What is anger?

What is anger?

Anger is a normal emotion that people experience, a normal reaction to life’s ups and downs. Anger is a feeling that can be experienced with physiological changes in the body. When people get angry they describe the following responses in the body: increased heart rate, muscle tension, sweaty palms and the feeling of losing control. A very powerful emotion and when experienced often can lead to people behaving in ways that are not ok such as yelling, throwing things, harming others or self or silent brooding and withdrawal. Some people describe their anger as gaining control and power; there are alternatives ways to gain power and control in life. If anger is handled well it can be a useful emotion and motivate people towards positive changes. When anger is left uncontrolled or untreated it can lead to distress and cause problems in many areas of life such as conflicts with people you may care about (family & friends), depression, anxiety, low self-esteem and in more severe cases problems with law.

 

Why do people get angry?

Anger is most commonly connected with frustration- when people don’t get the results they want, things don’t turn out to plan and others don’t behave the way we think they should. Anger can be experienced with other feelings and emotions such as sadness, worry, hurt and fear. Anger can be a result of difficulty in expressing thoughts and feelings to others. Sometimes anger can be triggered by certain events or situations such as the thought that you are being treated unfairly. Therefore it is really important to learn your triggers.

 

Is anger a problem for me?

When anger may be a problem it gets in the way of you getting along with others, interfering with school or work and if you notice that others are frightened around you. Consider the following signs of anger and identify if you have experienced the following:

Feeling angry and irritated most of the time.
Others identify anger as a worry or problem for you.
Anger is interfering with work, school or relationships.
The anger and experience is out of context to the trigger that set it off.
You are using alcohol and drugs to manage anger.
You are feeling more anxious and depressed about your anger outbursts
How to manage your anger in a more healthy way!

Managing your anger in a healthier way can lead to more positive meaningful relationships in all areas of life and decrease feelings of anxiety and depression. One of the first steps to managing your anger is to recognise the triggers or situations that lead to your angry responses, identifying your body’s physiological responses or warning signs such as muscle tension, increased heart rate and headaches.

1. Make a list of all the things you can think of that makes you feel angry.

Scale from 1-10 how angry you get with 10 being as angry as possible.

___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

2. List your early warning signs (Notice where in your body you feel anger)

For example tense jaw and heart pounding

___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

3. List the ways you behave when you’re angry.

For example yelling or hurting others.

___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

4. How did you feel after you reacted?

___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

5. What could have been done instead?

___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

6. What would happen if you were to react in a more positive way?

___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

7. What will you do when you experience early warning signs of anger?

___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

 

Strategies for Managing Anger.

There are a number of ways of managing your anger and it is useful to try different techniques as some may suit more than others.

 

Understanding your thinking style
It is beneficial to learn what thoughts that you are having that may be unhelpful and increase your anger. Write a list of thoughts you may have that trigger your anger responses and try to come up with more helpful and rational thoughts or self-talk. For example, instead of saying, “this traffic is in my way I can’t stand it I’m going to be late again, get out of my way,” tell yourself instead, “It’s frustrating to be caught in this traffic, it’s not the end of the world, I will get to work safely”.

Develop a list of positive self talk that could help you with situations that may trigger your anger responses such as:

“I’ll be able to handle this”

“If I feel my anger warning signs I will know what to do to calm myself down”

Distract yourself
Try to distract yourself from the circumstances that make you angry.
Count to 10, go for a walk, and focus on where you are.

Breathing, relaxation and imagery can help to calm down angry feelings
Breathe deeply and slowly through your nose, hold the breath for 4 seconds, then breathe out slowly through your mouth. Make sure you breathe from your belly, slowly repeat a calm word such as “relax” and repeat with your breathing. Use imagery: visualize a relaxing experience from your memory or imagination; it can be your favourite calming place such as the beach. Practice mediation, yoga or mindfulness.

What are some of the things you will do when you experience your early warning signs of anger?
Make a list
___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

What are the positive outcomes of using the alternative, positive coping skills listed?

___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
 

Seek Professional Assistance

Sometimes people need assistance to help manage their anger, if you feel yours is out of control, you may consider contacting for psychological assistance. I can assist you to help you understand your anger and together, work out how to get what you need in a more positive way. As mentioned anger is often associated with other problems like anxiety and depression, I can also assist with these problems in a supportive therapeutic way.

Joanne Edmond
info@coretherapy.net.au
No Comments

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.