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Anger is a natural emotion; almost all of us at sometime in our lives have gotten angry. Sometime we can control and manage our anger, other times our anger takes control of us.
The natural and instinctive way to express anger is to respond in a verbal or physically aggressive manner. Since, anger is a natural response to threats and it brings about aggressive behaviours and feelings, not knowing how to control it appropriately can be damaging to your mental health and relationships.
This is why it’s important to learn anger management techniques to ensure your anger doesn’t end up hampering your life. Anger and frustration are natural emotions, but you need to understand how to deal with them healthily and positively. Let’s jump into how we can control and manage our anger better and respond in a better way to stressors that tend to cause such emotions.
What is anger management?
Anger management is a set of strategies and techniques that help you recognize the situation that triggers your rage and calm yourself down. Seeking an anger management professional or psychiatrist can help anger issues, especially if you are prone to violent outbursts that you find difficult to control.
Why would you need anger management?
Anger management helps you identify your triggers and gives you ways to resolve and control it better.
Some of the major signs that you need anger management are:
- Feeling that you have to contain your anger, regularly
- Thinking negative thoughts or focusing on negative experiences, constantly
- Feeling impatient, irritated, and hostile
- Frequently arguing with your loved ones and escalation
- Physical violence
- Threatening violence against people
- Frightening behavior
- Avoiding social behavior because of depression and anxiety, along with potential anger outbursts
What can you expect at an anger management class?
Classes or counseling:
Anger management counseling or classes are either done one on one or in a group setting. The ambiance, length, and the number of sessions can be different and they depend on the counselor/your needs. The courses for anger management can last between weeks or even months depending on the severity of the issues.
Identifying the cycle of anger:
Once you start working on anger management, you will have to start identifying the triggers; you will also have to notice the emotional and physical signs that take place when you feel angry. Recognizing these signs and managing them is quite important, especially if you want to control your anger.
Stressors- Elements that commonly trigger your anger, or make your frustration episodes worse than normal. Some of the main triggers include frustration with the significant other or child, financial stress, traffic issues, along with problems with a coworker.
Physical signs- When your anger begins to escalate, some of the physical signs include sleeping poorly, clenching the jaw, and a racing pulse.
Emotional signs- when your anger is rising, you will feel like yelling at someone and that you’re holding in the things you won't say.
Do you need anger management counselling?.
- Do you believe that you experience anger in much greater magnitude than others?
- Do you experience a change in your bodily sensation when you get angry?
- Do you think you loose patience quite quickly than others?
- Do you use sarcasm, criticism and/or insults when you talk to others?
- Is it hard for you to understand other person’s perspective?
- Do you often yell or raise your voice during an argument or debate?
- Do you break or damage objects when you get angry?
- Do you quite often engage in an act of violence?
- Do you still get upset about something that happened in the past?
- Do you often engage in heated arguments with your loved ones?
- Do you get angry with yourself when you lose control over your emotions?
- Do you find it hard to forgive someone who has done you wrong?
- Has your job been effected because of your anger?
When you get angry or frustrated, do you comfort yourself with drugs or alcohol?
- Do you regret your behavior post an angry outburst?
If you seem to have scored maximum ‘yes’ to most of these questions, then your anger problems may be hampering your life. It’s time to seek treatment before it causes permanent damage to your life and relationships.
Managing your anger: Tips and tricks
Think before you speak
Saying or doing things in the heat of the moment can cause you to regret you words in the future. Hence in times of anger, it is best to collect your thoughts, before speaking. If you find it hard to communicate in anger, it may be better to pen down your thoughts and send them an email or a message instead. The act of writing them down will force you to reflect on your thoughts rationally and introspect about your emotions.
Find healthier ways to express anger
Once you are able to think clearly, express your anger in tactful and assertive ways that do not come across and confrontational. Be clear and direct about what hurt you, without losing control over your emotions.
Physical activities like running tremendously help reduce the stress that has come about because of being angry. Whenever you feel your anger escalating, excuse yourself from that situation and go for a run or brisk walk. While doing so imagine your anger leaving your system.
Take time off
Taking some time away from those stressful situations that can cause anger can help you lead a stress free life. Moments of quiet time and solidarity can help you deal with your anger better.
Focus on the solution
Try resolving your issues at hand instead of focusing on what made you angry. Remember anger won’t fix situations; it just ends up making things worse. Focus on the steps you can take to prevent such a situation from recurring.
Don’t hold grudges
Forgiving can be quite cathartic. Anger will only build up negative feelings that would only cause bitterness within you. Forgiving someone can only help you move forward and prevent dwelling in the negativity.
Diffuse the tension to lighten up the situation. Humor can help you face reason behind your anger and provide you with positive resolution. Refrain from using sarcasm, it could hurt feelings and possibly make the situation worse.
