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REFLECTIONS

BLOWING A FUSE

To manage or not to manage, that is the question.

Do you fire up quickly about things? Is this impacting your life? Are you afraid of your own anger? Even worse, are others afraid of you? We can all manage our anger better at times, but what are some effective strategies? Keep reading to find out!

 

What is anger?

Considered a normal human emotion, anger is defined as a strong feeling of annoyance, displeasure, or hostility. Typically expressed by shouting, yelling, swearing or in extreme cases, physical aggression toward people or objects; it can also be subtle with individual withdrawing.

 

What causes anger?

Anger is often connected to other emotions such as frustration, sadness, shame, guilt, or fear. Some examples include:
– not achieving that mark you worked hard for or believe you deserved on that mid-year exam
– a situation may have gone the opposite of what you had pre-planned or hoped for
– perhaps people aren’t acting the way you would like them to
– or maybe there is no obvious trigger, you just feel angry!
Regardless of what led you to your anger, anger can be a harmful emotion if we don’t know how to manage it.

 

What are some problems associated with anger?

Besides the obvious problem of anger causing conflicts with family, friends, colleagues, and in extreme cases, the law; there are some other problems associated that not many people are aware of, such as:
– Feelings of guilt or disappointment
– Low self-esteem
– Depression
– Anxiety
– High blood pressure
– Heart disease

In addition to the above, studies have indicated that those with anger issues tend to drink alcohol more often which can lead to a wider range of health concerns.

 

Do you have a problem with anger?

Perhaps you, or someone you know, has identified that anger may be an issue for you. If you’re not sure whether or not this is the case, some questions you can ask yourself are:
– Do you feel as though feeling angry or irritated is a daily occurrence for you?
– Do you feel angry more often than those around you?
– Do you self-medicate with drugs or alcohol to manage your anger?
– Do you find your anger leads you to become violent?
– Is your anger sometimes out of proportion to the situation?
– Is your anger causing issues within your relationships with family, friends or colleagues?
– Do those around you consider you intimidating or frightening?
– Do those around you consider anger to be an issue for you?
– Does it typically take a long time for your anger to subside?
– Has your anger led you to be in trouble with the law?
– Do you take your frustration out on those around you instead of confronting what triggered your anger?

If you answered yes to any of the above questions, perhaps anger is an issue for you. Fortunately, addressing this anger and learning coping strategies can help improve your health and wellbeing, as well as improve the state of the relationships around you.

 

What are some strategies to cope with my anger?

Learning how to cope with anger is a step-by-step process which requires persistence.
Identify what triggers your anger. Identifying where your anger stems from is a great way to ensure you can avoid certain situations or be prepared to better manage your anger. Start by writing a list of situations that normally trigger you, e.g. your partner not helping with the dishes.
Identify early warning signs. Now that you know what normally triggers your anger, the next step is to identify the early warning signs. This gives an individual the ability to channel their thoughts into a better space and to intervene early with coping strategies. Start by writing a list of signs that warn you you’re getting angry, e.g. tightness in your chest.
Identify what it is about the scenario that makes you angry. Identifying what it is about a scenario that angers you can help you address your anger and allows you to accept that although the scenario may be frustrating, that you do not have to hold on to anger all day or take it out on those around you.
Implement useful techniques. Take a time-out if you feel yourself getting angry, e.g. go for a small walk. Distract yourself with something else, e.g. listen to your favourite song. Attempt to be humorous to lighten your mood, e.g. make a silly joke, watch a funny movie. Relax your body and mind, e.g. focus on your breathing, watch the ocean at the beach.
Implement self-talk and helpful thinking. Make a list of self-talk and helpful thinking ideas you can include in your coping strategies to better control your anger, e.g. instead of focusing on how unfair a situation is, you can direct your focus on not raising your voice by implementing your coping strategies.
Assertiveness. Learning how to state your opinion or express your views without being aggressive is a key strategy to managing anger effectively.
Practice. As with all things, practice makes perfect and a mistake doesn’t derail your progress in managing your anger.

 

If anger is impacting your life, Self Reflections Psychology is here for you and would love to meet you, to help you transition to a healthier, happier mindset. To book, please call 02 4288 4157 or use our online portal.

If there is anything you think was important to add into this weeks’ blog that was not included, want to share your story, or if there’s a topic you’d like us to cover, we’d love to hear from you.

Wishing you all a lovely week, from the team at Self Reflections.

 

This week’s blog was based on information found in the following sources:

Centre for Clinical Interventions (What is Anger)

Centre for Clinical Intervention (Anger Coping Strategies)