We have all felt angry at one point of our lives or another. But what happens when we begin to feel as though our anger consumes us and we struggle to control it? What happens when you struggle to let go of your anger, even when the dust has appeared to settled?
When your anger feels all consuming and hard to let go of, it will begin to take a toll on your quality of life. Tensions will rise, conflicts will become more and more constant, and unhappiness will be a common feeling.
What is anger?
Anger is a natural human emotion that occurs when we perceive a threat, it prepares our bodies and mind to attack. It is an extremely important emotion for our survival, so it shouldn't be considered a 'bad' emotion, but we must learn to control it.
The mismanagement of anger is a major cause of conflict in many relationships, both at home and at work. The most serve consequence of mismanaged anger is violence, learning to recognise the triggers is the first step in controlling ones anger.
Is anger normal?
Anger is an emotion that we all experience at one point or another in our lives. It can be caused internally or externally. Internally, anger can be caused by negative thought patterns. Externally, anger can be caused by upsetting situations.
Anger can sometimes lead one to lash out, saying hurtful things or acting physically violent. It is not a bad thing to feel angry. However, it is unhealthy to allow your anger to control you. Developing a better understanding of your thought processes and emotional triggers surrounding your feelings of anger will ultimately help you take control over your anger rather than allowing it to control you.
Anger can be expressed in many different ways. One can express their anger through the use of insults, gossip, rumours, ignoring the person they are angry with, sarcasm, or through damaging the person's who they are angry with personal items.
Sometimes, anger can be confusing. When you are feeling angry and do not take the time to evaluate your anger, you may find yourself taking your anger out on something that has nothing to do with it.
For instance, let's say that your boss angered you all day at work. Now, you may not take your anger out on your boss as he has the power to fire you, causing you to lose important income. So, you get home to your spouse, who you know will likely love you through your worst times. When you get home, you may find yourself releasing your anger at your boss out at your spouse by starting an argument.
In the example explained above, your anger was directed toward you boss, but you aimed it at your spouse because the consequences were not as severe and the fallout may appear to be easier to take control of because you know that your spouse cares about you.
What are the symptoms of anger?
If you are reading this, you probably already know you may have a problem with anger, but these are some of the signs that you may have difficulty controlling your anger.
Anger or rage
Irritable at the slightest thing
Restless, on edge, uptight
Flashes of rage
How you think
Mind goes ‘blank‘ when angry
Thinking the worse of people
Everything seems like a big problem
Others seem unfair to you
"You/they have ruined everything"
"You/they have made a fool of me"
If I don’t do something I’ll explode"
"You/they deserve this"
"You/they let me down"
"I can’t trust anyone"
"You are never there for me"
Heart pounds, races, skips a beat
Chest feels tight
Legs go weak
Go very hot
Head buzzing, pounding
How do you control your anger?
Anger management therapy is a form of therapy in which one is taught ways to understand their emotions, tools for managing their anger, and healthy ways to express their emotions. Anger management therapy is available individually or in group counselling.
In therapy, the professional will work to provide a controlled environment their patient can use to allow their emotions to be released. As these emotions are released in therapy, the therapist will work to teach the patient responses that are effective and constructive, allowing them to avoid destructive and unproductive reactions.
The goals of anger management therapy include:
learning how to properly express one's thoughts and feelings
understanding what triggers their anger, so they can prepare themselves emotionally
recognise unhealthy and illogical thought patterns
shifting from a negative mindset to a problem-solving mindset
tools for calming down when anger arises
The 5 goals of anger management therapy
Learning how to properly express one's thoughts and feelings
Understanding what triggers their anger, so they can prepare themselves emotionally
Recognise unhealthy and illogical thought patterns
Shifting from a negative mindset to a problem-solving mindset
Tools for calming down when anger arises
How can anger management therapy help?
When one has little to no control over their anger, their quality of life will begin to suffer. Anger management therapy is a form of therapy with the goal of teaching the clients tools for controlling their anger, so that it doesn't control them.
In anger management, you will gain an understanding of what happens within your body when you are experiencing anger, what can cause it, and reactions to anger that may actually be used as a learned defence mechanisms. Understanding these aspects of anger are the first step to learning when and how to utilise the tools you will be provided in therapy. The tools you will learn in anger management therapy include:
How to control your impulses. When you are angry, you can become impulsive and do things that you regret. In therapy, you will learn how to take control of your impulses so you have more power over your anger, preventing you from doing the things you may regret later.
Breathing techniques. Breathing techniques are a great strategy for reducing the physical affects of anger. When your body is experiencing the physical side effects of anger, your mind is likely to react. This tool will help you gain control over your anger.
Meditation. Meditation is a great tool for gaining self-awareness, impulse control, and emotional intelligence so you can develop a better understanding of the reason for your anger.