Strategies to manage your anger
If a certain trigger causes you to develop angry feelings at a time, you can try out simple relaxation techniques like deep breathing and relaxing imagery. To help you learn relaxation techniques, there are several books and courses as well. Once you learn these techniques, you can apply them in any situation to calm yourself down quite quickly. Here’s a basic step-by-step technique that you can try to relax.
- Focus on your breathing. Try to take deep breaths from your diaphragm, instead of just from your chest.
- Have your calm word or phrase. It could be anything that makes sense to you or a simple word like ‘relax’. Slowly repeat it to yourself while taking deep breaths.
- Imagery techniques are quite useful as well. Also, try to visualize a relaxing experience, such as a place that you had always wanted to go, a vacation that you enjoyed, etc. Notice what you sense and how your body feels when you are visualizing your calming scene.
- You can also try out some non strenuous and yoga-like exercises to release the tension from your muscles and ease you out.
These techniques can be helpful whenever you face a tense situation. By practising them regularly, you will eventually learn to use them automatically to feel calmer.
When you are angry, you may curse, swear and think in a way that’s overly dramatic and exaggerated. By cognitive restructuring, you can replace these thoughts with more rational ones. For example, if something enrages you, instead of thinking ‘everything is spoiled’ or ‘everything is awful’, reassure yourself that what’s happening is frustrating, but that’s not the end of the world and getting angry is not going to resolve it. You may feel that your anger is justified, but that’s not the point. The point is to make you calm.
A rational approach to problems
Problems are inevitable, and sometimes, these could be the reason for the anger and frustration in our lives. Besides, getting angry is a natural and healthy response to the inescapable difficulties and obstacles that certain events in life present.
What can add to the frustration is the popular belief that every problem has a solution. In reality, that’s not the case. At times, things are completely beyond our control, and the best way to deal with such a situation is to focus on how you can handle and face the problem rather than finding the solution. You can keep an action tracker and take anger disorders tests to check how you are making progress along the way of dealing with the problem. Try to give it your best shot, and also make sure that you are not being too hard on yourself when you don’t find an answer right away.
Take a break
Sometimes, the things that trigger you and become the cause for your irritation and fury are within your immediate environment. The problems and responsibilities surrounding your life can feel like you have fallen into a trap from where there’s no escaping. This can weigh you down and raise your anger on the people and situations that seem to form that trap.
How do you deal with that?
Take a break. Schedule personal time for yourself at times of the day that you know can be stressful. It could be a time when you come home after a long day at work. Give yourself a brief quiet time and then prepare yourself to interact with your family or do your chores.
Seek help now
If you think that your anger is beyond your control and the anger problems test supports the fact, you need to seek professional help to avoid further sabotaging your life and relationships. Cadabams’ panel of psychologists and licensed mental healthcare professionals can work with you closely to understand your unique individual needs and situation to come up with strategies and techniques to change your thinking and attitude towards your triggers.
Sometimes, medications such as antidepressants, anticonvulsants and low-dose antipsychotics may be prescribed to control the sudden episodes of rage or anger. People with anger management issues have to be extremely cautious and avoid alcohol, street drugs or short-acting benzodiazepines that could lead them to act impulsively. Cadabams can offer the perfect way to learn anger management and coping and assertiveness skills so that you can be happier in the long run.
Reach out for help with anger management issues on our 24X7 helpline +919741476476.
I have anger management issues. Can anger management tests help me identify that?
There are psychological anger management tests that can be used to measure the intensity of an individual’s angry feelings, how likely they are to be angered and whether they can handle it. Generally, people who have anger issues are already aware of that. If it is something that is getting out of control and making you act in ways that seems frightening, you have to seek professional help to identify better ways of handling your rage and emotions.
What are the dangers of suppressed anger?
If you are prone to having anger issues according to anger management issues tests, you have to get help and try to deal with your anger as soon as possible. Suppressing it can worsen it over time and lead to anxiety and depression. Moreover, it can also adversely affect your relationships and health, increasing your chances of developing illnesses.
Over the long term, anger can cause health problems like high blood pressure, headaches, skin disorders, heart problems and digestive issues. If such emotions are left unchecked, it may lead to abuse, crime and other violent behaviour over time. At times, individuals develop a pattern of anger emotions due to personality disorder, mood disorder, substance use problem or any other mental health issues.
Will I feel better if I let it all out?
Psychologists believe that this theory can be dangerous. Justifying the actions impulsively taken under rage can rather escalate the anger and aggression issues and help in no way to resolve the situation. Some people may even use this theory to justify their actions of hurting others. Hence, the best way to deal with this is to find out about your triggers through anger issues tests and work with mental healthcare professionals to develop strategies to manage those triggers.