Anger is a very powerful emotion that can help or hurt you, and others around you. Anger is a normal emotion, and even a healthy one – if you deal with it in a positive way. However, if you feel like you are unable to control your anger and it is controlling you, then you may need to seek help.
It is important to deal with anger in a positive way, as if you hold it in it can lead to a passive/aggressive behavior of wanting to get back at people.
Anger issues are quite common with about 22 million Americans, 8.9%, of the population have impulse anger issues and are unable to control their anger.
Symptoms of anger based issues
If you recognize yourself as having some of these feelings and behaviors on a regular basis, it may mean you do have an issue around anger and that you may need some help.
- Inability to remain calm during arguments
- Small things almost always turn into a big thing
- You find yourself get extremely angry over very small things
- Heart racing
- Muscle tension
- Violent acts towards objects, animals or people
- Inability to think straight
How can you manage your anger?
You may be able to follow some simple steps to help you to manage your anger better, but you may need more than this to help yourself have true change from your anger issues.
Here are some simple tips that you can try to improve your angry response:
- When you start to feel anger, take some very deep, slow breaths. Have a word or a phrase that works for you to focus on – something like “calm”, or “relax” or “breathe”. Something that gets you to focus on your breath and not on the situation and your anger
- Taking time outs at very stressful parts of your day can help you to gain perspective and have a moment to gather your thoughts, without just reacting to the situation at hand. A few moments of quiet time can help you to feel better prepared for what’s to come.
- Exercise and physical activity can help to balance your chemicals and can help to release tension and anger, as well as improving mood. It doesn’t matter what physical activity you choose to do, but try to find something that you enjoy. You may not enjoy it at first, but commit to sticking to some sort of physical activity for at least 3-4 weeks to ensure you get into the routine and have time to see the positive changes it has on your emotions.
- Avoid using recreational drugs or drinking too much alcohol. Both of these cause you to lose your inhibitions and can make you more irritable and less able to handle frustrations. Alcohol may seem to relax you, but alcohol in excess can add to your anger issues rather than cause to relax and be in control of yourself.
- Support from family and friends, or even a support group can help. By talking to others it can help you to feel understood and less alone. By talking through your feelings, it can help you to work through some of the issues and help you to take positive steps to change.
- If you are unsure as to what triggers your anger or when you are having angry thoughts, try to keep a journal of when you feel angry and why. This can help you to understand your triggers, and can sometimes help to take away their power to evoke anger in you.
It is important to express your anger, but not in a hurtful or destructive manner. By taking some deep breaths, or thinking about the cause of your anger first, you might be able to control your emotions and then respond in a calm and constructive way.
This is where treatment can help, as experienced health professionals can help to teach you steps to control and manage your anger in a healthier way.
The dangers of not expressing anger
If you don’t deal with your anger, and keep it suppressed inside, it can lead to anxiety and depression. It can increase your risk of illness and cause destruction in your relationships, and even your work.
Long-term anger has been linked to serious health conditions like heart problems, headaches, high blood pressure, problems sleeping and digestive problems.
Untreated anger can lead to great harm to the people around you as the anger builds and takes over your life.
Treatment for anger management
If you are experiencing extreme anger and you can see the impact it is having on your relationships and on other areas of your life, then you may need professional help. At The Center • A Place of HOPE we offer anger management for both men and women.
It is important that treatment is specialized for you as an individual, and at The Center • A Place of HOPE we take the time to hear your full story and understand where these anger issues may have come from. It could have come from childhood trauma or abuse, or from alcohol or drug use, or from grief for a broken relationship. Whatever the cause of your anger is, we will work with you to help you to take steps forward and regain your life. Your treatment plan may consist of talk therapy and maybe some medications.
Anger does not need to define you; it is possible to change.