Anger can be caused by a whole lot of different things. Patience with yourself and loved ones encourages progress!
What is Anger?
In the most general sense, anger is a feeling or emotion that ranges from mild irritation to intense fury and rage. Anger is a natural response to those situations where we feel threatened, we believe harm will come to us, or we believe that another person has unnecessarily wronged us. We may also become angry when we feel another person, like a child or someone close to us, is being threatened or harmed. In addition, anger may result from frustration when our needs, desires, and goals are not being met.
Anger is a secondary emotion, meaning that it is a response to another feeling. Anger can be caused by an external source such as somebody did something to me or an internal source such as emotional wounds. For example, anger can be a response to depression. Depression doesn’t always portray itself as sadness or lost interest but can also portray itself in terms of being irritable or frustrated. People can outwardly express anger when they were triggered by feelings of anxiety, guilt, fear, frustration, or sadness.
Everybody experiences anger and everybody expresses it. It is a natural and healthy human emotion when managed effectively. But it can be a source of various physical, mental, emotional, social, or legal problems when not managed effectively. Anger can be a good thing. It can give you a way to express negative feelings, for example, or motivate you to find solutions to problems. But excessive anger can cause problems. Increased blood pressure and other physical changes associated with anger make it difficult to think straight and harm your physical and mental health.
People often confuse anger with aggression. Aggression is behavior that is intended to cause harm to another person or damage property. This behavior can include verbal abuse, threats, or violent acts. Anger, on the other hand, is an emotion and does not necessarily lead to aggression. Therefore, a person can become angry without acting aggressively.
When Does Anger Become a Problem?
Anger becomes a problem when it is felt too intensely, is felt too frequently, or is expressed inappropriately. Feeling anger too intensely or frequently places extreme physical strain on the body. During prolonged and frequent episodes of anger, certain divisions of the nervous system become highly activated. Consequently, blood pressure and heart rate increase and stay elevated for long periods. This stress on the body may produce many different health problems, such as hypertension, heart disease, and diminished immune system efficiency. Thus, from a health standpoint, avoiding physical illness is a motivation for controlling anger.
In the extreme, anger may lead to violence or physical aggression, which can result in numerous negative consequences, such as being arrested or jailed, being physically injured, being retaliated against, losing loved ones, being terminated from a substance abuse treatment or social service program, or feeling guilt, shame, or regret.
Even when anger does not lead to violence, the inappropriate expression of anger, such as verbal abuse or intimidating or threatening behavior, often results in negative consequences. For example, it is likely that others will develop fear, resentment, and lack of trust toward those who subject them to angry outbursts, which may cause alienation from individuals, such as family members, friends, and co-workers.
How to break the anger habit
You can break the anger habit by becoming aware of what triggers your anger. You must develop an awareness of the events, circumstances, and behaviors of others that “trigger” your anger. This awareness also involves understanding the negative consequences that result from anger.
Strategies for Controlling Anger
In addition to becoming aware of anger, you need to develop strategies to effectively manage it. These strategies can be used to stop the escalation of anger before you lose control and experience negative consequences. An effective set of strategies for controlling anger should include both immediate and preventive strategies.
Immediate strategies include taking a timeout, deep-breathing exercises, and thought-stopping. The timeout can be used formally or informally. For now, we will only describe the informal use of a timeout. This use involves leaving a situation if you feel your anger is escalating out of control. For example, you may be a passenger on a crowded bus and become angry because you perceive that people are deliberately bumping into you. In this situation, you can simply get off the bus and wait for a less crowded bus.
The informal use of a timeout may also involve stopping yourself from engaging in a discussion or argument if you feel that you are becoming too angry. In these situations, it may be helpful to actually call a timeout or to give the timeout sign with your hands. This lets the other person know that you wish to immediately stop talking about the topic and are becoming frustrated, upset, or angry.
Preventive strategies include developing an exercise program and changing your irrational beliefs.
Everybody experiences anger and everybody expresses it. However, some people manage their anger in healthy ways whilst others are managed by their anger in unhealthy ways.
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