Congratulations and thank you for downloading ….. Emotions are some of the most pressing issues we have to deal with in our daily lives. Anger is one of the most misunderstood emotion yet it present in almost all aspects of life. This emotion is very important yet if it is left unmanaged, a lot of damage may occur. Many people find themselves unable to acknowledge or even deal with this powerful emotion. Controlling anger can be a hard and complicated process especially if it has taken deep roots within us, and we are unable to use it constructively.
Downloading this book is the first step you can take towards managing your anger and becoming better in self-assessment and control. If you have decided to change and live a life free of unnecessary anger and inappropriate expression, this book is designed for you. The first step is always the easiest; however, which is why the information you find in the following chapters is very important to take to heart. The concepts you find herein can be put to action immediately or at a later date depending on your situation.
The causes of anger
To that end, this book will cover, the causes of anger, its signs and symptoms and ways to manage it. We have deliberately used the simplest language to explain why uncontrolled anger is unhealthy for you, ways of realizing anger without violence and ways of controlling this emotion. Further, we have defined the connection between grudges and anger, the consequences of holding grudges and ways of letting It go.
This book has also explained how you can identify and monitor your anger triggers, rate your rage and apply techniques to carb it. There is also an explanation of how you can be responsible for your emotions, especially anger, both long term and short term techniques for anger management.
There are plenty of books on this subject on the market, thanks again for choosing this one! Every effort was made to ensure it is full of as much useful information as possible. The language used herein is simple so that everyone can get the help he/she needs, please enjoy!
Chapter 1 – What Causes Anger?
Anger is a normal and healthy emotion but its power cannot be ignored. This emotion may stem from feelings of hurt, annoyance, frustration, or disappointment. Anger is a normal emotion ranging from mild irritation to destructive rage. Everyone has different anger triggers and what might spark one person may not bother the next person at all. Considering that anger is A NORMAL emotion, then we can agree that it has a healthy purpose in our lives. In most cases, it warns us when something is not right. However, anger becomes a problem if it is uncontrollable.
The main challenge with anger is that it seems to come when a person is completely unaware and because it erupts with such ferocity, its intensity can easily overshadow the causes. What most of us gather from being angry or staying with a person who has anger problems is the consequences and damage that it leaves behind. Typically, we cannot remember the cause of the anger in the first place. What is sad is that a person in need of anger management can experience these bouts of intense anger outbursts repeatedly. Such a person may or may not recognize the events that took place leading to anger. Some of the people suffering from anger issues may feel that they have the right to act out of emotions, therefore, will not feel any remorse for their actions or words. What is even worse for the angry people is that most of them never learn the causes of anger and ways to change behavior and act better thus the cycle will consistently repeat itself.
Primarily, the anger emotion evolved as a means of survival and protection helping people to get away from what is considered wrong. Mild anger may stem from feelings of tiredness, stress or irritability- In fact, we are likely to feel agitated when our basic needs are not met. We may also become angry when reacting to criticism, frustration or threats. In such cases, getting angry is not necessarily an irrational or unreasonable reaction.
We can also get angry or feel irritated by the beliefs, actions, and opinions of other people. Anger tends to affect our ability to communicate in an effective manner thus making us say or do unreasonable things. Being unreasonable or irrational in our moment of anger can make the people around us to feel resentful, threatened, or angry and this will cause more challenges to effective communication and expression.
In other cases, anger arises as a secondary emotion. It can be a reaction to feeling threatened, frightened or lonely. It is very important to understand why you or another angry person is experiencing this emotion so that the real cause can be addressed.
Anger is not simply a state of the mind. His emotion can trigger physical changes such as blood pressure, increased heart rate and release of hormones such as adrenaline which braces one to fight or flight. Due to these physical effects, excessive and uncontrolled anger can be detrimental to the wellbeing of the affected individuals.
If you or a man close to you has a challenge controlling his anger, there is dire need to take steps towards dealing with the emotions in a more constructive way. If high levels of uncontrolled anger are left unsorted, they might lead to relationship problems.
The term anger management is used to describe the skills and techniques that one may use to recognize they are getting angry and take the appropriate actions to handle the situation in an effective way. Note that, anger management does not mean suppressing or internalizing anger. Although anger can be considered healthy, suppressing and internalizing it can lead to more harm than good.
Some of the dangers of suppressing anger include depression and anxiety. When one is unable to express anger in an appropriate way, he or she may experience mental problems including withdrawal, unwarranted tension, overreacting to a situation, among others. Suppressed anger can disrupt relationships, affect behavioral patterns and effective thinking and also create a variety of physical problems. Suppressed anger has been linked to problems such as emotional and physical abuse, crime and other violent behavior.
Anger management involves recognizing the triggers of the emotion as early as possible and dealing with them (expressing them) in a calm cool and collected way. Basically, we learn how to deal with strong emotions as we grow up. Chances are, if we saw someone close to us expressing their anger in a wrong way, we might think it is a good and effective way, thus follow it unconsciously. Anger management is about unlearning these ineffective coping mechanisms and learning more constructive ways of dealing with the frustration and problems associated with anger.
The frequent challenges in our day to day lives as men can lead us to tough feelings of anger. This emotion can stem from a variety of experiences such as annoyance, frustration, hurt and disappointment. Some men use anger as a defense mechanism, their only weapon when they feel powerless. This mechanism may develop as a result of traumatic experiences as a child such as shaming, danger or abuse. Under such a situation, telling a man to get a hold of his anger might lead to strong resistance because, for him, it would sound like a challenge to lower his defense mechanism. Basically, anger in men is usually a go-to response used to cover other underlying emotions such as stress, grieve, frustration or dissatisfaction.
