Look at this situation. We get into an overcrowded bus and hand out a fifty rupee note to the conductor. The conductor barks at us saying that he does not have change. We can naturally get angry. The only alternative is to say sorry and then look down. If he identifies us as "educated" persons, he will cool down a bit, as it natural to give respect to this aspect of our personality. Once he cools down, it is wise to say sorry once again, promising him that we will not repeat the mistake next time. If we happen in the same bus on the same route we are likely to meet the same guy. Probability is that he will remember us. Let us take a huge amount of change and hand over the exact amount. This will solve all problems. The guy might as well remember the earlier instance and cool down totally. He might even come and talk to us on his own.

Look around for anger triggers

This is extremely important. In many a case, we would have ourselves provided the trigger for anger from the other side. For example, if we ourselves indulge in some gossip and it reaches the ears of some top official, we would have done enough damage to our reputation. The big boss is very angry.

Similarly, if we had ill treated an ordinary casual labor on the shop floor, the anger on the other side will spread to others too. The simmering discontent is enough for them to take us for a ride, through mass absenteeism at a crucial time. It really happens. When we ourselves provide the triggers, we have to really identify these triggers to take corrective action.

Carefully align preventive actions

When we talk about preventive actions, we should understand that these largely relate to whatever we can do to reduce anger all around. The preventive actions should be a follow up of actions that were totally inadequate in terms of the other person's expectations.

Be he or she the boss, or our wives or some third person in the society. We are all bound by expectations and we cannot escape from such expectations at any point in time. For example, we can organize our books or our cupboards of other living spaces far better and this can reduce the anger of our wives. It is totally different if our wives are those who tolerate such unorganized state of affairs. It is then we who should take all the action.

At the office, the boss is a boss. The boss is always right. This is rule number one. If you have any doubt, you have to refer to rule number one. And this is rule number two!! There is no scope for our anger at office at all. If we exhibit our anger, we are likely to have enemies all over. So we need to play the game very carefully and align preventive actions. To give a very normal preventive action, it is always wise to stay back and prepare all the power point presentations, even if the actual presentation is only in the afternoon. If we think that we can prepare the presentations in the morning hours, we will be living in a fool's paradise. More so since the unexpected urgent work will simply catch us on the wrong foot. There is every chance of the big boss asking for the presentation, the first thing in the morning. If we say that we are unprepared, the wrath of the big boss follows. Comments such as "you should have stayed back and prepared it yesterday. How the hell did you assume you can do it today?" are so common. These comments might increase our BP and get our anger growing so high. Yet we need to just grin and bear it.

On a closer examination of the reality, the fact remains that the three hours of extra work are anyway essential to survive the brutal work environments of today. The situation is likely to get worse and we better get prepared for it.

Review events "as they were"

This review of the events as they unfolded in the exact sequence, is so essential. This will help us understand where we went wrong. Documentation is a vital aspect of this exercise. This can help us to relive the events, understand what can be done to avoid such situations and so on. In fact, regarding the events that happen in the society -- traffic jams, issues with the bus conductors, the auto drivers or even with the call taxi drivers and so on -- can also help us understand how we could have done things better.

It is also important to review situations where the other person is more powerful,more organized and more talented. For example, even some matriculate wives are highly talented in analyzing common sense and taking preventive action. Like understanding the different by lanes with less traffic to escape the traffic jam on major roads, to reach the same destination. These are persons who can teach us the maximum, in controlling anger. If we learn from these "native cunning" people, we can easily control anger. In fact they could be seasoned elders too. However the review is compulsory.

Look for cool alternatives

If there is an isolated room or a huge tree at the end of the whole factory complex, the shade of the tree can be simply soothing to cool down our tempers. Remembering the face of some one who means a lot to us is another alternative. That person can offer us solace. More so, if that person had advised us so much on earlier occasions. Simply taking off to the beach and to isolated parts of the beach is another option. If there is no beach, a park might offer help too.

Some recommend "art of living" sessions. There are elitist and very costly. We do not need such inputs. Simple applied common sense will do.


The aforesaid five steps are those that are distilled from practice. Of course, they are not exhaustive. There could be some other steps too. However these were also some steps tried out in the real world in some groups and found to be very effective. It was close monitoring of behavior on an everyday basis for around ninety days of four persons for whom bad temper was a part of their psyche, that lead to these four steps as a sequential and possible course of action. It has been found effective to a large extent. It is up to the individual to act.


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