Anger is a primary, natural, and mature emotion experienced by virtually all humans at times, and as something that has functional value for survival. It is an emotion related to one’s psychological interpretation of having been offended, wronged, or denied and a tendency to react through retaliation. It is a normal human emotion that can range from mild annoyance to intense rage, and when it is managed properly, it is not a problem.
Anger is like a pressure cooker. We can only apply pressure against our anger for a certain amount of time until it explodes. Mild anger can sometimes be useful to express strong feelings and deal with situations. However if anger is expressed in harmful ways, or persists over a long period of time, then it can lead to problems in relationships at home, and at work, and can affect the overall quality of your life.
Anger is often associated with frustration – things don’t always happen the way we want and people don’t always behave the way we think they should. Anger is usually linked with other negative emotions or is a response to them. Anger can also result from misunderstandings or poor communication between people, as a result of feelings of being hurt, frightened, worried, embarrassed or frustrated. Anger can have many physical and mental consequences, such as a rise in heart rate and blood pressure and a release of stress hormones, which can cause the individual to shake, become hot and sweaty and feel out of control.
Anger is a problem when it creates trouble for you with other people, your work, your health and your day to day living or the law. Signs that anger is a problem include:
- Anger involving verbal, emotional, physical or psychological abuse
- Feeling angry a lot of the time
- People close to you are worried about your anger
- Anger is leading to problems with personal relationships and work
- You think you have to get angry to get what you want
- Anger seems to be bigger than the event that set it off
- Anger lasts for a long time, and well after the triggering event that set it off
- Anger affects other situations not related to the original event
- You are becoming anxious or depressed about your anger
- You are using alcohol or other drugs to try and manage your anger
- You are getting angry with the people who are closest to you, or with people who are less powerful than you, rather than dealing with the situation that sparked off your anger in the first place
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- Identify the triggers and warning signs of anger
- List the things that can trigger your anger
- Notice the warning signs of anger in your body
- Learn strategies for managing your anger
- Control your thinking
- Take time out
- Use distraction
- Use relaxation
- Learn assertiveness skills
- Try to acknowledge what is making you angry
- Rehearsing anger management skills
You can start by :
- Understanding your anger
- Assessing whether your anger is a problem
- Working out how to get what you want
At these times, you may wish to seek help from someone you trust such as a close friend or family member, or professionally through your local GP, or through counseling. Applecross Psychological Services can assist you with this process.