Anger management is one of the important ways that a man may apply to address the underlying issues they might be facing. Additionally, proper anger management can help one to avoid disrupting relationships. Again, anger management will ensure that a person keeps a leveled head during challenging situations and makes better decisions.
In one of the anger management boot camps held by Dr. Steven Stosny, most of the men undergoing the therapy sessions rated themselves worthy of love but most of them felt that the love they gave was insufficient. Simply put, these men overestimated their need for love yet underestimated the importance of their love to their loved ones.
On the surface, the tension between feeling lovable and being unable to meet the emotional needs of the loved ones can make a man seem entitled – more like he expects to be loved without giving anything in return. However, on a deeper level, This tension also explains why a large number of men hold are emotionally withheld in their relationships. Basically, if a person thinks that his love is a da Vinci painting, he will feel the need to share it with other people. On the other hand, if a man feels that his love is like an old sock, he will not bother his loved ones with it. Instead, he will try to compensate for the perceived love deficiencies with some form of service or financial support. In the event that the loved ones or family show that these compensation methods are not adequate, then the man is likely to get angry or resentful.
Most of the anger in men comes from feelings of inadequacy, especially as a provider, protector or lover. These vulnerabilities can acutely be stimulated by mear displeasure or unhappiness of loved ones such as the wife even if their negative state or distress has nothing to do with the man. Once the man sees himself as inadequate and assumes that the wife is displeased about it, he will see himself as the victim. The undeserved blame and victimhood give the man a temporary sense of righteousness, combined with the impulse to retaliate, which in turn triggers anger.
The adrenalin rush resulting from anger, similar to any other amphetamine effect, leads to some level of depression at least in the form of energy depletion and self-doubt. To get out of the depressed state, the man will use a low-grade resentment to gain some temporal form of energy and confidence. The resentment will keep the man partially aroused and also highly susceptible to anger outbursts for long periods of time. The excessive levels of cortisol and adrenaline in his blood make it hard to rest or sleep well and even makes it more challenging to concentrate while awake. The state of anger leads to feelings of distraction and tiredness, and the affected person will need more anger to help generate energy, motivation, and focus.
This cycle of getting angry in order to get energy continues and the man finds himself stuck in a roller-coaster of resentment, – anger – depression. The chronic self-blame keeps him stuck in the victim identity which continuously sparks the anger cycle. If this man allows himself to feel like the victimizer, he might get more depressed and even sink to thoughts of suicide.
Once this anger pattern becomes a habit, the reason for getting angry is no longer important. All that the angry man cares about is every opportunity that will anger him and cause the adrenaline rush he needs. Consequently, the man becomes an anger junkie, looking for every opportunity to take the blame and get his hormonal fix. He will be living in two predominant emotional states 1) mildly depressed mood or 2)some form of unexplained anger. His life becomes a lacking drive to get things done and moving on to tomorrow.
When a man feels that his love is inadequate for his loved ones, he does not need insights about the past to feel bad. This anger cycle has nothing to do with childhood trauma; rather, it is about his feeling inadequate for his family today. True, his childhood experiences might have caused the feelings of anger in the first place but the current pattern is arising from constantly blaming the people closest to him. The current habit makes him feel more vulnerable and causes untold misery to his loved ones. Once a habit is instilled in the brain, it cannot be undone by resolving the issue that caused the problem in the first place. That is why the therapies focusing on childhood wounds might not work for such a person because they will hardly change the habits developed in adulthood. The resentment anger depression cycle can only be reconditioned in the present.
A man needs to learn that inadequacy is not a punishment; rather, it is a motivation that should make one want to become better. Our culture has taught us to be as perfect as can be even in our first attempt of anything without realizing that we have to learn things before getting them right. Inadequacy is the fuel driving us to better performances. The unpleasant feeling should force us to learn how to perform the task at hand. That includes maintaining relationships in this complex world.
To become successful in the current complex world, you must develop the habit of picking motivation from the feeling of inadequacy. These feelings should drive one to improve his relationships and life at large. You should realize that these bad feelings are not met to put one down; rather, they call upon him to be more loving and protective. By developing positive habits such as connecting by protecting, the man will realize that he feels more powerful and valuable when compassionate than when defensive and angry.
Like all emotions, anger is trying to tell you something. Basically, it feels us that something is wrong. It is important to note that what is wrong is not necessarily the cause of your anger. It could be something deeper, from the far past, in fact, you might have forgotten about it. Therefore, we should not ignore the message from the anger get so distracted with stopping it that we miss fixing its triggers.
A large number of men attend anger management sessions because they are told by their partners. In most cases, a man with anger issues is told “Go and have your anger issues fixed” yet the causes of the anger are ignored. What we often ignore or overlook is the source/cause of the anger issues in a man.
Men struggling with anger issues need to understand the causes and consequences of their problem in order to effectively take responsibility for their emotions. As easy as it might sound, taking responsibility for one’s anger can be very challenging. Basically, anger in men is mostly a reaction to external circumstances. As such, it can be difficult for a person to manage emotions they are linking to external things and other people. However, being angered or provoked is not a valid reason to become abusive, or overactive to the people around you. Unfortunately, any uncontrolled anger issues can lead to abusive and violent behavior, especially in men.
