While anger can be a useful response in a moment of danger, once the threat has passed it serves no purpose, and can destroy relationships.
The secret to diffusing anger is to understand that anger is a secondary emotion. What that means is that the root of anger is always some softer emotion; the two most common being fear and sadness.
For example, say a reckless driver cuts you off in traffic, forcing you to slam on the breaks. Underneath the anger that comes up is probably fear; either of getting in an accident, or being late for work (or both).
The next time you find yourself caught in anger, take a breather and ask yourself “What is really going on here?” If you find you are actually sad, allow yourself to grieve. If you are afraid, reach out for help or take action to change your situation.
By Scott Parker, CSW