Last month’s edition of Great Health GuideTM, we identified the answers to the following questions:
1. What is anger?
2. Why do we become angry?
3. How do we express anger?
4. The difference ways that men and women manage anger.
5. When anger becomes a problem.
It is important to try and understand why you feel angry so that you can identify the root cause of the emotion, which can be both rational or irrational. This can help you to deal with it effectively. Dealing with it effectively increases positive communication and your ability to get along with others. This in turn can help you to function more appropriately and successfully.
We will now discuss how to manage anger and a few tips on how to reduce your angry reaction.
WHY DO WE NEED TO MANAGE ANGER? Anger is not a good solution to problems.
Unmanaged anger creates problems for you and for others around you. People with poor anger management are more likely to have problems with personal relationships, workplace relationships and social interaction. These people often become involved in verbal abuse and physical fights, with damage to themselves and to property.
Inwardly they can also experience anxiety, depression, low self-esteem, psychosomatic illnesses and problems with alcohol or drugs. It is important to manage anger before it leads to other serious problems.
Sitting on your anger and not expressing it may lead to the pressure cooker experience which often results in an explosion!
Expressing some feelings of anger in an appropriate way, rather than bottling it up, gives you an opportunity to release some of your underlying feelings, so that you can start to tackle the issues that are making you angry. Although some people believe that venting anger is beneficial, researchers have now found that this actually escalates anger and aggression and does nothing to resolve the situation.
Steps to help you manage your anger. A most essential requirement in being able to manage your anger, is to recognise the situations that make you angry and identify your body’s warning signs of anger. Here are three steps to commence with:
VENTING ANGER IS NOT BENEFICIAL, IT ACTUALLY ANGER ESCALATES & AGGRESSION.
1. List things that can trigger your anger:
If you know ahead of time what makes you angry, you may be able to avoid these things or do something different when they happen. This would involve you admitting that you do get angry and deciding to take control of your thoughts, feelings and actions.
2. Notice the warning signs of anger in your body:
Notice the things that happen to your body that tell you when you are getting angry, for example: heart pounding, face flushed, sweating, jaw tense, tightness in your chest or gritting your teeth. The earlier you can recognise these warning signs of anger, the more successful you will probably be at calming yourself down before your anger gets out of control.
3. Learn strategies for managing anger:
There are a number of different ways of managing anger and some strategies will suit you better than others. The first word to learn is STOP - you need to say that to yourself – in your head or out loud. Then deep breathing is a good way to calm yourself down - so think about 4 times five. That is, take a deep breath from the pit of your abdomen - in for five seconds, hold for five seconds, out for five seconds and do this five times. You will definitely feel calmer.
To recognise what triggers your anger and to put strategies in place to better manage your feelings of anger and frustration, are things you can do for yourself. They do not need specialised training or information, if you try. In the next issue of Great Health GuideTM, we will discuss further strategies for controlling anger: Control Your Thinking; Take time out; How to use a Distraction and Relaxation.