As a man assesses and deals with his anger management issues, the people around him, including partners should be willing to look at their contributions to the problem. In many cases, partners know the things they do that trigger anger in the man they care about but do nothing to change and handle things in a different way. It is important for everyone to acknowledge their contributions and role in anger management especially in a relationship (Spouses). Of course, the causes and triggers of anger need to be assessed from a reasonable point. If you become angry everymen a person clangs a bowl with their spoon while eating, it does not mean that everyone should stop eating.
One of the common complaints received from men as they undergo anger management sessions is that their spouse/partner is very ‘nagging’. Nagging does not only fuel anger in a relationship but also may make a person to lose interest in the partner. Most men find nagging a real turn off – however, that should not be a reason for losing tempers and acting out violently. Unfortunately, many relationships lack honest communication thus the partners have no platform to share important information. Consequently, the nagging continues as each person tries to express him/herself indirectly and the anger escalates. Here, every person in the relationship has a responsibility. If your partner complains because you leave your socks on the floor, pick them up and learn to store them appropriately.
Communication will help partners to understand each other better and evaluate the causes of nagging and anger. Most nagging wives will justify their behavior by saying that the husband has to be reminded over and over again to have certain things done. On the other hand, the man will say that he is angry because the wife keeps repeating things.
One of the main challenges in anger management for men is that the issues and consequences are normally a cover for the real problem. For instance, the man might get angry instead of expressing the fact that he hates being nagged. Instead of telling the wife/spouse about his feelings for a particular situation, the man will act out and solve nothing. If your anger as a man acts like a hair trigger, Chances are, there are some deeper issues affecting you that need to be addressed. Basically, if a person harbors problems and fails to deal with them in time, they will take up mental space and energy. As a result, the person will not be able to keep things in perspective and the ability to react proportionately to situations is limited.
When dealing with nagging and the communication-related issues that cause anger in men, it is important to identify for effective communication techniques to pass information. First, fix the reason for the nagging in the first place. For instance, as a man, keep your promises, and hold your end of the bargain in the house. Obviously, nagging is not the only cause of anger problems in men regardless of the causes, we need to dig deep enough and get the true trigger of the anger.
Chapter 2 – Sign and Symptoms of Anger Problems
We all experience the emotion of anger, whether it is towards another person, situation or something. One may even feel angry due to the injustices taking place in the world. However, there is a difference between occasional anger and having anger issues. For many people who have anger going beyond the occasional occurrences, there are some signs that might indicate anger management issues.
Regardless of the consequences arising from anger such as interpersonal conflicts, family problems, and difficulties in marriages, criminal activities, imprisonment and outbursts at work, this emotion is very powerful. It can get out of control in the least expected ways. Being able to identify the signs of anger can help a person to think clearly and solve issues effectively.
The best place to look for indicators that you have issues with managing anger is with the loved ones closest to you. Most of us can do a very good job of hiding our anger issues, either consciously or subconsciously, from our friends and coworkers. However, it can be hard to hide from our partners, spouses, and close family members because they get a chance to see us when we are at our most genuine state. We tend to feel safe around our loved ones and unfortunately, we are more likely to take out our anger on them. For some of us, the anger problem leads to difficulties in our relationships, jobs, and families.
What can anger look like to the people around us? According to most partners living with men with anger issues, life can be very scary. In fact, some of them say that the anger appears like a Great White Shark – very fearful. If a person is struggling with anger issues, there will be indicators. Some of the real-life examples of anger indicators mentioned by people living with friends and loved ones who are struggling with anger include:
1. Asking him questions will only get him angry
2. Once he is angry, the name-calling starts
3. How can I communicate with him without getting him really angry?
4. Before the incident happened, I had seen the signs of temper and anger.
5. I hate the fact that anger interrupts our conversations. I do not even get the chance to open up.
Do you recognize yourself or someone with anger issues in the above statements? If so, you (or the other person) might be having anger issues. There are various indicators of anger management problems and some of the most common in men include;
Lack of patience,
Short temper and irritability
Shutting down AND WITHDRAWAL,
Belittling, criticizing, and putting others down,
People around you are afraid, – like they are walking on eggshells around you
1. Disproportionate anger
One major sign of anger management issues is when a person reacts to a situation with a greater deal of anger than most people would under similar circumstances. For instance, a person who becomes very angry just because he could not find his favorite beer at the store might be suffering from anger management problems. Disproportionate anger is more than the occasional snappiness or bad mood.
2. Anger without cause
If you or a person you know complains of feeling angry even without a specific cause, then it might indicate anger management challenges. Normal and healthy anger only arises as a response to an upsetting situation. Any anger arising for no particular or valid reason is an indicator of an underlying problem.
3. Intense memory-related anger
If you are getting extremely angry about events and incidents that occurred in the far past, it might indicate anger management problems. The fact that events from the pats can continue to have a strong hold on you or another person and lead to intense angry indicates that one is unable to let go. This might indicate that the person has deep anger management problems.
4. Guarded interactions
If you observe that people are guarded and even cautious when talking to you most of the time, then you might be having anger management problems. If they talk to you as if they are afraid that a time bomb might explode, then you might be in need of anger management help. You may observe that other people are avoiding confrontations or questions so as not to get on your nerves. If you also have people breaking off contact with you or trying to avoid you. that might be an indicator of anger management issues where they feel intimidated when having a conversation with you.
