Anger Is Normal
Did you just get cut off in traffic, is your dog’s endless barking testing your diminishing patience? Anger is a part of human biology, but the way we react to these feelings of anger can greatly change our life and our relationships. When we lash out either physically or verbally it can be paralyzing and terrifying for those in proximity. This could also cause long-lasting trauma to our loved ones. Temper Management Issues can result in things like this being said frequently (After lashing out or attacking others); “You know you shouldn’t upset me”, “Don’t bother me when I am doing this”, “Sorry I was just angry”, “I’ve just been stressed out”.
Anger Is Manageable
There are answers and solutions to this situation. Here are a few steps when anger strikes:
- Breathe: In the heat of the moment, take a second to think about what you are about to say, and how that is going to affect others. Will that really make a positive impact?
- Exercise: Exercise can dramatically decrease your anger and frustration.
- Expressing yourself: Instead of saying things like “You never help clean the dishes” or “You’re always acting like this” Say “I get upset when you leave the table without offering to help clean up. Or “I get hurt when you do this action or say this thing”.
Often anger and temper problems are a sign of something deeper. Sometimes it is to mask some sort of embarrassment, insecurity or vulnerability. The thinking is that if people are afraid of you they can mock you. This is most commonly the case for those that have a knee-jerk reaction to jump to anger. This is even more common for those that grew up in a family and environment where expressing emotions and insecurities were not commonplace. That upbringing creates a challenge for adults to express or acknowledge emotions other than anger.
Similarly, anger can be covering up anxiety. When presented with a situation in life our natural “Fight or Flight” response is triggered, and for some “Fight” is manifested by anger or aggression. To solve this, one must dive deeper to find the root of the anxiety in their life. Anger could also be a learned behavior, again if you grew up in a family that always fought and yelled and threw things, you may think that is how anger is supposed to be expressed.
Although you may think that your anger comes without warning or cause, there are some signs you can look for as situations arise and tensions grow. Some include:
- Knots in your stomach
- Clenching your hands or jaw
- Feeling clammy or flushed
- Breathing faster
- Trouble concentrating
- Pounding Heart
Certain thinking can encourage your anger, for example:
- Overgeneralizing: “You NEVER this, you ALWAYS that”
- Obsession with “Should or Must” i.e. You have an idea of how things are supposed to go, and if they don’t chaos ensues.
- Mind Reading & Conclusions: You think you know the motivation behind actions and words, so you jump to anger at a comment that you thought had malice behind it. You think you “know” that someone intentionally wronged you.
- Collecting Anger: You start looking for small things to be angry at, letting all those small things build up to an eruption, meanwhile ignoring the small blessings and good things.
- Blaming: When something happens to you, you jump to things like “life isn’t fair” or it is not my fault I act this way. You always blame others.
Once you recognize anger is a problem in your life, you’ve already made the biggest and hardest step on the path to progression and growth. There are multiple things you can do to treat your frustrations and anger. Learn how to cool down quickly.
Now that you’ve identified your symptoms and hopefully some triggers, you can take the steps to cool down before lashing out. Take some deep breaths, walk around, stretch your body and massage tense parts. It’s okay to disagree. It’s okay to be upset at someone, it’s even okay to disagree.
However, It is not okay to attack, yell or ever physically hurt anyone. You can express anger by calmly talking to others about your feelings. “Fight Fair” – Allow the other party to talk through their pain too. Focus on the present. Don’t bring the past into your discussion. Forgive. Diet & Lifestyle.
What you eat and do can affect your anger. Make sure you are eating a proper diet. Sleeping enough sleep and exercising. Caffeine in large amounts can cause irritability.
Humor can dispel a situation. Sometimes even poking fun at a frustrating situation can greatly increase your mood and ability to tackle the situation calmly.
Seeking professional help
Lastly, sometimes you need a more tailored plan of action. You may need someone to be accountable to. Seeking professional help is nothing to be ashamed of or embarrassed about. Professional help can identify underlying causes and factors of your anger.
Once managed and under control. People struggling with anger and frustration can live a much happier life, with healthy relationships and even better physical well-being. Remember it is okay to be upset, it’s just important what we do when we are upset that matters.