Control Your Anger to Avoid Bad Decisions


Our emotions often influence our choices. No matter how many times people tell us not to make spur-of-the-moment decisions, it’s challenging to be levelheaded in some cases.

Happiness and anger are two emotions that often make us forget reason. When we’re delighted, we forget the risks in making a decision. For example, if we remember our years back in school, we’d feel happy bonding with friends, forgetting we had to be home by a particular time or neglecting the errand our parents sent us on. Remember your first love when you threw caution to the wind and just did what you felt would make you happy, even if it meant defying your family or friends’ advice.

You might think it’s easy to control your impulse when the challenge is your happiness. But think of everyone’s obsession with the pursuit of happiness. Once you’re in an elated feeling, it’s difficult to make a decision that would deprive you of that feeling.

Anger is also a very influential emotion. It’s something difficult to hold in. We know for sure that people have committed atrocities because they can’t control their anger. There are the crimes of passion, road rage, and several others we hear and see in the news.

While we do things to continue feeling happy, anger pushes us to act so that we can release this emotion. Another difference is that, barring a few cases, the latter often requires us to be violent physically or verbally. So while the repercussions of our need to hold on to happiness can take a while to set in, anger is immediate. The good thing is, while controlling decisions prompted by happiness is different from person to person, there are proven methods to control knee-jerk reactions to anger.

relaxing at home

Have a constant vent for your emotions.

Often, the outburst from anger is an effect of your accumulated feelings. Punch your mattress, throw your pillows, even tear out some old diaries. Rather than risk getting to the point when you’d hit another person, let off some steam on inanimate objects.

That’s probably why ax-throwing bars have become popular. Ax throwing is now touted as a pastime akin to dart-throwing, but at the start, it was like a stress room where you can let out the bad energy your anger and frustrations have built up. The same can still be said of the activity, target-shooting, and other similar sports.

It also helps if you have at least one trusted friend you can share your thoughts with. If some things are too personal to share with people who know you, you can go to a professional counselor who would be your disinterested sounding board. Many professionals understand when their clients don’t want unnecessary advice and want to air out pent-up emotions.

Count up to five.

As has been mentioned, what you do in response to your anger is often a knee-jerk reaction. If you manage to control yourself for a few seconds, the worst can be avoided. While your anger doesn’t necessarily go away, you’ll have some control in your response.

You can do mindful breathing techniques so that you can apply them when necessary. Breathing has been scientifically recommended to help you relax from stress. Deep breathing or diaphragmatic breathing is controlled breathing where you are mindful of the flow of the air from your nose to your lungs and feel the inflation of your lower belly.

You also feel your belly compress when the air flows back out of your body. It’s relaxing because it allows oxygen to flow fully into your lungs. Consequently, your heartbeat, pumped up from your anger, slows down and your blood pressure is lowered.

Leave heated confrontations.

Ask to talk when you’ve both cooled your heads, and you can approach the matter of concern rationally. The purpose of doing this is to gain time, and thus the opportunity to look at the situation from the other person’s perspectives.

This can only be effective, however, if all the parties in conflict want a rationalized resolution. But even if you’re the only one making an effort to cool down, it would already help deescalate the situation.

Rash decisions often lead us to bad consequences. We make a lot of mistakes when our decisions are charged with extreme emotions. If we want to control our lives, we need to look at how we can control our emotions first.

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