5. Being confronted by others
If some people have actually faced you and mentioned that you have issues with anger management, then it might be a clear indicator that you need help. One or two people might be wrong about you needing anger management help but if the topic keeps coming up from several people, then it is a good idea to reevaluate yourself
Though anger is a normal emotion felt by all human beings, the way we choose to express it may be unacceptable and abnormal to the people around you. If you realize that you have an anger problem, it is important to identify ways of gaining better control over this emotion. Anger management can be achieved through self-help groups and books or in therapy programs. Normally, help for anger management is available online, in workplaces through employee assistance programs, through local counseling clinics among others. Anger management programs are set to help a person to learn ways of controlling anger in order to improve health prospectus and relationships. In due course, you can gain mastery of the anger problem. However, any change of character can only be effective to the extent you allow.
In most cases, learning to control anger Is an ongoing task and one will have to rethink the automatic responses. Anger management also helps a person to take more responsibility for his/her thoughts and actions more than he/she did in the past. Al that is required is a plan and a lot of discipline. Having a perspective of what normal anger and anger management looks like will give you an idea of the direction to head towards.
The stages of change in the life of a man
Men tend to go through a set of stages that can be correctly predicted. The progress through these stages is normally a result of technique, motivation, and dedication. While some men move through the stages very first, others take a long while. In fact, some will take a step or two back before moving forward.
As you look at the stages of change listed below, try to assess how each one affected and led to the current state of your life. Also, imagine how you will get past the challenges of every stage as you reach for your anger management goals. Note that your life and experiences may not mirror the order listed below in each detail but understanding them will map a way to your goals.
Point to note:
Choosing to take control of our anger represents a big part of your life and such a change will define how you live your life from this moment onwards. Most men do not make the decision to make big changes in life unless something comes along and motivates them to clear and apply new and better ways of living. Changes normally require self-examination and assessment of new ways of doing things. A large number of people only decide to manage their anger after a serious social, personal or occupational consequences have occurred due to lack of control. The need to manage anger can occur after one has started a divorce process, gotten into a fight or yelled back at the boss in a workplace. Some men will feel the need to manage anger even without being pushed by other people while others will require someone to consistently force them.
The stages of change are
1. Awareness – A man becomes aware of his problem and looks for its definition. What does it involve and how has it affected my life? In anger management, This stage normally begins when the affected person starts to seek information about anger and its management. HE will look for the definition of anger, its components and its effects on relationships and health. Finally, how can this anger be controlled?
2. Preparation – The first stage, awareness, only involves the gathering of information. There is no commitment whatsoever. However, the preparation stage involves decision making and actual efforts towards making a change. How will you be expressing anger from this point henceforth? Beyond committing to change, the preparation stage involves self-analysis and planning. It is therefore important to keep an anger management journal where you record the things triggering your anger, the effects, and the consequences. This anger management journal will help you to identify and understand your anger patterns. It will also give you some inside information on how proportional your anger reactions are to the different situations provoking them. The more you understand your anger, the higher your chances of success in changing how you express your emotions.
3. Action – In this third stage, a man starts to make real changes. You may choose to take a self-help course or go for professional therapy sessions depending on the information you gather in the two previous stages. Any approach you choose should enable you to have a better grip on your anger. However, these anger management plans will only work if you apply them with persistence and dedication.
4. Maintaining gains – This final stage does not have an end. It is a continuous phase. This is the stage mostly teaching people about their imperfections. You are human and are bound to make mistakes. Sometimes you will act inappropriately even when you are very well prepared for the worst. On the brighter side, you learn that you can recover from the lapses whenever they occur. Reaching a stable level of sustained behavior takes time and involves a tough process full of dedication and patience. You might go through multiple failures before gaining full success. each time you face a relapse, use the tools and techniques gathered along the way to recover and retry.
It is quite difficult for people with anger management problems to work up a strong enough motivation to want to get through an anger management program. This is because anger has a self-justifying and seductive quality to it and a person will not want to let that go. Most men need to suffer serious anger consequences before they take the necessary steps. Even after starting the program, most angry men will drop off along the way. Some of those who finish the programs stop applying the learned techniques as soon as the practice period is over. Others keep repeating the program until they benefit. Among all these attempts to control anger, you need to know that success can only be achieved with consistency and perseverance. There is no shortcut to controlling your anger.
Before learning the techniques for managing your anger, you need to learn how to recognize your emotions. Learning the exact signs of your anger will take some time and self-analysis. There are different signs of anger classifiable in two, physical, and emotional.
Some of the physical indicators of anger include headaches,
Clenched jaws, Grinding teeth, Stomachache,
Sweating, Increased heart rate,
Feeling hot in the face and neck, Dizziness, shaking and trembling
Some of the emotional indicators of anger include
Irritability, resentfulness, Guilt, depression, and sadness,
Verbal and physical lashing out
Anxiety, the need to get away from a particular situation
In some cases, one might notice that he is
Pacing, rubbing he head,
Raising his voice,
Cupping one fist on the other hand
Getting sarcastic, Losing his sense of humor,
Crying, yelling or screaming
Acting in an abusive way or abrasive manner
Craving for a smoke, drink or other substances that help him relax
These signs and symptoms normally determined by the level of anger. For instance, at very intense levels of anger, a person might sweat, get increased heart rate, become abusive, and choose to abuse drugs. At lower levels of anger, a person might only feel sweaty, pace a bit, get irritated but not reach the extents of becoming violent.
