Use The 'Reappraisal' Method To Manage Anger

Everyone has their own natural way of handling anger, but some methods are proven to be more healthy than others. In terms of picking the healthiest option, this simple thought is not quite all you need to do, but it's a mind hack to help get you there.

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Over at Barking Up The Wrong Tree, there's a look at how the different ways you can handle anger affect you, according to neuroscience. Unsurprisingly, suppressing the anger can have some detrimental effects, even if you just initially suppress it and let it out later. Though, socially speaking, sometimes you just have to suppress it, it should be avoided.

Also unhelpful was directly venting at the person in front of you, whether that person is responsible for the anger or not. Dumping that kind of negativity on someone can actually intensify the feeling, in the same way that suppressing it can.

The best option, in terms of your own personal health, is to let it go -- but this is something many people have trouble with. Whether it's the principle of the matter, or the actually logistics of it (how do you do it?), it's an elusive technique. So Barking suggests "reappraisal" as a mind hack to get there:

You want to scream back. Or even hit them.   But what if I told you their mother passed away yesterday? Or that they were going through a tough divorce and just lost custody of their kids?   You’d let it go. You’d probably even respond to their anger with compassion.   What changed? Not the event. Situation is the same. But the story you’re telling yourself about the event changed everything.

It's really about making the offending item all about the offender, instead of you. It's advanced empathy. And no one is saying you should forget being slighted - certainly if there's regular abuse, it's a situation that will need to be resolved - but we do have a degree of power over how much it affects us.

[Barking Up The Wrong Tree]


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