Anger Management 101 – Therapists and Counselors in Austin
“I always feel bad after I get angry, but it’s like a beast inside of me. I want to control it, but sometimes it just rips its way out before I can stop myself.”
Anger happens, but if you’re experiencing frequent or intense anger, or tend to lash out at others when angry, you may be ready to seek help with anger management.
What is Anger?
Of course, anger is an emotion, and a common one at that. But for those who suffer from uncontrollable or frequent anger, it doesn’t feel common. It can feel scary; it can even be frightening for those who witness the person expressing their anger. For the person experiencing the anger, there might be an initial feeling of relief upon releasing the emotion. However, that feeling of relief is often eclipsed by feelings of regret if the expression was particularly inappropriate. It’s important to learn healthy ways to manage reactions to events or situations that cause feelings of displeasure.
How Does Anger Manifest?
Anger can manifest in many ways—an uncontrolled outburst is often the first thing that comes to mind, but it can also take form in the body, such as clenching the jaw, trembling, or feelings of nausea or dizziness caused by what’s happening in the body as a response to anger hormones.
The amygdala, a part of the brain, is responsible for protecting us from threats using the flight-or-flight response. While this response evolved to keep us safe, it often causes us to react before our prefrontal cortex, which is responsible for judgment and thought, can kick in (Mills). Despite our instinctual reactions, it is very possible to learn to act instead of react.
In dealing with anger management, there are several possible situations. Perhaps the person struggles with anger in general. In this case, the person will need to learn how to manage those feelings in a healthier manner. In another scenario, there are root issues that need to be addressed to enable the person to live a healthier life. For example, a person may have experienced trauma that was never processed. As a result, they lash out at others or otherwise don’t process stressful situations well. Once the past trauma is processed, the person will often find that their current anger issues become significantly more manageable.
Anger is a normal, healthy part of human existence. It’s meant to protect you from the situation your amygdala is perceiving as a threat. There are plenty of injustices in the world that may cause anger—children are hurt, we are victims of someone else’s anger, or maybe we are treated unfairly. What’s important is to recognize when you are experiencing anger and respond appropriately.
When is Anger a Problem?
As with other psychological issues, anger is a problem when it interferes with relationships, daily life, or even one’s relationship with oneself. Ideally, one should pause in anger to determine the cause, then communicate those feelings. If instead the person struggling lashes out at others present, and it happens on a regular basis, it’s likely time to seek counseling. Similarly, if anger is causing physical problems—high blood pressure, headaches, insomnia—or is resulting in the urge to self-harm, it might be time to seek counseling. You’re not alone—however your anger is manifesting, we’ve seen it all at Thriveworks-Austin.
How Anger Management Can Help
Anger management classes will typically last four to six weeks. Your therapist will work with you to determine the most effective treatment plan, but most anger management plans include learning to recognize causes of anger and identifying appropriate ways to respond to those triggers. The therapist and patient may also work to identify illogical thought patterns—situations in which the patient isn’t responding logically (The Mayo Clinic).
At Thriveworks Austin Counseling, we are experienced in anger management for people dealing with all kinds of anger—from those that lash out at others to those who internalize their feelings. More so, our therapists want to help. We’ve seen how difficult it is for clients dealing with frequent anger. Both the body and mind suffer⎯but when addressed appropriately, both the body and mind begin to function in a healthier way.
There’s a reason meditation is so often discussed—it can help calm both your body and your mind, altering your threshold for becoming angry. Similarly, prayer may help if it lines up with your belief system.
Additionally, writing in a journal can be of benefit in identifying triggers, and possibly in identifying how to help yourself. For example, if you find that much of your anger happens when you’re feeling stressed about making it somewhere on time, you can learn to manage your schedule to prevent the initial stressor. Keeping a journal can also help when speaking with your counselor, as you’ll be able to recognize patterns more quickly.
On a slightly different track, exercise is often touted as the great stress reliever, but it can also help with controlling anger (Eisold). Physical exertion releases feel-good chemicals in the body that can result in a calmer outlook, but time spent exercising is also time that can be spent figuring out what made you angry in the first place—and if you know what made you angry, you might be able to prevent the same level of anger if it occurs again.
Austin Anger Management
Uncontrollable anger is frustrating to live with. It can cause significant issues in friendships and work or family relationships, but it’s something you can learn to manage and possibly completely recover from. You don’t have to wait any longer to begin anger management in Austin—we strive to provide appointments within 24 hours.
You can heal. Counseling can help. Call Thriveworks Austin today to get started on the path to a healthier, calmer you.
We can be reached at 512-649-2266.
Eisold, Ken, PhD. “Anger and Exercise.” 2010. PsychologyToday.com.
The Mayo Clinic. “Anger Management.” MayoClinic.org.
Mills, Harvey, PhD. “Physiology of Anger.” 2005. MentalHelp.net.