You need to understand how your anger manifests itself under different circumstances. You may have to get into the habit of measuring your own anger in order to get a better glance of your behavior. Unlike body temperature or heartbeat rate which is a physical state thus can be measured using tangible instruments, anger is a complex feeling. It involves emotional, physiological and psychological aspects. Body temperature can be measured using a calibrated thermometer and in order to track anger, it is important to make anger ratings.
Imagine a thermometer that records the amount of anger you are experiencing at any given time. Imagine that every time you are slightly frustrated, upset or irritated, the mercury found in the bulb of a thermometer begins to rise. When the slight irritation begins to turn into anger but you can still control it, then the mercury rises halfway in the thermometer tube. When your anger is literally boiling and you are completely upset, imagine the mercury rising all the way up to the highest calibrations of the thermometer. Rate your anger from 0 to 100 on that thermometer. In this case, 0 means you are completely calm while 100 means you are completely enraged.
Use the anger thermometer to rate your anger. For a start, think of a recent situation that got you very upset. How angry were you during that moment? Rate that anger on the thermometer. Identify another situation and repeat the process. Chances are, you will notice some similarities with the rate of anger experienced under certain circumstances.
The goal of anger rating to help you recognize that anger runs on a continuum meaning that it moves up and down between calmness and complete rage. People with anger issues do not get their anger ratings on a continuum basis. Their anger curve is not smooth; rather, it fluctuates between fine and furious. At one moment, things may seem completely fine and then suddenly they move to furious.
Even though a person with anger management issues appears to be tuned to “On and off” anger, one can still identify a curve. An angry person might miss all the other anger episodes because he concentrated only on those that are way up and throws the rest in the ‘fine’ category. With practice, such a person can learn how to spot other shades of anger and peace.
Anger rating is essential because they give us feedback about how likely we are to explode with anger under particular situations and the intensity of our emotions. These ratings can be used to help us recognize when we are getting increasingly upset but are not yet entirely angry, and to improve our chances of being able to stay in control by taking the necessary steps to reverse the rising trend of anger.
Chapter 3 – Why is Being Angry Very Unhealthy?
The thing about anger – it is often very clear cut. Anger is not an emotion you can hide for all your life. At one point, uncontrolled anger will affect you. We ask- is there an emotion that is more misunderstood than anger? Many people believe that holding in this emotion is bad for you – it only builds on the pressure to express and the moment it chooses to come out, it will do so in unexpected ways. Prolonged anger and sudden busts are unhealthy for you. This emotion is very strong and it tends to arouse the nervous system. In fact, it produces effects in the entire body. Sadly, anger eats away at your vital organs, more so the cardiovascular system. It affects your gut and hijacks the nervous system. It also affects your ability to think clearly. Besides, unattended anger tends to grow within the body.
Just because the suppression of anger is bad does not mean that all forms of expression are good. You are not necessarily better off through expression – You might destroy the things and people around you. Anger does not always go away just because a person has unleashed it – No. Expressing anger does not always offer a catharsis. Furthermore, venting anger. either in words or actions does not make it easier to manage. Often, inappropriate venting only increases the intensity of our feelings. Anger can be classified as self-sufficient – it feeds on itself and multiplies. Plus, when we use aggression to express anger, we bring irreversible damage to ourselves and the people around us.
Majority of us have a challenge managing anger and other intense negative emotions. Interestingly, anger is one of the emotions that men consider ‘acceptable’ to display. The society has taught men that it is wrong to show weakness and every challenging issue can be solved through violence. Bottom line, a man should not accept defeat easily. More interesting, the men do not always take anger well when someone else is displaying it towards THEM.
Though men are allowed by society to display their anger, women are not. In most cultures, women are forced to conceal their anger. In fact, they become so good at hiding their anger; it becomes a natural part of them. Simply because anger is so forceful and negative when expressed irrationally, many people fear it, therefore, creating taboos on the open display of anger. Maybe you can recall a time during your childhood when someone (could be you or another person) tries to express their anger by stomping around the house Then someone commanded them to stop being childish. Maybe you can remember someone who tried to share his/her anger feelings with mom and instead, he/she got canned. The sad fact is, under such unfavorable conditions, no one learns how to express or manage anger appropriately. All we learn is how to hide, suppress or ignore anger, and in extreme cases, we throw it out on another person. This is the same stage where we learn to blame someone else for our feelings.
Studies have revealed that if a person is able to identify and label emotions in a correct way, and also talk about them in a straight forward manner to the point of feeling understood; it is easier for him/her to make negative feelings dissipate. Consequently, the psychological arouse that occur from such feelings also disappear dramatically.
However, when the society is unable to look at anger constructively thus deeming it totally unacceptable, people stay in a state of emotional arousal because they cannot label what they are feeling as anger. We become unable to pay attention to the things going on around us. Further, we are unable to constructively express anger. The denial makes us unable to understand and regulate our behavior because we stay focused on the inner emotional state. In fact, we tend to experience excessive physical arousal in situations where negative emotions are involved. However, because of the taboos, we do not show any external signs of anger or negative emotional response. Imagine how confusing that is for a friend or spouse. It is also confusing for us.
In some cases, however, we experience feelings of relief after opening up and sharing with someone about our anger and its cause. Psychologists say that this kind of intense relief is experienced because, instead of venting OR expressing ourselves in an unconstructive way, we acknowledge the circumstances leading to our emotional state and constructively work towards finding a solution.
