Anger is a completely normal, usually healthy, human emotion and when it is managed properly it is not a problem. Everyone gets angry, and mild anger can sometimes be useful to deal with situations and express strong feelings. However, if anger persists over a long period of time or is expressed in harmful ways, then it can lead to problems in relationships at home, school or at work and can affect the overall quality of your life.
What is anger?
Anger is an emotion that can range from mild annoyance to intense rage. It is a feeling that is accompanied by biological changes in your body. When you get angry, your stress hormones are released, heart rate and blood pressure rise. This can cause you to feel out of control, shake, become hot and sweaty.
When people have angry feelings, they often behave in angry ways too. Angry behaviors include throwing things, criticizing, yelling, storming out, ignoring and sometimes withdrawing and doing nothing. Anger is often associated with frustration – people don’t always behave the way we think they should and things don’t always happen the way we want. Anger is usually linked with other negative emotions or is a response to them.
Anger becomes a problem when it creates trouble for you with other people, the law, your health, your work or day-to-day living. Anger is also a problem when other people around you are frightened, hurt, disagree or feel they cannot talk to you with you in case you become angry.
What is anger management?
Anger management is about understanding your anger and why it happens. It is about practicing or learning better ways of expressing anger and knowing how to prevent it from occurring in the first place.
Specifically, anger management is about early warning signs and knowing the triggers of anger, and learning techniques to manage the situation and calm down before it gets out of control.
To manage your anger, the first step is being able to recognize the situations that make you angry and identify your body’s warning signs of anger.
Your thinking can get irrational and exaggerated when you’re angry. Try replacing these irrational thoughts with more useful, rational ones and you should find that this has an effect on the way you feel.
If you feel your anger getting out of control, take time out from a situation or an argument. Try stepping out of the room, or going for a walk.
A useful strategy for managing anger is to distract your mind from the situation that is making you angry. Try counting to ten, talking to a good friend, playing soothing music, or focusing on a simple task like folding laundry or polishing the car.
Relaxation strategies can reduce the stress and feelings of tension in your body. Practice strategies such as focusing on your breathing and taking long deep breaths, or progressively working around your body and relaxing your muscles as you go.