Anger is a very powerful and normal emotion that we are born with. Anger experts describe it as a primary and natural emotion that has evolved as a survival tool and a way to protect us from wrongs. Experiencing treatment that is unfair, hearing criticism or not getting something you want are a few triggers for anger.
People can experience anger on a scale from mild irritation to frustration to rage. While anger is a normal part of life, one in three people are overwhelmed and affected by uncontrolled anger and high levels of stress. If unmanaged, anger can cause serious health problems, as well as stalling the healthy physical and emotional development of children.
If you are experiencing anger that is out of control, and it’s alienating friends, co-workers, and family members, it’s important to seek help. Hostile, aggressive anger not only poses many health risks, but it can also lead to social isolation. At Thriveworks, the professionally licensed and credentialed therapists and counselors have helped thousands of people to overcome their struggles with anger every year. For more than a decade, the team of trained professionals has helped people manage their anger, leading to more fulfilling lives.
Causes of Anger
One of the major reasons for anger is a person’s environment, such as stress, finances, poor social and family situations, abuse, and too many demands on time. Just like disorders, such as alcoholism, anger may be more apt to run in families where the parents have the same disorder. In addition, genetics and the body’s ability to handle chemicals and hormones are also part of how a person deals with anger.
Health Risks of Anger
Uncontrollable anger is a detriment to your social life. It can prevent you from leading an enjoyable life. But, did you know it also poses many risks to your health? The following are some of the effects anger can have on the body.
- Cardiac health. (According to Chris Aiken, MD, an instructor in clinical psychiatry at the Wake Forest University School of Medicine, “repressed anger—where you express it indirectly or go to great lengths to control it, is associated with heart disease.” A study found people with anger were at double the risk of coronary disease than others.)
- Increased anxiety.
- High blood pressure.
- Digestive problems.
- Skin problems, including eczema.
Ways to Manage Anger
Sometimes it’s hard to keep from being angry. There are all types of situations that can cause your temper to flare, such as a traffic jam that’s making you late for an important meeting at work or dealing with a stubborn child. It’s essential to deal with anger positively—both for your health and your relationships with others. Try the following tips to help you manage your anger the next time somebody cuts you off in traffic or a co-worker doesn’t come through with their part of a huge project at work.
- In the moment of anger, you may say something that you’ll regret later on. Before speaking, it’s important to get your thoughts together.
- Once you’ve thought about the situation, you can communicate your frustration in an assertive way. This will enable you to talk about your concerns and needs in a focused, direct manner. You less apt to hurt others with your words—or burn any bridges–this way.
- Get out of the room or away from the building and walk or run off the anger. This will give you the time you need to think about the situation more clearly while getting in some healthy exercise.
- Take a break at certain intervals in the day that seem to be more stressful. The bit of peaceful time may help you to deal with situations without getting angry or frustrated.
- If you are able to figure out what made you mad, you can get to work on avoiding or managing the anger. If your child’s room is a disaster area, simply close the door. If a co-worker is always late for the regular morning meeting you set up, schedule it a bit later when you know he’ll be more likely to be on time.
- Focus on the “big picture.” Will losing your temper help you get to your goal?
- See if you can understand the situation through the other person’s point of view.
- Instead of bottling up your feelings, discuss concerns and work to find solutions.
- Sometimes it’s healthy to say no, especially if you have a lot of things on your calendar. By using time management skills, you can choose what your priorities are and what you are better off saying no to.
- Use deep breathing techniques and muscle relaxation to keep yourself calm.
Ways to Manage Long-Term Anger
The following are a number of ways that may help you to manage long-term anger.
- When you have an angry outburst, write about it in a notebook reserved for this exercise only. This may help you to keep track of the outbursts and understand what the triggers are that make you angry.
- Try assertiveness training, which teaches you about the ways to resolve conflicts.
- Learn to meditate or try yoga, and use these relaxation techniques the next time you feel yourself becoming angry.
- Find time to exercise each day.
- Seek the help of a therapist, especially if you continue to be angry about things that happened in the past.
If you want to live your life without uncontrollable anger, the therapists at Thriveworks in Bristol, Virginia are ready to work with you. The trained therapists hold professional licenses and credentials and will help you to recognize the causes of your anger, teach you the ways to respond to its triggers in positive ways and make a plan to effectively manage it. Call Thriveworks to get started on the path to leading a healthier life–mentally and physically. Call us today at (423) 822-5099, and experience the Thriveworks difference!