Anger Management

Anger Management

 

By Jake Lamberton.

Anger is a normal emotion that all of us feel from time to time. When utilised constructively, anger can be an incredibly motivating and powerful emotion. However, there are times when anger can be used in a harmful way leading, us to say or do things that hurt the people around us or that we later regret.

Anger is generally experienced when something doesn’t go the way that we would like. This could be not getting something we want, events not turning out the way we plan or other people not acting the way that we’d like. Common examples are; someone cutting you off in traffic, your colleague not pulling their weight on a task or your child not doing their chores. Anger can motivate you to rectify these situations, but when expressed in an uncontrolled manner, it can negatively impact the people we care about and, as a result, our relationships with them.

Other times anger can be linked with other emotions such as guilt, shame, sadness, anxiety, jealousy and stress. Often, these emotions are more difficult to express, and t can be easier to respond to situations with anger.

You might struggle with anger issues if you:

  • Feel angry and tense a lot of the time.
  • Seem to get angry more easily than the people around you.
  • Take a long time to cool down after being angry.
  • Take your anger out on others or noticed that they are frightened of you.
  • Worry, feel anxious or feel depressed about being angry.
  • Use alcohol or drugs to manage your anger.

 

The first step in managing anger issues is to recognise triggers and early warning signs. Triggers may include running late to an appointment or forgetting items at home and for these situations, you may be able to plan ahead to avoid triggering situations. Other situations, like someone cutting you off in traffic, your colleague not pulling their weight on a task or your partner or child not doing their chores, may be difficult to plan for and in these situations, all we can control is our response. Noticing early warning signs that you are angry can be helpful to allow you to bring in some other coping strategies to manage the anger. Some early warning signs include mind going blank, body or hands shaking, changes in breathing, clenched fists, feeling hot and sweaty and headaches.

After recognising triggers or early warning signs it can be helpful to try and stop and ask yourself why you are angry. If there is something happening that is reasonable to be angry about then that anger may be useful but we want to make sure we don’t respond to the anger in an out of proportion way or direct the anger towards the wrong people.

After you have potentially recognised the cause of the anger it can be helpful to take a time out and step away from the situation. If there are others involved explain that you need a minute to calm down as usually problems aren’t resolved when one person is angry.

Try to do some relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, guided imagery or a grounding exercise. Often taking the time to do a relaxation technique, even for a couple of minutes, can help reduce some of the more immediate physical and emotional responses to anger-provoking situations.

If you are able to, try to do some exercise. Exercise can serve as a release from anger and can bring about a sense of relaxation.

After you have potentially mitigated the immediate physical and emotional responses it can be helpful to express your anger in an assertive and non-confrontational way. Expressing your anger in a productive way may help to reduce the chance of the situation occurring in the future.

Remember anger is a completely normal response to a situation but learning how to utilise anger in a constructive and helpful manner can have great impacts on the rest of your life!

This blog was written by Jake Lamberton, to learn more about Jake’s experience, click here.

To book an appointment with Jake or one of our other Psychologists, click here.

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