Anger is a normal state of emotion and can be helpful in times of confrontation because it increases our focus and improves out performance (Tamir). But, that same anger if uncontrolled can cause high blood pressure and the over indulgence of tobacco, alcohol and over eating. All of which lead to heart disease as well as the destruction of personal relationships in our life at home, work and school. (Potts). This is why it is so important to learn how to manage anger in every situation and not let it gain control of our lives.
Every person at some time experiences anger so it is crucial to identify the causes before they happen so that steps can be taken to stay in control of our emotions. Anger is typically caused by a variety of factors. The main factors are stress, exhaustion, suppressing emotions from previous confrontations, feelings of being misunderstood and failure. (Kazdin) Anger only becomes a problem when a person loses control of themselves in what they say and do to others. This loss of control can lead to devastating consequences both to the one that is angry and to the people surrounding them.
Some of the consequences of this anger issue when control is lost can be depression, relationship problems, as well as destructive activities to oneself and others. (http://anger-issues. org/) To stay in control of an issue, you must first identify the contributing factors and what to do about them before they happen. So how is a person to deal with anger? Not getting angry is the best solution, but as human beings that is not possible. When becoming angry some of the best ways to control it are to identify stress as it is happening, develop empathy, respond instead of reacting, change the hought processes you are having, communicate assertively, adjust your expectations, forgive, and retreat to rethink the situation. (Novick)
We need to identity stress before it becomes anger. This step in anger management requires that we be self-aware and have a complete understanding of our limits so that we can specifically identify stress factors. When we know and understand that stress is the underlying cause of anger and can identify that stress we are better able to set limits. These limits allow us to interact with other people and participate in activities that we find enjoyable without confrontations.
They also allow us to set boundaries for others in our personal relationships so that these relationships can be mutually beneficial. Developing empathy for the other person is another way to control anger. When we learn to see situations from another’s point of view it is much easier to stay in control of our emotions. By putting ourselves in another’s place and understanding their needs and desires we show maturity and gain understanding that we did not have before. This skill, when practiced, can lead to better team work among individuals when working on projects.
It can also ease the tensions that accompany relationships with family and spouses. As human beings we not only have the capability to be angry but we also the capability to choose how we express that anger. Having this choice allows us to learn new ways to communicate our needs, feelings or requests more effectively. By learning new ways to express anger we are enabled to respond to others rather than automatically reacting to them when they cross our boundaries or limits and trigger our emotions.
Anger is an emotion that can feed on itself. When situations that cause anger in an individual are constantly replayed in that persons mind, the angry feelings continue to grow until they are all encompassing. This all-encompassing anger clouds our judgment of the situation, changing facts and altering memories to justify the anger itself. Yet, if a person can change the thought processes that are feeding the anger and divert their attention from the anger to another more pleasurable situation they are more ble to take control of their anger and stop it from developing further. By developing the ability to change our thought processes we are better able to release our anger and not let it consume us as well as training our minds to focus on more important issues that are in need of our attention. When we learn how to communicate in an effective and honest way how we are feeling and are able to respond to situations without getting angry or hostile we are gaining valuable leadership characteristics as well as diffusing the emotion of anger.
When we get angry with another person we are giving that person control of us. When we refrain from getting angry and take control of our own emotions we portray maturity and not only the ability to control ourselves but to stay in control of the situation around us. Anger can often be the result of expectations that are not met by situations or other people that we come in contact with. When we learn to adjust our expectations without showing anger we can learn how to deal with the difficult people or situations in our lives in a better way.
This valuable tool, that allows us to adjust expectations, can also teach us how to compensate for our own deficiencies or failures in life. We learn how to release ourselves and others from feelings of judgment and unworthiness. When we find release from these feelings of self-doubt we also release the mechanism in our mind that activates our fight or flight urges. Anger in the form of resentment causes more damage to the person that is angry than to the offending party. It can result in weight loss, insomnia, alcoholism, drug dependence as well as high blood pressure and heart disease.
By making a conscious decision to release the emotions of anger through forgiveness or acceptance of the other person, while reestablishing our boundaries, we can make a major step toward controlling our anger. Learning this release of anger is a gift that a person gives themselves. It enables the person to live a happier life without the constant reminder of what happened replaying in their mind and gives that person a peace that is more valuable than wealth. When faced with a situation that has become volatile another technique for anger management is to retreat to regain perspective and think the situation through.
This allows a person to gain the opportunity to step back from the situation and identify what is the root cause of their emotions and whether or not an angry reaction will help the situation or whether it will make the situation worse. If it is a person that is bringing about feelings of anger, then they should let that other person know that they will return to the discussion when they have cooled down. This way no harsh or hasty words are spoken, no feelings are hurt and control will have still been maintained while gaining time to think about what specifically has been the root cause of anger.
If a person is performing some type of work when feelings of frustration and anger begin to arise, the best choice is to stop what they are doing and do something completely different from what they were doing before. This again gives the person a time out break to think about the root causes of their anger and the specific reasons for their frustrations and by reducing tension that person is more likely to see a solution to whatever has frustrated them.
Anger is not created the same in every person, nor does every person show anger in the same way. Different beliefs as well as the way that people interpret different situations in their mind will produce different emotions (Kazdin). It is only when a person becomes aware of their limits and gains an understanding of their individual patterns of emotions that they are able to gain control of their emotions and learn to change how they respond to situations and events that they come into contact with.
After a person gains an awareness of the different elements in their mind and how they cause emotions, that person will be more able to use techniques to change the way that they react. With the ability to identify stress comes the opportunity to eliminate the focus of a person’s anger and unhappiness. The main benefit from learning how to identify all of the factors of stress and learning how to manage them is that, with practice, the identification and response becomes automatic and so there is no anger to control or manage because a person has none.
Courtney from Study Moose
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