Anger is temporary madness...
Road rage, bullying, muggings, hatred and aggression...in many ways, we grow up with anger right from the beginning of life. Anger management deals with the management of one’s anger so that the least possible damage is felt to self, others and the environment. This involves understanding one’s anger patterns and dealing with them effectively. One who can manage his own anger effectively can possibly manage the anger of others as well.
Why should I be aware of this?
Looked at positively, anger is a natural human emotion and is nature's way of empowering us to "ward off" our perception of an attack or threat to our well being. Anger becomes a problem only when it is `mismanaged'. Mismanaged anger and rage is the major cause of conflict in our personal and professional relationships. Domestic abuse, road rage, workplace violence, divorce, and addiction are just a few examples of what happens when anger is mismanaged.
Anger and health
Anger is "an emotional state that varies in intensity from mild irritation to intense fury and rage," according to Charles Spielberger, PhD, a psychologist who specializes in the study of anger. Like other emotions, it is accompanied by physiological and biological changes; when you get angry, your heart rate and blood pressure go up, as do the levels of your energy hormones, adrenaline, and noradrenaline.
All about anger management
The instinctive expression of anger is usually aggression. While this was a powerful defence mechanism when Fight or Flight were necessary for survival, in modern times, we can't physically lash out at every person or object that irritates or annoys us.
There are three ways in which people express their anger --
- Expressing your angry feelings in an assertive—not aggressive—manner is the healthiest way to express anger. To do this, you have to learn how to make clear what your needs are, and how to get them met, without hurting others. Being assertive doesn't mean being pushy or demanding; it means being respectful of yourself and others.
- Supressing your anger happens when you hold in your anger, stop thinking about it, and focus on something positive. However, this runs the danger of your anger turning inward — on yourself. Anger turned inward may cause hypertension, high blood pressure, or depression.
Unexpressed anger can create psychological problems as well, such as passive-aggressive behavior (getting back at people indirectly, without telling them why, rather than confronting them head-on) or a personality that seems perpetually cynical and hostile. People who are constantly putting others down, criticizing everything, and making cynical comments haven't learned how to constructively express their anger. Not surprisingly, they aren't likely to have many successful relationships.
Three basic stages
Anger management can be divided into three stages –
Managing Anger Before it Erupts -- This involves understanding the root cause of anger and its patterns. Also, people who start practicing meditation and relaxation techniques find that they do not get as angry as they did before.
Managing Anger When You Are Angry -- This is the most difficult stage to manage because you are the person who is angry and you are the person who is to manage yourself. Here are some tips to deal with this --
- Withdraw as soon as you begin to feel angry.
- Walk around to expend some of that energy.
- Breath deeply. Inhale deeply and hold for a second or two. Then exhale deeply. Repeat a few times.
- The most important thing is to acknowledge to yourself that you are angry.
- Try diverting your attention somehow.
- Postpone the expression of anger.
- Being in the company of children or pets is known to pacify some people, try it.
- Look at the funny side of things, if you can.
Managing Anger After it Has Abated
After an angry episode, all one can really do is understand what the root cause of the anger really was. Did it stem from fear, unmet expectations, frustration or something else? Having done so, repair any damage you might have wrecked. Apologise if necessary. Practice meditation or calming exercises to prevent anger from taking hold of you again.
What can I do?
Simple relaxation tools, such as deep breathing and relaxing imagery, can help calm down angry feelings. Try slow yoga-like exercises which can relax your muscles and make you feel much calmer.
- Cognitive restructuring
Whenever you are too agitated try to bring in more rational thoughts. Be careful with the use of words. Remind yourself that getting angry is not going to fix anything, that it won't make you feel better.
- Better communication
Angry people tend to jump to conclusions and act on them. Some of those conclusions can be very inaccurate. The first thing to do if you're in a heated discussion is slow down and think carefully about what you want to say. At the same time, listen carefully to what the other person is saying and take your time before answering.
- Using humor
"Silly humor" can help defuse rage in a number of ways and help you get a more balanced perspective.
- Changing your environment
Sometimes our immediate surroundings give us cause for irritation and fury. Problems and responsibilities can weigh on you and make you feel angry at the "trap" you seem to have fallen into and all the people and things that form that trap. Give yourself a break.
- One out of five Americans has an anger management problem.
- Stages of Anger Management
- Control Anger