What is anger?
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What is anger?

Anger isn't always bad, but you must be able to handle it appropriately.  Consider the purpose your anger serves and the best approach to anger management.  Anger itself isn't a problem - it's how you handle it.  Consider the nature of anger, as well as how to manage anger and what to do when you're confronted by someone whose anger is out of control.
 
What is anger?  Anger is a natural response to a perceived threat.  A perceived threat may be a real threat to you but not to someone else.  Your response is based on your own core beliefs and past experiences.  Anger is a warning bell that tells you when something is wrong.  Let me give you an example of a perceived threat that many of us experience that triggers our warning bells.  Traffic.  We all have had the moment when we are complete calm as we are driving down the road and another driver nearly hit us because they are driving careless.  Your natural response is that this is a threat and you become angry.  You may express your anger by yelling or you may simply tense up at the wheel.  Anger causes your body to release adrenaline...which is the fight or flight hormone.  This hormone when release into the blood stream increases muscle tension, heart rate and blood pressure.  Anger can possibly trigger other emotions such as sadness, disappointment or frustration.  Your anger becomes a problem when you do not manage it in a healthy way.
 
No, anger is not always a bad thing.  Being angry can motivate people to listen to your concerns.  Being angry can prevent others from walking all over you.  It can motivate you to get involved in causes and do great things.  The key is always to use anger in a healthy way.
 
What causes you to be angry?  You might have many things to feel threatened by; from financial crises and peer pressure to drug addiction and war - and you may respond in a negative way.  Still, most people do not walk around feeling angry all the time.  They have learned to manage their emotions.  When someone actually explodes in anger there is typically a triggering event - such as disagreement at work, being criticized or family conflict - these can bring a mix of simmering emotions to the surface. 
 
As I mention earlier, your core beliefs, the things you learned in your family of origin about anger and your personal history feed your reactions to anger as well.  For example, if you were taught that being anger is a bad thing, you might not know how to express your anger properly.  You become frustrated, simmer and make yourself miserable or the anger builds up until you explode in an angry outburst.  In some cases, an underlying medical condition or brain chemistry can contribute or trigger an angry outburst. 
 
What is the best way to handle your anger?  When you're angry, you can choose to express or suppress it.  Here's is the difference:  Expression is the act of conveying your anger.  Expressing anger can range from a reasonable, rational discussion to a violent outburst.  Suppression: is an attempt to hold or ignore your emotions.  This also includes passive-aggressive movements and actions.  You do not express your anger constructively but instead scheme to retaliate.
 
Once you learn to choose the constructive tools for expressions of anger such as stating your concerns, clearly and without hurting others or trying to control them you will be healthier.
 
Can anger harm your health?  Some of the research on anger suggests that inappropriate expressing anger - such as keeping things pent up or having anger violent outbursts can be harmful to your health.  These can aggravate chronic pain or lead to sleep difficulties or digestion problems.  There is further evidence that stress and hostility can lead to heart disease or a heart attack.
 
When do you need to get professional help?  Everyone can gain some benefits from anger management training.  We all struggle with learning to control our anger at times.  Consider seeking help if you feel that your anger seems out of control, causes you regret, hurts those around you or is taking a toll of your personal relationship or your health.  With professional help and the tools that I offer in therapy you can: 
  1. Learn what anger is
  2. Identify what triggers your anger
  3. Recognize signs that you're becoming angry
  4. Learn to respond to frustration and anger in a controlled, health way
  5. Explore your feelings, that contribute to angry such as depression and sadness
 
Anger management classes and therapy can be done individually, with your partner or spouse or other family members, or in a group setting.  Contact me today to schedule an interview.

13 Comments to What is anger?:

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