Familiarizing yourself with cross cultural differences in anger management can help reduce conflicts and stress both at home and work. Just as every culture has people with unique ways of behaving and reacting, powerful emotions like anger are handled in different ways.
What is Anger Management?
First, it's important to understand exactly how anger management works. In a general sense, anger is a completely normal, healthy emotion, but it can also get out of control and make a person irritable and unpredictable. According to Charles Spielberger at the American Psychological Association, anger is "an emotional state that varies in intensity from mild irritation to intense fury and rage."
Anger is usually dealt with by exhibiting aggressive behavior, but it can also be suppressed and create other emotional problems. Managing anger means having the ability to reduce both the emotional feelings and the responses in the body.
Cross Cultural Differences in Anger Management
The ways one person deals with anger may differ from another, especially in different cultures. Starting in childhood, people are taught to express and deal with anger based on their family examples and social norms. While some people have it ingrained in them that anger is inappropriate, others learn anger as an acceptable emotion.
In a culture where people are taught to suppress their anger, there could be frustration and a general disconnection from wants and needs. If anger was taught as an automatic answer to problems, displays of rage or hate might be common. However, in a culture where healthy anger is allowed from a young age, you might find more people who are assertive.
Because every culture has different values, you really have to first learn and understand the culture. Once there is an understanding of the culture and the ways people interact with each other, you'll have better tools for anger management among different kinds of people.
Tips on Positive Cross Cultural Interactions
It's important to understand cross cultural differences in anger management, especially when it comes to conflicts with others and getting along. People of various backgrounds handle their feelings differently, but everyone has a need for mutual respect. Cross cultural differences in anger management should take into account traditions and upbringing, as well as social norms. The following are a few questions to use when discussing anger management with a person of a different culture:
- How do people in your culture generally deal with conflicts?
- What displays of anger were seen at a young age?
- Was anger expression encouraged or discouraged. Why?
- How do you feel about expressing anger in your own life today?
Understanding Cultural Diversity
Understanding the diverse ways that people handle stress and anger can help identify when problems are likely to occur-and how to best solve them.