Dealing with Anger

Anger affects people in different ways. Some people have a ‘short fuse’ and get angry easily. Others seem to get angry after a long time. The best way to resolve an argument is to negotiate with the other person.

Well-managed anger can be a useful emotion that motivates you to make positive changes. Anger is a powerful emotion, and if we do not handle appropriately it, it may have destructive results for you and those closest to you. Uncontrolled anger can lead to arguments, physical fights, physical abuse, assault, and self-harm.

The constant flood of stress chemicals and associated metabolic changes that go with ongoing unmanaged anger can eventually cause harm to many systems of the body. People who are stressed are more likely to experience anger.

Some of the short- and long-term health problems that have been linked to unmanaged anger include:

  • headache
  • digestion problems, such as abdominal pain
  • insomnia
  • increased anxiety
  • depression
  • high blood pressure
  • skin problems, such as eczema
  • heart attack
  • stroke.

Everyone has arguments for many reasons including:

  • you may have trouble understanding someone else’s thoughts on an issue
  • your values, goals, or needs may conflict with those of someone else
  • you may not understand what other people are trying to say or do.

Suggestions on how to express your anger in healthy ways include:

  • If you feel out of control, walk away from the situation temporarily, until you cool down.
  • Recognize and accept the emotion as normal and part of life.
  • Try to pinpoint the exact reasons you feel angry.
  • Consider coming up with different strategies for how to remedy the situation.
  • Do something physical, such as going for a run or playing sport.
  • Talk to someone you trust about how you are feeling.

When you have argued, it is easy to stay angry or upset with the other person. If you do not resolve an argument with a person, you see often, it can be a very uncomfortable experience.

There are good reasons for dealing with arguments, including:

  • It will give you a sense of achievement and make you feel more positive.
  • You may feel more relaxed, healthier, and more able to get a good night’s sleep.
  • You may develop stronger relationships.
  • You may feel happier.

If the same situation or person is making you angry a lot, think about talking to someone you trust. For example:

  • a counselor
  • a doctor
  • a social worker
  • a psychologist.

Expressing anger appropriately is a learned behavior. Suggestions on helping your child to deal with powerful feelings include:

  • Lead by example.
  • Let them know that anger is natural and should be expressed appropriately.
  • Treat your child’s feelings with respect.
  • Teach practical problem-solving skills.
  • Encourage open and honest communication in the home.
  • Allow them to express their anger inappropriate ways.
  • Explain the difference between aggression and anger.
  • Have consequences for aggression or violence, but not appropriately expressed anger.
  • Teach your child different ways of calming and soothing themselves.