And that positivity points towards the benefits of anger. It acts as a motivator for us to change. Anger encourages us to speak about the things bothering us and find solutions.
But the good and bad of anger is all in how we express ourselves. As anger is pushing us to action about the upsetting things, it also drives us to overreact. The first thing we should ensure is that we lengthen our anger fuse – we do not have to react to every little upsetting thing – instead, we can think our way to a viable solution.
Some of the ways you can use to lengthen your anger fuse include;
– Take three deep breaths.
On the most basic level, anger builds up tension in the body. Breathing deeply in and exhaling will help to ease the tension and consequently lower your anger.
– Change your environment
Anger can be a trap and the longer you stay in a situation that is upsetting you, the more likely you are to act out irrationally. So, the quickest and most effective way of uncoupling yourself from the ongoing source of anger is to walk away. At least take a five-minute break from the scene and get some fresh air. If you are stuck in traffic, make a mental escape by singing at the top of your lungs or turning up the radio.
– Know the cause of your anger.
– Using the anger diary, track down the events, things, and people that trigger anger. Normally, anger is a mask for our deepest fears. Therefore, look beyond the surface – what deep and hidden fears are making you angry right now.
– Let go of what you cannot control.
As you look for ways to manage your anger, know that the only thing you are actually capable of changing is yourself. It is not upon you to control how other people act, but how you react to them is entirely your choice. Getting angry does not fix the situation and in fact, it will make you feel worse. If someone keeps triggering your anger, walk away from them. If walking away is not a plausible solution, brainstorm for other possibilities.
– Express your feelings
As you share how you feel, be sure to use measured tones and think first. Use the right words which are not emotionally loaded. Ensure that you are communicating in a non-confrontational but firm way. State that you are angry, explain your reason and try to find a solution.
– Be cautious
Expressing how you feel in a constructive and appropriate way is a good thing. However, you need to look out for dangerous situations. For instance, if you have a jealous or abusive partner, avoid sharing with him/her. Instead, vent t a friend or trusted person. You might find a solution to your problem in a way you never imagined.
– Be assertive in expressing your feelings and avoid aggression
Assertiveness requires you to speak in a nonviolent yet effective way. Sometimes you may have to rehearse your answer before delivering it to the other person.
– Make positive statements
You may have to internalize some positive statements which you chant to yourself when angry. These statements will serve as a reminder that you are responsible for your own behavior. Saying the statements to yourself will also buy you some time to think before acting. They protect you from knee jerk reactions. For instance, you can say- “I can take care of my needs.” “The needs of other people are as important as mine.” “I am capable of making good choices.”
Regardless of whether you express or suppress anger, this emotion can make you ill.
Uncontrolled anger is an emotion that has adverse physical effects. When we are angry, our bodies normally release cortisol and adrenaline hormones. These are the same hormones released when we undergo stress. When these hormones are released, our pulse, blood pressure, breathing rates, and body temperature may increase, and in extreme cases, to potentially dangerous levels. The chemical and hormonal reactions taking place when we are stressed are designed to give us instant power and a boost of energy to enable the fight or flight mode. This means that the mind and body are activated to run or defend themselves from danger.
However, people with anger management issues (getting angry often) can become ill because of the unregulated physical reactions. Just like stress left unmanaged, anger too can make a person ill. Basically, our bodies do not have the capacity to handle excessive levels of cortisol and adrenaline especially if these hormones and chemicals are constantly released. Some of the problems that may occur because of regular anger occurring over long periods of time include;
Problems with digestion,
Aches and pains more so in the back and head,
The reduced threshold of pain,
High blood pressure which might lead to cardiac arrest and stroke
Anger may also lead to psychological problems including;
Some of the key things you should note about anger being unhealthy for you are;
Chronic anger will increase your chances of getting a stroke or heart attack. It will also weaken your immune system.
The best ways to deal with anger immediately include taking deep breaths and walking away.
In the long term, anger can be managed through identifying its triggers, changing your reactions and seeking professional help.
Anger can be good when expressed in a healthy way and addressed quickly. In fact, under certain circumstances, anger can help one to think rationally. However, unhealthy anger will wreak havoc within your body and also to the people around you. When you hold anger in for long periods, it will explode into a full rage. If y have unhealthy episodes of anger or are prone to losing your anger every so often, below are some of the reasons you should learn anger management.
1. Anger outbursts put your heart at risk.
Researches have revealed that anger outbursts affect a person’s cardiac health. How so? Basically, in the first two hours after an outburst, your chances of getting a heart attack double. This research was found to be truer in men. Anger is physically damaging.
If you fail to express anger in an appropriate manner, it becomes some quiet poison in the body. Gradually, repressed anger will explode and might lead you to an early death. Researchers found that people who are more prone to anger (and that anger becomes part of their personality) are at a higher risk of coronary disease compared to those who are less angry.
To protect your ticker (heart), it is important to identify and address your emotions and more so anger before they go out of control. Basically, everything in excess is poisonous. However, it is important to note that constructive anger is not associated with heart diseases.
Constructive anger involves that which you speak directly to the person that is upsetting you and identifying a solution. It is the kind of anger that makes you more rational.
2. Anger increases your chances of getting a stroke.
If you have a challenge of controlling anger and you keep lashing out at people for every other thing, beware. One study revealed that people with anger management challenges are at three times higher risk of getting a stroke. How? you may ask. During the two hours following an anger outburst, there are chances of getting a blood clot in your brain and bleeding within the brain to death. For those with an aneurysm in one or more of the brain arteries, there is a six times higher chance of rupturing it after an outburst.
