‘Anger management’ means stifling explosive rage.
Breathe deeply. Count to 10. Go for a walk. Those tricks might have helped Adam Sandler’s protagonist in “Anger Management,” a man desperate to stifle his volcanic outbursts. The Mayo Clinic likewise offers “10 tips to tame your anger” that include exercising, taking a timeout and using humor.
But the “self-silencing” of anger has been studied for decades, and it is clearly implicated in depression, anxiety, eating disorders, self-harm and suicide. An inability to express anger also affects relationships, inhibiting, for example, intimacy. The best kind of “management” is the kind that channels feelings, rather than bottling them up. Among the best approaches, according to psychologists and researchers, is to write about what is making you angry and engage in constructive conversations with people who can address your concerns and help solve problems. Such methods are directly tied to better health outcomes. A 2008 study of the relationship between anger and chronic pain found that patients who expressed their anger constructively experienced “greater improvement in control over pain and depressed mood.” Studies suggest a strong association between improved emotional regulation and lower cardiovascular and cancer mortality rates.