At a glance:
- Anger is an outlet to express negative emotions, but when does it become harmful?
- Identifying if you have anger problems is crucial to being able to manage anger issues
- Anger management is a way for one to reduce or control their anger
Overview: What is anger and what constitutes anger problems?
Anger can be defined as feelings of hostility or opposition directed towards a person or a thing. Anger is a very normal, human emotion that we experience and it gives us a healthy outlet to express negative feelings and find solutions to solve them.
However, anger becomes a problem when it starts to disrupt the well-being of you and those around you.
What are the causes of anger problems?
There are several reasons that one may face an anger issue, but some causes include:
- Substance abuse/ withdrawal
Types of anger:
Anger can be manifested through inwards, outwards or passive means. These can include:
Behavioural: Physical and aggressive behaviours
Chronic: On-going resentment, frustration and hostility towards others, situations and experiences.
Passive aggressive: This type of anger tends to make an individual resentful but avoidant of any sort of dispute or discussion.
Self-abusive: This is an extremely dangerous type of anger because it can cause someone to internalize feelings of humiliation, shame, unworthiness and others and cope using harmful methods like unsafe driving, excessive abuse of substances, unsafe sex and self-harm.
Verbal: This can manifest itself in the form of verbal abuse that shames, judges, sabotages and overall harms the people around them
Symptoms of anger issues can be physical and psycho-emotional. These include (but are not limited to):
- Increased heart rate
- Muscle tension (clenched fist, jaw)
- Increased blood pressure (can lead to several heart problems)
- Withdrawal from people, daily activities
So, what to do if you think you, or someone you know, suffer from anger problems? You have to firstly identify if you have a problem.
Some questions that can help you to identify this for yourself are:
- Do you feel an out of control sense of anger more often than not?
- Is this feeling of anger affecting the relationships around you?
- Have you been partaking in risky or self-abusive behaviour that is dangerous to your well-being and those around you?
- Do you often feel regret/guilt/ shame after an anger outburst?
- Have you become verbally or physically abusive to those around you?
If you identify with these, then you could have an anger problem and anger management could be a way for you to deal with them.
Anger Management Techniques:
- Understand what is causing you to become angry. Is it something within your control? Is it out of your control? Understanding why you are getting angry is a good first step to controlling it.
- Countdown from 10. This is a very simple but effective way to control anger because it curbs you from saying something that could be hurtful or abusive.
- Leave the situation and take a walk and listen to some music. Withdrawing from the situation and focusing on something else will give you the space to breathe and not say or do something you could regret.
- Take your negative emotions and choose a different outlet to express them through. This could be by journaling, meditating, exercising, going to therapy or simply talking to a friend about what you are going through.
- Ask friends and family to hold you accountable when they feel like your temper is rising. Putting this accountability will help you acknowledge and be in the know when you are getting angry.
- Practice different responses to your anger. Play out scenarios that are causing you to become angry and then practice different and various responses
If these self-help techniques to manage your anger do not work, look into seeking professional help to help you control your anger.