Anger is an emotional state that varies in intensity from mild irritation to intense fury or rage. It is accompanied by physiological and biological changes, like increased heart rate and blood pressure, as well as hormonal changes. Anger management is learning all about anger and how to process one’s angry feelings in a way that doesn’t harm or inflict pain onto others.
Anger is a natural response that all people have. It is generally caused by two basic things:
- Frustration. Not getting what we want, especially if we were expecting to get it;
- Feeling that others do not respect us or care how we feel.
There is nothing wrong with being angry or expressing anger as an emotion, since it is a normal and natural part of the human experience. Where people often run into problems with anger is the inappropriate expression or display of anger. For example, threatening another person because you are angry is not a healthy response to your own feelings.
Psychotherapy and self-help books and articles all can help a person learn more about anger, and how to find ways to channel it better ways of expressing it. Like any change to one’s emotions or behaviors, this is a process — it takes time, practice, and energy, as well as a commitment to change. It won’t happen overnight, but with effort, a person can change their anger response and learn better anger management skills.
Physical Symptoms of Anger
These are a few of the common physical symptoms of anger experienced by most people at one time or another in their lives:
- Tension or stress begins to build (easily frustrated, clenched posture)
- Breathing rate increases
- Blood pressure rises (flushed face or neck, veins standing out)
Some Tips for Managing Anger
Anger management is a skill you can learn, but it takes the willingness to change your behaviors, and a lot of practice. While some people can make these changes on their own, others find that going to see a psychotherapist to help work on these skills can be immensely beneficial and help.
- Find out what angers you, and then develop strategies to keep those triggers from tipping you over the edge.
- Relax and take deep breaths
- Slowly repeat calming words
- Visualize relaxing experiences or places
- Perform slow exercises to calm down (e.g., yoga)
- Re-examine the thing that is making you angry, perhaps looking at things from a different perspective
- Don’t take other people’s words personally
- Listen carefully to what others have to say and take time to think before responding emotionally
- Change your environment
- Use humor
- Learn to be more assertive to express your needs beforehand
- Learn better communication skills
Anger management is a great way to keep your anger under control, in check, and stop yourself from unintentionally hurting others in your life. It’s a great skill to learn if anger is a problem for you.