Excessive anger is a major threat to marital and family psychological and physical health. When a spouse expresses anger on a daily or regular basis, it can hurt the marriage in numerous ways, including damaging trust, causing the spouse and others to distance themselves from the person, as well as lead to sadness, loneliness, anxiety, and low self-esteem. People who are angry risk heart attacks, strokes, and other serious illnesses. In addition, children in the household are affected in many ways, such as having a fear that the parents will divorce or separate; losing the safe feeling in the home and trust in parents; believing that parents don’t really care for them; and repeating the angry behaviors of the angry parent. In addition, children can suffer from disorders like irritable bowel and headaches, as well as sadness and anxiety disorders.
When a person is angry, it affects everybody in the household. They may take their frustrations out on others, themselves, or objects. Some people argue aggressively, yell insulting names, give dirty looks or make threatening gestures.
The experienced therapists at Thriveworks in Nashville, TN have worked with thousands of people with uncontrollable anger to help them find the causes and triggers of their anger and healthy ways to respond to the triggers. They will work with individuals to find an anger management treatment plan in order for them to have happier marriages, family harmony, and more fulfilling lives.
Warning Signs of Anger
To monitor anger, it is important to know the cues that occur as a result of the event. The cues are the warning signs of anger. There are four cue categories, including physical, behavioral, emotional, and cognitive.
Physical Cues. This involves the way the body responds when you become angry. There may be tightness in the chest, a flushed feeling, or increased heart rate. These cues help to gauge that you are angry and it is continuing to get out of control.
Behavioral Cues. The behaviors displayed when you are angry are also seen by others. They include pacing back and forth, slamming doors, yelling, and fist-clenching.
Emotional Cues. These are feelings that may occur with anger. For some people, they become angry when they feel abandoned, guilty, impatient, jealous or disrespected. These are the primary feelings that are underlying anger, and they make you feel vulnerable.
Cognitive Cues. These are the thoughts you have in response to the event that made you angry. Some people may interpret events in one way, such as taking a spouse’s comment as a criticism. Or, sometimes, they interpret the actions of other people as humiliating or controlling. These thoughts—or “self-talk”—are like a conversation you have with yourself. People with anger problems are usually critical and hostile in their self-talk. In addition to self-talk are fantasies and images that can indicate the anger is escalating. These fantasies may be about getting revenge on a perceived enemy or imagining a spouse having an affair. These types of fantasies and images can cause anger to escalate quickly.
Steps to Manage Anger
- Recognize that your anger is a problem.
- Take a time-out.
- Monitor your anger level.
- Challenge the perceptions and thoughts that make you angry. There may be hostility where none exists and “black or white” thinking. In addition, it is important to note that not having a meltdown does not mean you are allowing the other person to abuse you.
- Use relaxation techniques, such as slow, deep abdominal breathing; contracting and relaxing different muscle groups; and meditation.
- Use humor.
- Listen to your emotions. Once the anger has subsided, you can find it easier to think more clearly. Find the message from your anger and what you want to do about it.
- Dig a little to understand where your anger is coming from. If you recognize a pattern in the kinds of events that cause anger, make a note of when you have experienced similar reactions in the past.
Anger Can Wreak Havoc on Your Health
When you are angry often—and the anger is not managed—there are many consequences to your health. When the body experiences high levels of adrenaline and cortisol over long durations regularly, it can result in a variety of illnesses. Some of the health problems that you may experience are:
- Lower threshold for pain
- Sleep problems
- Digestive problems
- Back/head pains and aches
- Substance Abuse
- High blood pressure
- Eating Disorders
- Substance abuse
Don’t wait any longer to begin anger management therapy at Thriveworks in Nashville, TN. For the past 10 years, the counselors at Thriveworks have worked with thousands of people to recognize the causes of anger, how to respond to its triggers in positive ways, and find the most effective anger management treatment plan. Call Thriveworks in Nashville, TN today to get started on the path to leading a healthier life–mentally and physically.