The good news is that one can learn how to control these explosions. First, identify your triggers, then learn how to change your responses. Instead of letting your anger control you, do some exercises, change your environment, use assertive communication skills, Learn some other anger management skills to stay in charge.
3. Anger weakens your immune system
If you are angry all the time, you might have noticed that you get ill often. The confused state of your body that occurs when you are angry interferes with the levels of the antibody immunoglobulin A. These are the body cells’ first line of defense against illnesses and anger issues lower them for at least six hours after an outburst. If you are habitually angry and keep losing control, protect your immune system through several coping strategies including effective problem solving, assertive communication, through restructuring and humor. You need to get away from the black and white mentality and be more open to the opinions of others. Remember that agreeing with the opinion of another person does not make you a loose. Letting another person have his/her way does not make you weak. Either way, you have to start staying calm for the sake of your immunity.
4. Anger problems make a person anxious.
Lack of control makes you worried though you may not notice. Anger and anxiety go hand in hand. One study conducted in 2012 revealed that anger can worsen the symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder. This condition is characterized by uncontrollable and excessive worry that interrupts the normal life of a person. People with GAD were found to have higher levels of anger and also hostility. This anger was mostly internalized and unexpressed thus contributing more to the severity of the anxiety problem.
5. Anger has also been linked to depression.
Anger, Aggression, and depression are connected. According to numerous studies, these three states are interconnected especially in men. Most people suffering from depression have passive anger – that is, a form of anger whereby a person ruminates about the issue at hand but hardly takes action. The biggest problem with this kind of anger is that it pulls the person deeper into the cycle of depression. Psychologists advise that when one is struggling with depression, he should get busy in order to avoid over-thinking about things.
Any activity that gets your mind off the things brewing anger is advised. Get involved in biking, golfing, painting, singing, or any other thing that draws your mind away from anger. These activities tend to fill your mind up and draw it to the present moment. There is no more room for you to brew anger once your mind is occupied by other things.
6. Anger can hurt your lungs.
If you thought that smoking is the only bad practice that might hurt your lungs, here is some news. Being perpetually angry can hurt your lungs. Anger leads to hostility which in turn affects the capacity of your lungs. A research conducted by Harvard University scientists over eight years about anger and its effects found that people with chronic anger and high hostility rates had a lower lung capacity compared to others. The men with the highest hostility rating had a lower lung capacity. Consequently, they were at risk of developing some respiratory problems. The scientists theorized that an increase in stress hormones associated with feelings of anger creates inflammations in the airways.
7. Anger shortens life.
As the saying goes, Happy people live longer. Stress is directly connected to general health. Stress and anger interfere with your lifespan. A research conducted by the University of Michigan revealed that people who held onto anger for long have a shorter lifespan than those who express their feelings in a constructive way.
If you are a person who is uncomfortable expressing his emotions, practice how to constructively share your feelings. If working on your own does not seem to work, seek help from a therapist. A healthy expression of anger is actually very beneficial. If a person infringes on your rights you have every reason to tell them that they are wrong. Ensure that you tell people exactly how you feel and what you need in a firm yet respectful way.
Chapter 4 – How to Release Your Anger without Violence
How to deal with anger as a secondary
In most cases, anger is a secondary emotion meaning that another emotion can be found underneath such fear or sadness. Worry and anxiety can lead to fear while experiences of loss discouragement and disappointment can lead to sadness. The feelings of fear and sadness will make us feel vulnerable, uncomfortable and not in control. And because we are afraid of feeling vulnerable and at a loss, we opt for anger and acting out in an attempt to feel strong. Usually, we shift to this anger node unconsciously. As opposed to fear and sadness, anger gives us a surge of energy, making us feel powerful and in control rather than helpless and vulnerable. Essentially, anger can be a substantial way of creating a sense of power and control in the face of uncertainty and vulnerability.
To illustrate anger as a cover-up emotion, let us look at an example. A couple is yelling at each other because they are angry. However, when you assess the situation again, you will realize that one of the spouses or both of them are trying to hide their fear of abandonment under the anger. In this instance, the combination of anticipation and fear fuels anger. In other cases, uncertainty can trigger anger for instance when you do not have adequate information on a particular topic and things feel amorphous. Why? Because uncertainty and lack of information are linked to the ‘unknown’ which is actually scary for most people. Boredom has also been linked to anger or irritability as some people feel like they are unproductive and are a loss.
Though having a ‘sense of control’ is associated with greater wellbeing (especially emotional), excessive desire to stay in control can lead to misery and suffering because it is impossible to stay in charge at all moments of life.
So, when you feel angry or out of control, be it mild or strong, pause and try to identify the main emotion that is driving your anger. During the moment of anger, it can be hard to note the cause of the emotion, therefore, when your feelings calm down, start by exploring your thoughts. Are they the cause of your anger? In most cases, it is our perceptions and thoughts that drive anger. Note that the shift from a basic emotion such as sadness or fear to anger can be very fast and unconscious – in fact, you might miss it. Feelings of anger can be so deeply ingrained in you that you will take more time to spot the feelings and thoughts underlying them.
By working with sadness, or fear or both, you will develop more skillful ways of dealing with your anger. For instance, a thorough analysis can help you identify some unresolved grief. Or you might be struggling with the fear of a certain outcome. With such information, you will be better placed to deal with your anger. It will be easier to determine the best course of action to your unresolved problem. Working with the primary emotion is a way of reducing habitual anger building more inner peace and cultivating thoughtful actions.
