Em­brac­ing anger

> Cul­ti­vat­ing healthy emo­tional prac­tices for our well­be­ing > xxxxxxxxxxxxxx

The Sun (Malaysia) - - SUNBIZ -

al­co­hol. This is why some peo­ple get an­gry, ag­gres­sive and even vi­o­lent when they drink. There is also a ten­dency to cul­ti­vate a drink­ing habit as an out­let for their anger be­cause they find that their ag­gres­sive ac­tions are more eas­ily ex­plained or for­given when they are drunk.

Iron­i­cally, we have all heard the myth that when you get an­gry, to just let it all out. It is good to scream or shout or even punch a wall, bang the door or kick the ta­ble. The logic is it re­leases the anger. Re­al­ity is, it may feel good for a while but at what con­se­quence? Es­sen­tially, anger is not con­ducive be­cause it tends to in­flict fear and pain, which some­times can be ir­re­versible.

At the other end of the spec­trum, there are those who are pas­sively an­gry. Those who sulk or brood and not will­ing to talk about what they are feel­ing. Ac­cord­ing to Lina, these peo­ple tend to nat­u­rally not ac­knowl­edge their own feel­ings and emo­tions. They ei­ther don’t want to or are not used to it. “That is why some­times if you ask them, they don’t even know why they are in that re­ac­tionary mode.”

The fact is anger should be dealt with. “If a feel­ing or emo­tion is not re­solved and in­stead is sup­pressed, it does not go away. It still stays, fes­ter and will even­tu­ally af­fect a per­son’s per­son­al­ity, habit and be­hav­iour,” says Lina. This can lead to frus­tra­tion and spi­ral into de­pres­sion.

When an­gry, it is im­por­tant for us to un­der­stand and re­mem­ber that it is an emo­tional re­ac­tion to some­thing that we per­ceive as un­fair. But, how does one act or re­act to make it fair? “Most of the time, you do need to com­mu­ni­cate to oth­ers on what makes you feel that it’s not fair. So, how do you put the mes­sage across?”


The first step is to ac­knowl­edge that one is an­gry and un­der­stand that it is fine to be up­set. “Your mind and body is send­ing you sig­nals. Look at the sig­nals, don’t ig­nore them.” Then by en­gag­ing the mind, one can ap­ply good emo­tional skill sets to han­dle the sit­u­a­tion ef­fec­tively.

Lina sug­gests to trans­late the anger into a tan­gi­ble form. “Let us put it in a sim­ple rain­bow colour chart of red, or­ange, yel­low, green and blue. We will call it Com­mu­ni­ca­tion Zone Chart.” Each colour will rep­re­sent dif­fer­ent anger re­ac­tions.

Red rep­re­sents ver­bal or ges­tures that are phys­i­cally threat­en­ing to oth­ers.

Or­ange in­di­cates that you are about to go red like clench­ing your fist, slam­ming your fists into some­thing, slam­ming the door or kick­ing things.

Yel­low means com­mu­ni­ca­tion that are emo­tion­ally threat­en­ing. This in­cludes rais­ing your voice, threat­en­ing tone of voice, yell and shout. It also com­prises all words that are threat­en­ing, ac­cus­ing, curs­ing, any­thing that is hurt­ful, vul­gar or mean.

“Ba­si­cally, when you are in this red, or­ange or yel­low zone, the other party is not in­ter­ested in what you have to say to them. In fact they will be busy de­fend­ing them­selves,” says Lina.

An es­sen­tial part of com­mu­ni­ca­tion is about you want­ing to be heard by the other per­son. In the case of anger, one is look­ing for fair­ness. How­ever, if you are in the red, or­ange or yel­low zone, you have de­feated your­self in your at­tempt to be heard. Lina says, the other party is now only con­cerned about them­selves, in de­fend­ing them­selves from you.

On the other end of the spec­trum is blue. It rep­re­sents the an­gry per­son who re­fuses to talk about his or her feel­ings and in­stead chooses to brood and sulk.

“This is a fail­ure to com­mu­ni­cate. It means that you have not taken an ac­tion that is ef­fec­tive enough to

com­mu­ni­cate your feel­ings like be­ing silent, be­ing cold, giv­ing the cold shoul­ders or sulk­ing. So in a sense, blue is al­most as bad as yel­low, or­ange or red.”


The so­lu­tion is to leave these forms of com­mu­ni­ca­tion or lack of com­mu­ni­ca­tion be­hind and go to the green zone. Green rep­re­sents as­sertive­ness, which means com­mu­ni­cat­ing your feel­ings or con­cerns in a way that does not cause the other per­son to

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