We all get angry, but some of us have a real problem with anger management. Sometimes, we get angry so fast that we don’t get the time to reasonably handle it. The result? Shouting, fighting, saying things we regret later. Sometimes it gets physical and we break stuff, or worst-case scenario, cause bodily harm.
Oftentimes though, this type of rage goes away as fast as it came. And then we see ourselves as the ass we have been. But there is no point regretting it at that point, is there? Words and actions are like bullets — once fired off, cannot be returned.
However, there is great value in looking at things in hindsight. After you have been angry, it is very beneficial to look back on what exactly happened and figure out what happened within yourself at that moment. This will give you great fortitude next time a similar event occurs, and you will be more aware of your mind working up so you will be more able to control your reactions.
To that end, here are ten questions you should ask yourself after you have been angry. Try to answer them as honestly as you can (or else you are only cheating yourself). Next time, these answers will hold your hand through incidents.
Question 1: What caused my reaction?
This is plenty easy to tell, at first thought. This question is all about identifying the trigger that started off your reaction. But it may not be that easy, once you start digging deep. Let us try to explain.
Suppose, your friend has made a joke about you, and instead of having fun you got irritated and snapped back at the friend. The joke itself, in this case, may have been quite innocent — the real cause of anger here may have been the fact that you know this friend talks behind your back and you secretly resent this.
So, the moment s/he said something undermining you in front of you, that suppressed resentment burst out. So the trigger here isn’t the joke — it is the hidden negativity you have in mind about him/her.
Question 2: What automatically came into my mind?
This involves going back deep inside your mind and identifying the exact thoughts that flashed through your brain at the point of the reaction. We won’t lie, it’s not easy to figure that out. But close your eyes and try to think, you’ll find the thread of thought process eventually.
Question 3: How did I feel at the moment?
The exact feeling you get right before you start the reaction and right after are supremely important in this self-evaluation. Think! Did you feel humiliated? Sad? Hurt? Wanted to run away? Wanted to hit him/her? What were the feelings?
Question 4: How do I feel in my body?
More often than not our anger manifests in quite physical ways. For example, feeling red and hot in the ears, neck, face, or chest is quite natural during anger. If you learn to pinpoint these sensations, you will be very much aware of the state of your mind and therefore you will be more in control of yourself.
Question 5: Why do I think this reaction is justified?
You may have been quite right in getting angry over that incident. Were you right? Why do you think so? What evidence, proof, verification do you have that breaks down whatever they said? Once you get that cleared up, you will have the necessary calm that comes with confidence.
Question 6: Why this reaction may have been wrong?
On the other hand, it is quite possible that you were entirely wrong in your opinion. We all are humans only, and we can make mistakes, right? What if your words were mistakes, and are there actual reasons to think so?
Question 7: Was that a helpful or unhelpful thought?
These thoughts that flashed through your mind at the time of the ‘flash’ — did they help you at all in any way? Did they smoothen your path? Eased your life? Or did they create a complicated situation? To put simply — do you think it was a good idea to think that way?
Question 8: Will this matter to me after a while?
This matter may have seemed the thing of utmost and paramount importance to you at that point of your reaction. Of course, it did, otherwise, you wouldn’t be invested enough to flare up at the time. But, really, how important was the matter anyway? Would you really care about it after a day has gone by? After a week? A year? If not, then maybe it wasn’t big enough to waste your emotions on.
Question 9: What would a true friend say to me if they knew I was having these thoughts?
Do you think they would not like how you reacted? Do you think they would even support you? Does it make you ashamed? What would any random people on the street say after they know a neutral, impartial description of the event? See yourself from an external point of view.
Question 10: If my good friend was experiencing the same thing, what would I say to them?
How would it be if it was your friend in your place? Would you support them? Or would you tell them it isn’t right to think such things? What would any random person do if they were in the same situation? Do you think they would have reacted the same way?
Every time you have been angry, had a temper tantrum, made a scene – after you’ve calmed down and had some time, sit down and go through these 10 questions to ask yourself after anger. Better yet, pull out a writing pad and start answering out these questions on page. This way, you will see you are getting better and better at controlling your temper, after every incident.