It is next to impossible to live our daily lives without feeling some anger. It could be the frustration of realising you’ve left the umbrella at home and it’s about to pour or the annoyance of arriving home to realise your housemate or partner has left the bin open all day again and the kitchen smells like a garbage truck! Anger is a regular emotion like any other and, expressed in a healthy way, helps us. However, when it is raw and untamed it can be the most destructive of all our emotions. Identifying that you have an ongoing issue with anger that keeps occurring is the first step of dealing with the anger. It is important to recognize also that anger is a very normal emotion to have, it is just how you deal with it through anger management.
Understanding anger is analyzing anger strategies to help deal with your emotions around anger, through different coping techniques, or reaching out for help. Dealing with anger can be difficult as it can be brought on by daily stress, financial challenges, violence or abuse in the home environment or in the workplace. Anger can be seen as an umbrella as anger can make you feel a lot of emotions such as fear, shame, sadness and embarrassment. Triggers in daily life events can bring on anger that you may be unaware of. During counselling and psychotherapy sessions your therapist can help you identify when and why you may be triggered emotionally and how to manage angry reactions when they are disproportionate or out of context.
Internal vs External sources of anger:
Internal and external anger can be brought on by day-to-day life events. Internally we may be irritated by minor things as we may feel stressed, overwhelmed, financially stressed etc. Externally anger can be triggered by general life events, the behaviour of others, and the dynamics of working life. Whilst for many these angers are expressed in an effective manner, many others struggle to balance their emotions. It can be insightful when processing these emotions to pause and reflect on whether our anger is internally or externally generated, or perhaps a mixture of both.
Strategies to deal with anger can be implemented for both internal and external anger. Internally, if feeling overwhelmed take deep breaths, if stressed look into doing exercise that can help relieve tension and focus the mind on an event. Dealing with anger externally is to refrain from lashing out and to avoid situations such as locations, or certain people, that you know is not going to benefit your anger outbursts.
One way of learning how to control our anger is by working on our communication style. Adopting an assertive approach when speaking with others is a healthy way of communicating. This style of communicating allows us to speak our mind directly, truthfully and respectfully. Assertive people can articulate their thoughts calmly and clearly. This approach is neither aggressive nor passive. Assertive communication allows us to deal with conflict constructively when it occurs. To be assertive we use a clear, firm and calm voice. We maintain eye contact, while keeping an open posture and we respect the other person’s personal space.
People who are easily angered tend to move into a heightened state of anger quite quickly. This often comes from the fact that they tend to jump to conclusions about situations before they have time to consider all the facts. When our anger goes from 0 to 100 in a short space of time we often do or say things that we may later regret.
It sometimes feels like the most natural thing to become defensive when we are criticised. Learning not to bite back immediately can be hugely helpful. Consider the alternative perspective. It must be one of the most frustrating occurrences in anyone’s workday, when they feel they are not being heard. It feels disrespectful and demotivating. When people are critical or unhappy it is important not to fight back with a justification or a redirection of blame. First, simply listen.
Dealing with anger in the moment:
When you notice your temper rising, it is key to change your instinctual response and slow down. Take some calming breaths, in through the nose and out through your mouth. Consider your reaction carefully. Allow your mind to catch up with your body and listen with full attention to what the other person says. It may even be wise to take some time away from them to consider your response. Counting to ten to help calm the mind and revert the mind to a different place. This can help you see things in a clear manner and refrain you from lashing out. Taking the step back and coming back to realisation is key when dealing with anger.
Long-term strategies for dealing with anger:
Attending some psychotherapy sessions can be a powerful and productive way of helping us to change our communication style. It can also help us learn other strategies for controlling our anger issues. Therapy is an impartial and confidential space where we can estimate and explore the impact of our anger in our relationships, the workplace, and the wider world. It is a place where we can come to understand how our anger has evolved, whilst learning how to deal with its disruptive force in the here and now. Long term strategies for coping with anger could be to take up a new hobby that happens weekly. It will help your mind focus on the task ahead and maybe be beneficial for your communication skills if it is a team activity. This will also burn off energy, tension and stress. Recognising your triggers is a long-term strategy as you can help yourself cope better and look back on strategies given in therapy. Take a step back when feeling triggered to allow yourself to process the emotions. Excepting your anger is also a step forward in your journey as it shows you are understanding your emotions at hand.
The benefits of therapy in addressing anger issues:
There are many benefits of therapy for coping with anger. Anger management therapy can help reduce how often you feel put out by your anger within. Calming techniques will be implemented to help you stay in touch with your emotions and to keep you level-headed.
Anger can have an impact on not only your mental health but physical health. It can increase blood pressure, bring on headaches and can cause irregular sleeping patterns. With the coping techniques given they will decrease anger to help you have a healthier lifestyle. Therapy can help you rekindle connections with loved ones that may have been affected through your anger in the past, helping you to be a better person.
Overall, dealing with anger can be majorly impactful on someone’s life when not dealt with properly. Identifying the sign and reaching out can be a huge step in your anger management journey. Giving counselling a chance can help you explore your emotions and learning how to control them in day-to-day life can be very impactful. Speaking out may help you see things in different ways that you may have never thought of before. So why not give it a go?
If you are interested in reading more why not check out this article based on anger?