What is Anger?
Like all emotions, everyone experiences anger too. Anger is a completely normal and healthy reaction to certain situations in day-to-day life. Anger is usually expressed as a protective mechanism to fear, sadness and hurt conditions. But uncontrolled anger has serious consequences. A person with intense anger responds aggressively. Uncontrolled anger creates trouble in relationships, work, health, and many other aspects of life. The state of anger varies from mild irritation to intense rage and fury. Anger is accompanied by increased heart rate, high blood pressure, and increased levels of the hormones adrenaline and nor-adrenaline. So, when a person is angry, the impact is on both, the one who is experiencing anger and the one who is responsible for the situation. With the frequency and severity of anger, health deteriorates.
It is definitely important to express anger as unexpressed anger leads to other problems. But anger isn’t an emotion that has to be let out only in an aggressive manner. Venting anger in an assertive manner is the best way to manage unwanted consequences. One can communicate his/her emotions without being physically or verbally abusive.
Consequences of intense, uncontrollable anger
When we get angry, it becomes hard to think about the consequences and react. Issues with anger can lead to physical, mental and emotional disturbances.
Physical health: Anger elevates stress levels, makes a person susceptible to heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, insomnia, and weakens the immune system.
Mental health: Anger causes stress, depression, anxiety and other mental health problems.
Relationship: Explosive anger causes disturbances in a relationship. If anger isn’t controlled, situations turn unpleasant between friends, family and other close people.
Work Performance: With out-of-control anger, one can be alienated from colleagues, supervisors, or clients.
Do I Need Anger Management?
If a person finds the following qualities in them, it is a sign that they need anger management.
- Physically abusing others
- Verbally abusing others
- Breaking things
- Losing control
- Constantly ending relationships
- Creating trouble at work
- Harming own self
- Negative thinking
Types of Anger
Anger is majorly categorized into three types: Aggressive anger, Passive anger, and Assertive anger
Passive anger: In passive anger, the mode of communication is indirect. Passively angry people often tend to ignore the person who made them angry, avoid eye contact or convey their feelings sarcastically. It is not surprising even if they spread some rumours about that person. Isolating oneself from friends, procrastination and sulking can also be observed in passive anger. Though people with this type of anger appear calm outwards, they experience anxiety and turbulence.
Aggressive anger: Aggressive anger is an outburst of negative emotions. It is expressed directly through physical abuse or verbal abuse. Aggressively angry people tend to hit or shout at the person responsible for this reaction. This type of anger causes damage to relationships.
Assertive anger: Assertive anger is always a healthy way to exhibit anger. Assertively angry people tend to communicate the reason behind their emotion and try to resolve the anger-inducing situation with patience. In this type of anger, there is no scope for misunderstandings and disrespect, more importantly, there is no damage caused to their relationship. Controlled anger always develops and nurtures relationships.
Anger, however, is not restricted to the aforementioned types. There are many other forms that anger can take like judgmental anger, over-whelmed anger, retaliatory anger, self-abusive anger, volatile anger, and so on.
Natural Anger Management Tips
What can be done to control anger?
You don’t need to do anything complicated to manage your anger. Moreover, anger management is not about eliminating anger completely, it is about managing anger constructively.
Remember not to communicate when you are angry or upset. It is important that you first calm down. One can try the following relaxation techniques to calm down.
Do some physical activity – Physical activity like taking a walk or exercising helps in releasing stress and frustration.
Listen to music – Music regulates sadness and enhances positive emotions. It is one of the common ways to manage anger.
Take deep breaths – Slow and deep breathing is a key to counteract rising anger
Do something you enjoy – Doing something you like such as painting, swimming, reading a book, or playing some games helps you relax.
Talk about how you are feeling with a person you trust – Talking to someone you trust can give you some relief and help you handle the situation better.
Write down about how you are feeling and understand what is causing your anger – Sometimes writing down can help you understand things from a different perspective and react accordingly.
Anger is often a cover-up of other emotions like frustration, embarrassment, shame and hurt. It is very important to understand what evoked this emotion in you. If you work on first understanding the reason and dealing with it, it wouldn’t cause any damage to your relationships with family and friends and work performance.
Change your environment – Going away from the place of conflict helps you gain perspective of the situation, understand things clearly, and calm down.
Avoid arguments – Always try to avoid arguments. One should always prioritize the relationship over winning the argument. In the heat of arguing, you might end up hurting others.
Is counselling required?
Despite trying all the tips provided to control anger, if you are still fuming with anger, you need additional support. There are many programs, classes, and therapy for anger management. Do not feel shy to seek for help as identifying reasons for your anger and dealing with them is more important to maintain good relationships with people around. In anger management classes, you even come across other people trying to fight the same problem. You get to hear different stories, different perspectives and different techniques to deal with your emotion. It is advisable to consider a psychologist or mental health professional for counselling on how to handle it better. They can work with you closely and help you change your behavior and your way of thinking.
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Life is a mixture of all emotions. Excessive anger can only make a person unhappy. Anger cannot be eliminated, but can be controlled and used constructively. One who can win over his/her angry responses will always lead a happy life. A person can resolve the conflict only if he/she is willing to forgive the other person. Remember, forgiveness is next to godliness.