Anger is one of those emotions that is much misunderstood. There is nothing wrong with feeling angry as anger is one of the key driving forces behind change. How many times have you heard about a new law being passed due to the efforts of a group of people who felt anger over some kind of injustice? You may even be able to think about situations in your own life where change has come about because you felt angry and that anger motivated you to do or say something.
Anger is an energy force and like all personal emotions we have a choice as to whether we use it healthily and productively or healthily and destructively.
Anger is an emotion just like happiness and sadness.Some people fear feeling and suppress it while others use it all the time in the most inappropriate way.
It is not anger itself that causes the problem but rather how people act when they are angry. The following tips will help you get the best from anger in a way that respects yourself and others.
Research has demonstrated that there is a strong link between excessive anger and coronary heart disease. Anger is like any other emotion; it has a place and when used appropriately can produce a sense of energy and determination. Used inappropriately, it damages.
Where does our anger come from?
The emotion of anger is one that is biologically programmed into each one of us. Some people may be more biologically prone towards feeling anger than others – just look at how some babies seem placid while others cannot settle.
However, most of our attitude towards anger and the way we use it is gained through what is called ‘learnt behaviour’. For example, if your parents are quite calm and deal with conflict in a measured way, being slow to anger, it is likely you will learn to do the same thing. If, however, there is a lot of screaming and shouting over the most minor of incidents then this is what you are likely to think of as normal behaviour.
Sometimes parents tell their children to do a thing while their actions tell the child to act in the opposite way. The old saying that “actions speak louder than words” covers this one.
Your attitude towards anger is likely to be coloured by your personal experiences. You are more likely to think of anger as a dangerous emotion if you were exposed to violence and aggression when you were young. This type of reaction is a very common for children who are witnesses or victims of abuse. It is not just the fear of other people’s anger but also fear that they might not be able to control their own angry feelings that can cause people to bottle up their anger. There is also a group of people whose early exposure to anger has led them to believe that such violence is normal and this group will be the one that expresses anger in an inappropriate way.
Alcohol and other substances can also cause a problem as such substances, even in small amounts, can make it more difficult to maintain control.
Excessive anger can also be a symptom of another condition. People who are stressed or who suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder may become uncharacteristically irritable or aggressive. When this happens, it is important the person gets the right kind of psychological help such as counselling.
Next time: Challenge Your Angry Thinking Style
I hope you have found these strategies helpful – you might also be interested in my book: No More Anger: Be Your Own Anger Management Coach