Anger is such a strong negative feeling, our natural response to it is to repress it. It makes sense after all. Why would we want negative feelings at any time?
The problem with this automatic response to anger is the fact that it does not allow us to deal with it properly and thus prevents us from being efficient in other tasks.
The more we hold in our brain, the less able to focus we become.
This is the reason why so many experts explain the importance of writing down lists of things we need to do, think about, or sometimes even let go of. By writing down on a piece of paper what is in your brain, it provides more space for the rest.
Due to its strongness, unfortunately, anger cannot be simply let go. Even after writing it down, we will keep it in a corner of our brain until it is resolved. Of course, the impact itself is lowered during this period, but it does not resolve the problem at hand.
Anger being a strong feeling is also an advantage in itself.
Take your time and think about the last time you were feeling particularly great and did a lot of what you had planned. Why were you able to realize so much?
The reason behind it is most certainly the ability you found to focus.
I recently wrote an article about becoming “angrily efficient” so I won’t go into details much about it but to put it in a nutshell, anger can become an opportunity to develop skills by using the fact that your brain is in an extremely different mindset than usual.
Thoughts which would have never come to you before may appear because the connections your brain makes in that period would not make sense in your standard mindset.
However, there are ways to further improve this efficiency.
Start with understanding the cause
Take some time to write down what caused the anger in itself. Most times, the reason stems from a strong difference between expectation and reality. You thought X would happen but it turned out to become Y which is its exact opposite.
The frustration which comes from this does not evolve slowly but suddenly bursts into its full form. From there on, small frictions between expectation and reality can be enough to keep it going for a long time.
While I did say writing down the backstory to your anger will not allow you to get it gone from your brain, at least part of it will be taken off for a while. Although this won’t be enough to get your full standard efficiency back, this will without fault allow you to gain some more attentional space.
Then schedule your anger
Said like this, it doesn’t look like it makes much sense, right? Anger just “gets” to us suddenly, doesn’t it?
Well, despite anger being able to allow for better efficiency in some times, if not controlled at all, it will just impede you with whatever other tasks you need to make progress on.
By writing its causes, you will have already given yourself a bit of leeway. But unfortunately, there is one problem: this won’t work forever.
Anger is so strong it will come back to bite if you try to leave it on the side for too long.
This is why you should set some time to focus on this anger and dig deeper to find what longheld beliefs caused those frictions.
Have you ever found yourself in a state of flow? A time during which your creativity was at its highest and time flew by in an instant?
While it can happen, I doubt it has happened to you a lot without actually having put efforts into your focus. You never suddenly thought you were in a state of flow while on your way to buy bread, I guess.
You had to set a time from which you would get on with your task and you were able to get in that state thanks to your focus from there on.
Anger works in similar ways. If you can control and give yourself the time to focus on it at a certain specific time, this will allow you to process the circumstances deeper and, hopefully, reduce also how strong the negative impact is on the rest of your life.
Get on with your life
And there you go. You might think you didn’t learn much in this article but this is also its main goal. All the above simply makes sense.
We all know letting ourselves get eaten by anger is bad. We all know how strong a feeling it can be. We all know controlling our anger could be beneficial.
Yet we don’t actually act on it. The rare times we think about anger are when we are angry. Which, obviously, won’t help as we won’t be thinking completely rationally.
If you read this while you’re still sane, I hope you can remember at least part of this article the next time you’ll be angry! You can then gain better control of it and actually make sure your life becomes better instead of worse.