Anger is a normal emotion to feel, just as it is normal to feel happy or sad. However when anger is not expressed in a healthy and positive manner it can become out of control and lead to all kinds of problems not only for ourselves but also in family and personal relationships. When anger is expressed in a negative way it can come out as being very aggressive, by becoming violent and in threatening others. This is anger which is out of control which can quickly lead to all kinds of trouble for yourself and a breakdown in relationships. Anger can have a disruptive effect on our thoughts and behaviour. It interferes with our ability to think and act clearly and can lead us to act impulsively without thinking first. Anger is sometimes used as a defence barrier when we feel hurt or embarrassed.
When anger is suppressed or turned inwards this can also lead to problems resulting in ways of suppressing the anger such as eating disorders, self harm, drugs and alcohol addictions. People who find it difficult to talk about how they feel and perhaps trauma which they have experienced in the past often turn the anger inwards. This is also expressing anger in a negative and unhealthy way.
If you feel angry you have every right to express that and a healthy way of expressing anger is to be assertive (not aggressive).
Every person has the right to:
- Express his/her feelings.
- To be treated with respect, and as an equal human being.
- To state his/her own needs and wants.
- To say yes or no for his/herself.
- To make mistakes.
- To change his/her mind.
- To say when he/she does not understand.
- To ask for what he/she wants.
- To decline responsibility for other people's problems.
- To deal with others without being dependent on them for approval.
- To say no without feeling guilty.
Sometimes when a person is angry it is easy to take that anger out in a negative way on those who are closest to us. If you feel your anger is about to get out of control:
Take some Deep Breaths
Count to Ten
Think of more healthy ways of expressing that anger ; take a cushion or pillow and pummel that, go for a walk or a run, do some exercise, use some relaxation techniques, meditation etc.
When you have calmed down you will be in a position to express your anger in a more positive assertive way. Your anger will not be out of control. You will also find that when anger is expressed clearly, calmly and concisely you are more likely to be listened to than if you are expressing it in a negative way by shouting, being aggressive and violent.
If you are turning your anger inwards, harming yourself and burying painful feelings, it really can help to talk and share those feelings with someone.
How to recognise when anger becomes a problem
When it is too frequent
When minor and routine everyday situations where anger is not necessary, appropriate or useful, do make you angry then it is an indication that you need to reduce your anger and work on managing your anger in a positive,constructive way.
When it is too intense.
A small or moderate amount of anger can be channelled constructively, whereas high intensity anger will make you lose your temper, to say and do things that you might regret later.
When it lasts too long
When your feeling of anger is prolonged, when you can't let it go and it is effecting and upsetting your everyday life and actions and thoughts.
When it leads to aggression
When it gets so intense it drives you to be aggressive. During this time you may act on impulse without thinking of the consequences. Verbal aggression and physical aggression are not the right ways to deal with conflict and only hurt other people, and in the long run - yourself.
Some self statements to help with anger management
What to do when you feel provoked and start to feel yourself getting upset and angry.
I can work out a plan to handle this.
This is a testing situation but I believe in myself and my ability to handle it.
I can manage the situation, I know how to deal with my anger.
If I find myself getting upset I'll know what to do.
I must take a few deep breaths and relax.
How do i confront the situation?
Stay calm. Just continue to relax.
You don't need to prove yourself.
It's really a shame that he/she has to act like this.
There's no need to doubt myself, it doesn't matter.
I'm on top of this situation and it's under control.
How do i cope with this situation?
Getting upset won't help.
I have a right to be annoyed. But let's keep the situation under control.
My anger is a sign of what I need to do. Time to talk to myself.
Try and reason it out.
I can't always expect people to act the way I want them to.
I must state how I feel in an assertive manner and not be aggressive.
There is no point in wasting energy arguing - I may just have to agree to disagree with him/her.
When the conflict is resolved.
I handled that one really well - it worked.
That wasn't as hard as I thought.
I actually got through that situation without getting really angry.
I didn't lose my temper or get aggressive.
I've been getting upset for too long when it wasn't necessary.
I'm getting better at handling these situations.
It could have been a lot worse.
When the conflict is unresolved.
Forget about the aggravation - thinking about it only makes me upset.
I need to work on how to deal with these situations.
I'll get a lot better the more situations like this I have to deal with.
I must remember not to take things personally.
I must remember to relax more and take some deep breadths.
Sometimes people have a lot of anger inside them as a result of things which have happened to them in their past - abuse, broken relationships, bereavements, etc. and maybe a feeling that life has treated them badly and unfairly. It is quite natural to have a lot of anger in these circumstances. Yes, sometimes life is unfair, unjust, sometimes things have not worked out the way we would have liked, sometimes we may have been really hurt by others. However, holding onto that anger will only damage your life in the present and the future and is probably making you a very unhappy and bitter person.
You cannot change the past, and you have one life to make the most of - it is incredibly sad if you are living that life in bitterness, sadness, resentment for something you can do nothing about now as the past is gone and you cannot get that time back. You can do something about trying to create a happier life now but that can only be achieved by letting go of the past, the hurt, the pain and the anger associated with it. If you have trouble in doing that then maybe think about talking to someone you trust about the feelings you have inside you - sometimes feelings need to be expressed and felt before you can let go of them.
You may be angry because of things which happened in the past over which you had no control. Now you can take that control back - you can choose to stay angry at the world and be unhappy and allow it to destroy you or you can choose to let go of that anger, to heal, to start life again without theanger andthere are people around who will help you to do that - so give people a chance to help if you need it. Counselling can often help people to resolve past issues and help them to move forward with their lives - to make the best of life they can or get emotional support and help from a friend or a Helpline. Life is too short to waste!
Some organisations which may be useful to you
AVP Britain (Alternatives to Violence Project)
Run workshops throughout the country for anyone who has niggly little resentments that become grudges, anyone who gets upset at being ignored, anyone who has difficulty with anger, anyone who is a bully or is bullied, in fact, anyone who wants an alternative to violence.
How to manage anger from Help for Heroes
informtion on anger management
NHS advice relating to anger management
www.thecalmzone.net/talk/issues/anger - information and resources on managing your anger
www.wikihow.com- Put Anger in search at top of page for lots of useful tips about managing anger
Information from Young Minds on young people coping with anger
Information for parents on supporting your child with anger issues
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