How to control your anger
Anger is a natural response that all normally developing individuals experience. Its part of our evolved defences against possible threats; it's part of the flight or fight response.
Anger starts our fight or flight response brain releases neurotransmitters that cause an increase of energy by increasing our heart rate, blood pressure and breathing as we prepare for action. All useful responses to a threat that helped our ancestors to survive on the African savannah, however, perhaps not so useful in our modern day social interactions, such as with an over-assertive boss. The natural response to a threat then is a call to arms, however it’s when that call to arms is frustrated, when we are prevented by others or social constraints from undertaking immediate action, be it fight of flight, that we experience the emotion we understand is anger.
It’s not that we get angry that’s the problem, it’s how that anger is played out in our social situations that is the problem. Uncontrolled anger is behind many psychological and medical conditions and not only causes distress to the people around the person being angry but also to the angry person themselves.
No one can ever be free from anger, we all experience it from time to time, but you can learn to control your anger so that it does not control you. In fact, if you think about it most people learn to control their anger quite naturally. As two year olds almost all with have the odd tantrum, because they have been frustrated in some way over having their immediate wants met. Although the tantrum may have had some early success most children learn that it is counter productive in that they are less likely to have their needs met and so they learn to control their anger quite naturally. For some adults though they didn’t learn this lesson, perhaps their anger more often proved successful or perhaps the anger at least got them noticed. Whatever the underlying reason is for person not having learned to control their anger (this can be uncovered through therapy) the good news is that it is not too late to learn it now and these are several methods for learning how to manage your anger.
Meditation – This can me practiced formally as in many religions or informally. Basicly the trick is to take time out between the frustration and taking any action. The act of concentrating on your breathing or counting to 10, or however many it takes to become calm. A common tequnique in hypnotherapy is to focusing on your breathing and to relax your muscles, As you do this you will find that your mussels will loose their tension and your anger as a result will lessen. Practicing a few minutes meditation every day, perhaps in the morning as you prepare for the day’s activities or in the evening to purge the stress of the day will help you establish control over your anger and help you to a more relaxed way or dealing with the world around you,
Anger Management – Those with anger management issues can learn strategies to be aware of when they are becoming angry, to understand what triggers their anger, how they can control their physical responses and reactions and to learn social and coping skills. As well as helping them to learn new strategies they can also learn the implication of current coping strategies such as those involved around the use of alcohol or drugs. Learning the implications of their anger for themselves as well as others, will help them to adopt more appropriate ways of responding to pain. However, it is important to acknowledge that someone has a right to be angry and to help them learn new ways of expressing their anger into more positive channels so that they can affect change of a situation that was causing them pain, whilst recognising that others might have equally valid country opinions.
Therapy – There are many reasons for anger, however the ture cause may not be immediately obvious. I mentioned earlier a child not learning how to control their anger, but anger can be the result of a traumatic experience such as physical or mental abuse. Or it can be redirected anger, for example I had a client who had trouble controlling their anger, through therapy we came to understand that they were really angry with their Father, but that they were not able to direct their anger towords their Father because of his own problems. The result was that the repressed anger was directed at the world in general. Therapy Counselling can be help to understand anger and learn to release and deal with anger issues.
Be Creative: – There are many ways in which you can express your anger without having detrimental to other others. Count to 10 or 100 if you need; Use a punch bag; Find a quiet place and scream, go for a walk; dance; paint; jog; exercise whatever works for you. The point is that you are recognising that you are angry and are redirecting that anger in less harmful directions.
Forgive – Often, anger is caused by resentments, sometimes going back years. You maybe aware of the cause of your anger. The only person you are really punishing by carrying this anger around with you is yourself. Forgiveness can simply remove the cause of your anger. It can be hard to forgive someone in person, they might not even be there anymore, You can write a letter or a song, which you don’t evern have to send, The latter is for your benefit. There maybe other ways for you to forgive, whatever works for you.
Whatever method, or combination of methods, you choose to use to deal with anger, remember the point is firstly to improve the quality of your life. As a bonus it will probably improve the quality of life of those around you, which will be something else that you will be able to feel good about..
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