We all have lots of emotions and we all have different ways of expressing our emotions – it’s what makes us all unique and interesting. It would be very dull if everyone reacted to situations in exactly the same way like a whole bunch of robots.
What happens when we get angry?
But although it is absolutely alright – and even important - to be angry at times and in certain situations, this anger must be released in a correct and healthy way. We need to let off steam because if the steam does not escape, we might blow our top! When we get angry, our heart rate and blood pressure go up as do our levels of energy hormones and adrenaline. Anger is a mixture of both emotional and physical changes. A big surge of energy goes through your body as chemicals, such as adrenaline, are released. The problem can be that this excess of energy needs to go somewhere – sometimes with disastrous results in the form of violent aggression.
A certain amount of anger is necessary for our survival and we certainly don’t want to be downtrodden and used as a doormat by everyone around us. Anger is a natural and adaptive response to threats, inspiring powerful and sometimes aggressive feelings and behavior so that we fight and defend ourselves if we are attacked.
But we cannot physically lash out every time something irritates or annoys us – we have to exercise a degree of control. We have to be respectful of ourselves and others.
Two big problems when anger gets out of hand
we can hold in this anger, bottle it up and turn the anger on to ourselves so that it may lead to high blood pressure, hypertension or depression. We can hold a grudge against someone, become ultra critical of others or make cynical comments constantly so that we become a very unpleasant person. We may withdraw socially, sulk or get physically ill.
we may let out the anger but become so aggressive and even violent that we become a danger to both others and ourselves. Others let out their anger in such small doses that they are constantly irritable and grumpy.
Obviously if we have a great amount of anger, we need to keep this at bay and learn to manage it before it becomes so stressful that it affects every aspect of our health. There are many conditions that would improve or not even develop in the first place if we could manage this anger - conditions such as headaches
and even shingles - while keeping our immune system strong is also important and relevant.
We can manage our anger
Everyone gets angry but not everyone loses it. The hard part is learning what to do with these strong feelings of anger.
- Learn to relax – read up on the different methods such as deep breathing and relaxing imagery. Yoga would be helpful too. If you have a partner who is also hot tempered and you both vent anger on one another, suggest that you both learn a relaxing skill. Then use this skill every time anger starts to bubble up.
- Change the way you think by reminding yourself constantly that getting angry is not going to fix anything. Give yourself a mantra to repeat every time a situation arises which makes you angry. In time more normal reactions such as frustration, disappointment and hurt will replace the anger.
- Problem solving – our anger may be the result of all the problems in our lives. We need to get to the bottom of these problems and resolve them. If you can face a problem head on, you will be less likely to lose patience even if the problem does not get solved right away.
- Learn to communicate better with others. In a heated situation, we often say the first thing that comes into our head but rather slow down, think carefully before you speak or shout and at the same time, listen carefully to what the other person is saying and take your time. Practice keeping calm no matter what the other person says. This keeps the situation from becoming a disastrous one and you will be proud of your self control.
- Seeing the funny side of situations can help but don’t stoop to harsh, sarcastic humor as this is just another form of anger. Anger is a serious emotion but if you can try and see a funny side to what is happening and even laugh, this could help.
- Personal time. The cause of anger could be that you never have any time to yourself, perhaps because of work load or family demands. It is essential in order to function that you have some time to call your own, to give you time to de-stress and do something enjoyable.
- Counselling. if the steps listed above fail and you feel the anger needs expert help, then seek counseling. A psychologist or other mental health professional can work with you in developing a range of techniques for changing your thinking and your behavior. It is not going to be resolved in just a session or two. A very angry person may take 8 to 10 weeks of therapy.
- Conflict management courses are available though be careful to avoid assertive training courses or books as these are aimed for people who are the very opposite of angry!