Every emotion has an appropriate time and place, as well as both healthy and unhealthy modes of expression. The emotion of anger is neither good nor bad. Like any emotion, the function of anger is conveying a message. Anger helps us to recognize that a situation is upsetting, or unjust, or threatening. It is normal for everyone to be angry at times. Anger becomes problematic when we feel angry most of the times, or our temper tends to flare up within seconds. It is important to learn how to control our anger, rather than anger controlling us. Sometimes we may struggle with identifying the emotion in itself, especially if we are feeling more than one emotion. It is important to notice the unhelpful thinking pattern, certain events, and our physical sensation of anger that leads to an aggressive behaviour. Anger can trigger the body’s “fight or flight” response. Remember, physical sensation of anger can differ from person to person.
Physical Sensations for Anger:
· Heart rate goes up
· Heavy breathing
· Body temperature goes up
· Jaw and fists may clench
· Tone of voice may get louder than usual
Anger is often a secondary emotion; usually there is an underlying emotion such as sadness, boredom, jealousy, anxiety etc. Anger is often a cover-up for other feelings. Some people find it easier to express anger than any other emotion. In order to express our anger in appropriate ways, we need to be in touch with what we are really feeling.
Triggers for Anger:
1) Trouble expressing emotions other than anger.
2) Hard time compromising.
3) Always want to be in control, and struggles to look at the situation from other people’s perspective.
4) Certain relationships, events, or people.
5) When a goal is being blocked, or feeling threatened.
Tips to Manage Anger:
Think before you speak: In the heat of the moment, sometimes we find it easier to say something that we will later regret. Take a few moments to collect your thoughts before saying anything and encourage others involved in the situation to do the same.
Stick with "I" statements: Try using "I" statements to describe the problem, rather than using “you” which can come off as more critical and placing blame on others. Be respectful and specific. For example, say, "I feel angry when I hear you say that I am not doing enough housework.”
Take a timeout: Timeouts aren't just for kids; it works for adults as well. A few moments of quiet time might help us feel better prepared to handle what's ahead without getting irritated or angry.
Identify possible solutions: Instead of focusing on what made you angry, work on resolving the issue at hand. Remind yourself that anger won't fix anything and might only escalate the situation.
Practice relaxation skills: Practice deep-breathing exercises, imagine a relaxing scene, or repeat a calming word or phrase, such as "Take it easy." Listen to music, write your thoughts and emotions in a journal or go for a walk — whatever it takes to encourage relaxation.
Taking a cold shower can also help to reduce body temperature and the intensity of anger, so we can think clearly and make a wise decision in the present moment.
Know when to seek professional help: Learning to control anger is a challenge for everyone at times. Seek professional help for anger issues if your anger seems out of control, and causes you to do things you regret or hurts your loved ones.