The purpose of Anger Management is to help people that have problems with their anger so they can understand why they get angry, and to use different strategies on how to control that anger. Some types of behavior therapy are used to help these people such as Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT), Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT), Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), and Dialectical Behavioural Therapy (DBT).
People have a partner, a child, a parent, a roommate or colleagues with whom they interact daily. These interactions are the most common source of the anger outbursts that fuel the need for anger management. The purpose of practicing some simple techniques is to reduce your sensitivity to minor irritations and help you cope in more effective ways.
What Is Anger?
Anger is an emotional state that occurs when unexpected things happen to you, or around you, that you don’t like. The feelings you have can be as mild as annoyance, and as extreme as fury and rage. It’s important to know what anger is so you’ll be able to express it in productive ways instead of damaging behavior.
It is a normal feeling that everyone experiences from time to time. We all get angry occasionally if we are cut off while driving or if our favourite team loses in the competition. However, some people feel like they can’t control their anger and experience it more often or intensely than others. If this is the case, it might be affecting their life and the lives of those around them.
Types of Anger?
There are several different types of anger. Some anger is healthy and appropriate, like the rage of righteous indignation to protest something that is unjust or evil. It comes from the fight or flight response we all have when we face a crisis. There are three types of anger that can shape how we react in a situation that makes us angry.
Passive Aggression: A person who uses hostility in a passive way. This is when someone is actually feeling hostile toward another person or group, but does not let it show directly.
Open Aggression: When someone says what they are thinking and feels openly. This type of anger can be more constructive than passive aggression, as at least it is out in the open.
Assertive Anger: When a person expresses anger directly and firmly, this type of anger is sometimes the best for getting things changed for a better situation.
Causes of Anger:
People can feel angry for many reasons. For example, someone might become angry if they feel threatened, frustrated, or invalidated. The below lists examples of events and circumstances that might cause anger in different people:
- Attacked or Threatened
- Frustrated or Powerless
- Invalidated or Unfairly Treated
Anger is an emotion that has many causes and triggers. It’s normal to feel angry about certain situations, but you need to take responsibility for it in order to handle it appropriately. Circumstances that may activate feelings that lead to anger include:
- Problems that a particular person, such as a co-worker, partner, friend, or family member, has caused
- Frustrating and stressed situations, such as being stuck in a traffic jam or having a flight cancelled
- Personal issues that cause extreme worry
- Memories of traumatic or infuriating events
- Physical or psychological pain
- Environmental conditions, such as uncomfortable temperatures
- Feeling that goals are unachievable
- Personal misdeeds due to unfair treatment, insults, rejections, and criticism
The feeling of anger can be caused by many things. It can be the result of a real or perceived injustice, being controlled or manipulated, neglect, being lied to, and so on. Anger is a natural response to these types of occurrences.
Signs and Symptoms:
Your body and mind go through a variety of emotions when you’re angry. Anger affects the mind and body, and has different signs and symptoms for each. Let’s review some impacts that anger may have on you.
Impacts that anger may have on the body include:
- Increased heart rate
- Feeling hot
- Tightness in the chest
- Stomach churning
- Clenching jaws or grinding teeth
- Tense muscles
- Shaking or trembling
- Leg weakness
- Feeling faint
Impacts that anger may have on the mind include feeling:
- Anxious, nervous, or unable to relax
- Easily irritated
- Sad or depressed
- Like striking out physically or verbally
There are behaviours and feelings associated with anger including:
- Becoming sarcastic
- Losing sense of humour
- Yelling, screaming, or crying
- Acting in an abusive manner
- Craving substances like tobacco or alcohol
Effective Strategies to Control Your Anger
Anger can lead to stress, frustration, and ultimately anger management issues. However, it’s important to learn how to manage your anger in a healthy way.
Controlling anger is very important in life – but learning how to control your anger can be challenging. It is not easy to control hostility and anger. If you find that you are often angry, it could be because something is out of balanced in your life.
Here are some effective anger management strategies to help you control your feelings and reactions when you’re dealing with other people.
Think before you speak
Before responding to a stressful situation, such as a family argument or a disagreement in the workplace, take a few moments to collect your thoughts. Take a deep breath and count to ten silently before responding. Often, the tone of your response will convey something entirely different from what you originally intended.
Once you’re calm, express your anger
We all get angry. Most of the time, it’s not a big deal: you express your anger, bounce back, and move on. It can also lead to long term intractable conflicts that cause serious harm. When you’re upset, the first reaction most people have is to get angry and blame the other person. But if you feel anger coming, try to do the opposite. Don’t get mad; get smart. As soon as you’re thinking clearly, express your annoyance, anger in an assertive but non confrontational manner. State your worries and needs clearly and directly, without hurting others or trying to control them.
Get some exercise
Physical activity can help reduce stress that can cause you to become angry. Staying active by participating in a physical activity that is fun for you, such as walking, running, swimming, dancing or other types of physical exertion should help reduce stress and possible episodes of anger.
Take a timeout
Often, daily life can get very stressful. Give yourself short breaks during times of the day that tend to be the most difficult, and give you a timeout! A few moments of quiet time, alone or with your partner or a friend, might help prepare you to handle what’s ahead without getting irritated or angry.
Identify possible solutions
Step up to your problems, not away from them. Face the music and get ready to sing a different tune. It’s time to get real and tackle what’s really getting in your way!
Use humor to release tension
Know when to be funny. Laughter rejuvenates your body and feeds positive thoughts. You can feel better and reconnect with others. Lighten a tense situation by telling a joke, or use humor to help you change your perspective on what’s making you angry.
Practice relaxation skills
When your temper flares, the most important thing you can do is pause, take a relaxing breath and use a relaxation skill to calm your emotions. Think of something relaxing you can picture or imagine, such as a walk on the beach. You may also want to use another relaxation technique like repeating a calming word or phrase. Using several different tactics can help lower anxiety while keeping you in control.
Know when to seek help
Everyone gets angry at times, but if your anger seems to be out of control or is causing you problems in your work or relationships, ask a mental health professional for advice. Treating anger early may help prevent the need for more serious treatments and interventions later.
Anger is a normal, healthy emotion that conveys a message about a challenging situation. But when you react to anger with aggression, your message gets sidetracked. That’s because communicating anger in an aggressive way can trigger the same reactions in others that you want to avoid (such as guilt, shame, and withdrawal).
Understanding anger helps you recognize it, understand its source, and respond to it appropriately. Once you understand your anger, you’ll be able to create an action plan for dealing with it in more useful ways.