Managing Anger

Anger is an emotional state we have all felt at one time or another. And it may vary from mild irritation to an explosive blind rage. Anger, like all our emotions is accompanied by physiological changes including increased heart rate, increased blood pressure, and changes in adrenaline.

Anger is a natural and instinctive way for us to respond to threats in our environment. It allows us to fight back and defend ourselves when we are attacked, which is necessary for our survival. But we can’t go around attacking everything and everyone that makes us angry. Anger may also be a reaction to other emotions we may be feeling like anxiety, fear or sadness. If these feelings are too painful to experience at the moment, we may express anger as a way of avoiding or taking control of these painful emotions. Men commonly express anger when what they are really experiencing is serious depression.

The ideal response to anger is to understand what your needs are and how they can be met. Then expressing those needs to others in an assertive, but respectful manner.

Another strategy is to suppress the anger and redirect it to something more positive. The danger with this approach is that by not allowing some expression of this anger, it may turn on you and result in high blood pressure or depression. Unexpressed anger may also lead to personalities that become cynical, hostile or passive-aggressive.

Anger is like a virus and it will spread through families to future generations. Research has shown that children of angry parents are more aggressive, less compliant, less empathetic and are poorly adjusted overall. There is a strong correlation between parental anger and delinquency. The effects of parental anger can follow a child into adulthood. The effect of parental anger on an adult child can include depression, social alienation, spousal abuse and poor career achievement.

An estimated 9% of Americans have impulsive anger issue s (1). If you think your anger may be out of control, if it is affecting your relationships and other important parts of your life, you might consider counseling to learn how to handle it better. A counselor or other licensed mental health professional can work with you in developing a range of techniques for changing your thinking and your behavior.

People won't have time for you if you are always angry or complaining.

Stephen Hawking
(1)   Duke University Medical Center. (2015, April 8). Nearly one in ten U.S. adults have impulsive anger issues and access to guns. ScienceDaily . Retrieved April 6, 2017 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/04/150408090411.htm

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