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Day 32: For the Hot-Headed Man

“Keep this thought handy when you feel a fit of rage coming on—it isn’t manly to be enraged. Rather, gentleness and civility are more human, and therefore manlier. A real man doesn’t give way to anger and discontent, and such a person has strength, courage, and endurance—unlike the angry and complaining. The nearer a man comes to a calm mind, the closer he is to strength.”

MARCUS AURELIUS

I consider myself a calm-headed person, I don’t get angered easily. Sometimes people around me found this baffling, they sometimes feel that I am too passive. But I think quite contrary to it. I do get angry sometimes but I choose to pick what I get angry about.

In the last 31 mediations, if we learned anything out of it and what it focused mostly on is to know what we have a choice everywhere and to identify things out of our control and letting them go. And hence I know which battles I have to pick and which to let go of. I am not an expert on the topic but based on my experiences I would like to share what I feel is the reason people get all hot-headed and angry and what can we do to avoid it.

Why do we get angry?

1. Feeling wronged

One of the most common reasons that people get angry is because they feel they have been wronged or there was an injustice.

2. Lack of patience

Some people feel too entitled to things in life, and they feel everything should happen at their convenience. Standing in a long queue, stuck in a traffic jam, dealing with a difficult person, even smaller things that are out of their control serves as their trigger.

3. Feeling unappreciated

I think no-one in the world is good for the sake of being good. They are good because they want good things to happen to them too in return. People are sincere in their work but it is not rewarded well, then they get frustrated. For every effort they put out, they expect a return.

4. Suppressed emotions

People often get angry at things that are not even worth getting angry about and even they will agree to it in a calmer state of mind. But there are often so many pent-up frustrations, thoughts, and emotions that it comes out ugly in form of anger.

What can we do to control anger?

1. Expression

I think journaling is the most effective way to dump all the thoughts and emotions running in your mind on paper. It has multiple benefits:

  • You are pausing to reflect on the situation. Many a time, you will realize that it is worth not getting angry about
  • Clearing your head. If you are actually wronged and there isn’t much you can do about it then writing it on a piece of paper can liberate you from the burden you carry in your heart day-in-day-out
  • You might realize that by being angry you are worsening the situation and after writing down once your head is clear you can think more clearly of the solutions

2. Breathing excercise

Many times we are so much caught up in the moment that there is no time to journal or reflect. At times it is suggested that you take deep breaths. Being angry increases your pulse rate and your heart consume more oxygen. Your brain is cut-off from oxygen to support your fast and palpitating heart. Taking deep breaths increases the inflow of oxygen and maybe your brain can think more clearly to see that there isn’t much reason to be angry.

3. Take a timeout

If you are feeling too hot-headed and if you feel that things are going out of your control, try to remove yourself from the situation. Try to do something else for some time. Mostly when you are calmed down you will be able to deal with the situation better.

These are few tips that I find useful to keep me level-headed. Let me know in the comments if any tips and tricks that you use to control your anger.

Published inPhilosophy & IdeasStoicism

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