7 ways to channel potential violence into productivity


Anger is a normal, human emotion. Someone stole your bike, your parents enforce an unreasonable curfew and a computer crash wipes out three hours of homework. When these things happen, it’s acceptable to feel angry, but unacceptable to lash out at others or make a scene.

Anger becomes violence when a person acts instinctively and without forethought; taking some time to think about the consequences of violence can make all the difference. The ability to control and channel anger in a positive manner helps a person be more productive and avoid a violent response.

1.Allow yourself to experience the anger:
Anger is a normal, common emotion that prepares people for fight or flight against a perceived danger or enemy. However, it is up to the angry person to control the emotion, not the other way around

2.Be aware that anger is physiological as well as emotional:
When a person becomes angry, the amygdala, the emotion control portion of the brain, sends a distress signal to the hypothalamus, and epinephrine (adrenaline) is produced throughout the body, preparing for a threat. Heart rate increases and senses are heightened

3.If anger is uncontrollable, seek help:
Feeling angry most of the time or continually trying to suppress anger is not normal. For example, if you have daily violent thoughts, episodes of road rage or are persistently negative, therapy would be helpful. If you have been involved in domestic violence, thrown objects when angry or blamed others for your anger, you should visit your family physician and ask for help.

4.Use anger as motivation:
Many people are reluctant to make changes in their lives, and sometimes the sheer power of an emotion such as anger can kick start the implementation of change. Replace anger with passion or enthusiasm and use the adrenaline boost from the anger as motivation to try something new. A person who has thought about doing volunteer work might be inspired to get out there and actually do it

5.Prove someone wrong:
If you feel angry at people because they have little faith in your ability, show them they’re wrong. If you know that your parents never expect an A grade on a school report, give them a surprise and earn one. A teacher who thought you’re not college material might see things differently, and so might you

6.Transform anger into power or assertiveness:
An assertive person takes a position and sticks with it, appearing self-assured. Angry people may pound a table when giving their opinion, which just tells everyone that they are angry

7.Do something physical:
Exercise is a great release for anger, whether jogging, swimming, lifting weights or participating in a yoga class, exercise burns that adrenaline and helps a person relax when it’s over. If your pleasure is gardening, a few hours of that work will have the same effect, plus there will be visible results to appreciate

After Candy Lightner’s child was killed by a drunk driver, she went on to found Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), which is now operating in many countries. There’s no doubt she was angry, but she put her anger to practical use to help others.

White River Academy is a licensed, accredited residential treatment center for male adolescents between the ages of 12 and 17 with behavioral problems. If you would like further information, please call our 24/7 helpline for assistance.

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