- Mental Health
Importance of Anger and Stress Management
Anger Management - Is It Really Necessary
Anger management is not something that everyone is taught, but something that everyone needs to know how to do.
When I was growing up I lived in a family where I did not get on with my father. His idea of discipline was to lose his cool and lash out when he did. He would get to such a level of frustration that when I did something wrong, he would hit or smack me. Nowadays this is not considered to be Ok but when I was young, smacking and corporal punishment was the 'norm.'
But nevertheless, I would feel hurt because he would do this and as I grew up I grew more angry and developed an unhealthy 'hatred' for my father. I say unhealthy because the anger and hatred I felt, colored every aspect of my life. I was forever in reactionary mode and was overwhelmed by feelings most of the time. If that sounds like a stressful existence, I can assure you it was!
Being consumed with anger and hatred altered who I was and how I related to others and needless to say I was not a very attractive person and drained and repelled any friends I had as a young adult. It also affected how I related to my children as a young parent. I began to pass on my frustration to my children till I realized what I was doing.
One day I stopped mid-hit after a frustrating day with my eldest daughter and I saw myself repeating my father's behavior. I knew that I could not continue this way of living. I knew I needed help and I needed someone to teach me how to do things differently.
I signed up for an anger management course and learned for the first time in my life, that anger was okay, but it was what I did with that anger that was the issue. I also learned that anger is a secondary emotion and that it stemmed from a primary emotion such as pain, hurt, frustration, disappointment etc. This secondary emotion seemed to be a safer one to deal with, because it separated me from a more painful, powerless feeling, whereas anger tended to fill me with a sense of power.
Except... when anger gets a hold of me, it had all the power, not me... but at least I didn't have to feel the pain, right?
Wrong. Staying angry caused me more pain in the long run.
Even though feeling pain is not comfortable, at least as I worked through it, it diminished, and I actually learned something about myself and others.
If it was something that I felt hurt about that someone else had done, then facing it and forgiving them for it, immediately began to release the tension and helped resolve the issues.
Managing anger is critical to a healthy way of relating, and especially to your own mental health. The right way is to deal with it so that there is no build up. The wrong way is to stuff it down and say it doesn't matter, or equally as bad, stay mad and bide your time till you can make 'em pay and get even... the only thing is it never works out.
Stress Management - Where Does this Come In?
Anger and stress seem to go hand-in-hand. The more stress you are under, the greater the potential for anger and frustration.
And also the more issues you have with anger the greater the stress you live with, till something has got to give!
One way to deal with stress is to reduce the stress in your life. Say 'no' to things that are not important.
Perhaps this is a time to evaluate what is really important to you, and how everything you do has an affect on your future. What are your short-term and mid-term goals?
How do all the things you are currently doing and that are taking your time and energy, how are they helping you reach your goals? All the activities in your day, do they serve or hinder you?
Do you have time to unwind and relax, recharge your batteries and renew your vigor? Or do you stagger from one activity to the next, always running on reserve and a really short fuse?
Give yourself a break!
Give yourself time to work through issues so that you are not building up a backlog of frustration and anger. Do not overload yourself so that the stress of everyday life is a cause of that frustration, compounding your anger build-up.
Mama said, 'Don't let the sun set on your anger.' and she was right. Keep short accounts and settle an issue as soon as possible. Be quick to forgive and slow to anger. As much as possible be on good terms with everyone - including yourself.