Anger Management -Strategies
Anger Management Therapy
Anger management is a common therapy for those who have difficulty controlling their anger. When you are angry, besides having a strong emotional response there is also a physical response, which includes an increased heart rate and blood pressure, plus the adrenal glands secrete increased levels of adrenaline and cortisol.
Anger will trigger the “fight or flight” syndrome. Three emotions that trigger this response are fear, excitement and anxiety. The brain shunts blood towards the muscles in preparation for physical exertion, plus the mind is sharp and focused.
The feelings of anger may differ from person to person, particularly between women and men. Women report anger builds slowly through the body, while men report anger as a fire or flood raging within them.
Health Problems Due to Unmanaged Anger
If you are living with managed anger over a long period of time your body will begin to have some long-term health problems.
These problems include:
Physical Expressions of Anger
In a study of 13,000 people the individuals with the highest level of anger had twice the risk of coronary artery disease and three times the risk of a heart attack, compared to people with the lowest levels of anger. There are scientists that think anger is more dangerous than smoking or obesity as a factor that contributes to early death.
Facial expressions, body language, physiological responses and at times aggression are the external expressions of anger. When you look at an angry person you usually see eyes that are wide open, often they are pointing their finger at you, and their mouth is open because they're usually talking loudly or even yelling. Most psychologists consider anger as a natural and mature emotion experienced by virtually everyone, which has some functional value for survival. The problems start when someone has uncontrolled anger.
Inappropriate Expression of Anger
Some people do not know how to express their anger appropriately, so they have exploding rages, which may lead to violence or physical abuse. Some people who fly into rages have low self-esteem and use anger to manipulate and it lets them feel powerful.
Angry people often blow misunderstandings and minor grievances out of proportion. They often act out in relationships with loved ones or even at work, rather than working to resolve the problem. Therefore, angry people often alienate themselves from others, sometimes even their own families.
Other people feel anger is an inappropriate or a bad emotion, and they choose to suppress it. The problem here is the anger often turns into depression and anxiety. Sometimes their anger is used against innocent parties, such as pets or children.
Religion Perspective on Anger
Interestingly enough various religions each have something different to say about anger.
- In Catholicism anger is considered one of the seven deadly sins.
- Christians tend to think of anger as a sin, but in the Bible they are taught God is always a forgiving God.
- Hinduism equates anger with sorrow as a form of unrequited desire.
- In Buddhism anger is defined as" being unable to bear the object, or the intention to cause harm to the object." The Buddha himself stated "The angry person is ugly and sleeps poorly."
- In Islam, anger is attributed to profits, believers and for Muhammad’s enemies.
- In Judaism anger is a negative trait as in the book of Genesis, Jacob condemned the anger that had arisen in his sons Simon and Levi.
- Many religions attribute anger frequently to God or gods.
Methods of Reducing Anger
Counseling for long-term anger management is available in a group setting or with a therapist. If you are determined to change your reactions to frustrations and stop reacting with anger, there are a few other things you can do that might be helpful.
- Keep a diary of angry outbursts, which you can look at when you're calm and try to understand how and why you got so mad.
- Try some relaxation techniques, such as yoga or meditation.
- Exercise regularly as this will help release some of your tension.
- Seriously consider assertiveness training to learn techniques of conflict resolution.
- Admit when you are angry, as this is the first step in dealing with the anger constructively.
Numerous research studies have proven that exercise can improve your mood and reduce your stress levels. The reasons are twofold: exercise burns up stress chemicals plus it also boosts production of mood regulating newer neurotransmitters in the brain which include endorphins and catecholamines.
Teaching Children to Express Anger
Children always learn by the example set by their parents. Expressing anger appropriately is a learned behavior. If your child has difficulty controlling their strong feelings, there are few things you can do, such as:
- Lead by example.
- Teach your children that anger is natural and should be expressed in a healthy way.
- Always treat your children's feelings with respect.
- Work with your children to learn practical problem solving skills.
- Always encourage open and honest communication in the home.
- Allow your children to express anger in appropriate ways.
- Explaining the difference to your children between aggression and anger.
- If your children are not expressing anger appropriately, then there needs to be some punishment or consequence.
- It is important to teach your children ways to calm and soothe themselves.
Child Anger, Aggression and Defiance
If you determine that you have a problem with anger or if you're living with someone that has an anger problem it is important to get some help in order to stay healthy and have any type of healthy relationship.
Anger certainly inhibits the development and maintenance of any intimaterelationship, and divorce is often the end result. Extreme anger is particularly destructive when it occurs in front of your child. Many children that have difficulty dealing with anger; they often become bullies, which makes them feel like they are in control.
Seeking help is the wise thing to do to preserve relationships and to stay healthy on a physical level as well. Life is too short to spend it being angry!
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.