Controlled Muscle Relaxation and Deep Breathing
When your emotions are aroused, heart rate and breathing rate are increased. Every emotion has a physical effect and anger normally causes an increase in heart rate, breathing rate, and the release of certain chemicals and hormones in the body. To deal with anger, you need to learn how to control these physical effects. Reversing these physical effects deliberately will ensure that when anger arises, you are in control. Deliberate slow breathing and a systematic relaxation of tensed muscles help a person to control anger.
When angry, you may find that your breaths are shallow and quick. If you allow these shallow breaths to continue, chances are, it will only increase your anger. Instead of allowing the breaths to take control of your body, redirect them into deeper breathing and relax. Practicing deep breaths even when you are not angry will equip you to deal with anger. Set aside some time where you can practice deep breathing exercise. The recommended time for practice is 15 minutes every day. If you practice this exercise for very few times each day, it will be hard to reap the full benefits.
To start the relaxation efforts, take several deep and slow breaths in a row. Each time, ensure that you exhale for twice as long as the inhalation periods. For instance, if you inhale for 10 seconds, exhale for 20 seconds.
Count slowly to five as you breathe in, then count to eight as you breathe out. As you do this exercise, note the areas where the air is going in the lungs. Breathe deeply and allow air into the full range of your lungs. Your breath should reach your belly first, then your chest and finally to the upper chest and space below the shoulders. In shallow breathing, the air only reaches the upper chest in short spurts. As you take deep breaths, feel your ribs expand as the lungs fill up with air. Pay attention to the way your ribs and lungs relax and go back to their original place as you exhale.
Continue this deep breath process for several minutes. Anytime you feel out of breath or dizzy, ensure that you return to normal. If you have chest problems, It is important to consult a doctor before engaging in this exercise.
Slow, controlled and deliberate breathing will help you to return to normal breathing pace in the event of anger. When the shallow breaths threaten to control you, deep and deliberate breathing will help you to return to the relaxed pattern. Considering that all the things in the body are connected, Chances are, this deep breathing exercise will help to slow down your increasing heart rate, and also to abate the tension in some of your muscles.
Anger often manifests itself in the form of tension in different muscles.
Basically, this tension gathers in the shoulders and neck areas and will stay tensed long after the anger is gone. If you feel the tension gathering in the neck, you can do some exercises to relax. Slowly and gently twist your head to one side then to the other. And make sure you do it GENTLY. Coordinate your breathing with the movement of your head. Roll your head to one side in a gentle motion as you exhale and back to the center as you inhale. Then roll it to the other side as you exhale. Repeat this technique carefully for a number of times – until you feel a little relaxed.
You can release some of the tension in your shoulders by deliberately and gently shrugging your shoulders and relaxing them several times. Rolling the shoulders back and forward can also help you let the tension go. Use these techniques together with the breathing techniques to help let go of anger. As your neck, face and shoulders become more relaxed identify other tensed places in your body and relax. Use an anger management diary to help keep track of the locations in your body where there is tension.
If the muscle relaxation techniques fail to work, try the opposite –
Tense and tighten that stressed muscles and count slowly to ten. Then, release them. If you feel pain at any one point, make sure that you release the muscles and relax. Move from one group of muscles to the other until you have covered each section of the body. Repeat the process whenever needed.
Once you have practiced this technique for several times, you will be able to cover the entire body within a few minutes. Combining muscle relaxation techniques with eth breathing techniques will help you achieve better relaxation than one technique. In all relaxation efforts, you should give yourself at least 20 – 30 minutes to calm down. During this period, keep your breathing regular and deep. Remind yourself that these efforts are to help you calm down and soon enough, you will feel better.
The relaxation techniques described above can help you calm down and stop focusing on the anger. They will have a positive effect on your body as well as your anger. They also create time for you to rationally think about the situation that was causing you the anger. This time will help you to generate new and fresh solutions to the problems you are facing.
When you feel angry or recognize the onset of anger, try positive self-talk, deep breathing or stopping the angry thoughts line. Breathe deeply and slowly repeat to yourself, calming words such as ‘take it easy’ or ‘relax’. Repeat these terms to yourself while taking deep breaths until the anger reduces.
Seek out help and support from other people. Look for people who can support you in your journey to anger management. Talk about your feelings and try to work on the behavior changes you need to apply.
Whenever someone is making you angry, try to view things from their perspective but putting yourself in their shoes.
If you have a hard time recognizing your anger thoughts and triggers, keep a log, then analyze your feelings and actions.
Although it is better to express anger rather than keep it in, appropriate ways of expression should be applied. Frequent anger outbursts are often counterproductive and often lead to problems in relationships. These outbursts are also harmful to your body – the cardiovascular and nervous system and can make other health problems worse. Learning how to be assertive can help a person to deal with anger, effectively express needs, feelings, and preferences. Being assertive can be very useful in expressing anger rather than acting out ineffectively.
Learning how to see the humor in situations and laughing at yourself can help you to manage anger
Learning how to express your feelings calmly, assert yourself, be direct without being defensive, emotionally charged or hostile.
Consult professionals and read self-help books to understand assertive and effective communication
Practice good listening skills, it will help you to understand people and select the ones you trust. This trust will help you to select the people you should stay close to and the ones you should leave
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