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Anger is not actually bad for us - it alerts us to the fact that we've been wronged. The racing heart and hot face is your body preparing for a fight or flight response, energizing you to confront injustice.
Anger only becomes a problem if we are unable to manage it, and it manages us instead.
Managing your anger is all about managing your thoughts. Your thoughts will determine how you respond.
Strategies like cognitive behavioral therapy can teach people healthier thought patterns.
It helps a user read a set of blood-boiling scenarios and rates how likely they are to have each of six possible reactions. It enables you to recognize unhelpful thoughts that cause a knee-jerk reaction. For example: When you are driving through a residential area, and someone backs their car out of a driveway and nearly hits you. There are six possible reactions:
People who are more likely to think maladaptive thoughts tend to be angrier overall. They express their anger in unhealthy ways and experience more days with negative emotions, aggression, and risky driving.
Inflammatory labeling is incredibly toxic as it degrades a human into an object and minimizes any or all of their other qualities.
The antidote to inflammatory labeling is empathy. When you start to think of other people from a different perspective, you will do the opposite of labeling.
Instead of escalating your anger with insults or vengeful thoughts, start by focusing on the facts. Rational thinking can reduce your anger.
Changing your angry thoughts takes time. But if you can recognize your thoughts, you can learn to stop yourself and refocus your attention.
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