Understanding anger to deal with it smartly

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What is anger?

Anger is an emotion characterized by hostility toward someone you feel has done you wrong. Anger is also a natural response to threats. When you are gripped in anger your body releases adrenaline and your heart rate and blood pressure increase. That forces you to do something about the trigger.

Many things can cause anger, like stress, family issues, and financial problems. In some people, anger can be aggravated by disorders, such as alcoholism or depression. Anger is not considered a disorder, but anger can trigger several mental health conditions and also is a symptom of a more serious problem.

Signs of anger you shouldn’t ignore

  • Are hurting others either verbally or physically.
  • Always find yourself feeling angry.
  • You have a feeling that your anger is out of control.
  • You frequently regret what you’ve said or done when angry.
  • Notice that small or petty things make you angry.

What can trigger someone’s anger?

There can be many triggers to anger, such as losing patience, feeling as if your opinion isn’t valued, and injustice. There can be other causes too like memories of traumatic or enraging events and too much worrying about personal problems.

While the threshold of anger for each person may vary. Sometimes you are unheard or underappreciated, seeking  respect, or having unmet needs. Some people may also experience anger when they’re physically or mentally hurt.

How to Defuse someone’s Anger

  1. Listen carefully and try to understand why someone is angry.
  2. Let the other person vent his anger and don’t interrupt.
  3. Change what the person is focused on. 
  4. Make empathetic statements. 
  5. You don’t need to support them for anger but don’t make them wrong. 
  6. Try to find a solution for the cause.

Anger and Rage

Rage is excessive anger that is highly violent or destructive. Rage can make someone physically violent or abusive. It can drive someone to physically attack or murder. So if you think you are angry for a long time and excessively angry, seek help immediately.

The objective of anger management is to reduce physiological arousal that anger causes. You can’t avoid the things or the people that enrage you.  You also cannot change them, but you can learn to control your own response and reactions.

Does anger have any benefit?

Anger is also a human emotion and it has positive attributes. It can give an outlet to express negative emotion or can help you identify something isn’t right. Thereby allowing you to be motivated  to find solutions to problems. But excessive anger generally  causes more problems.

When you experience distress, being angry strongly motivates you to find a solution to your distress. Anger also helps you cope with the stress discharging the tension in your body, that calms your nerves. That’s why after an angry outburst you feel calm afterward.

Anger can sometimes make you a better person and can bring a positive change. It provides insight into your faults. For example, if you know that certain things can make you angry or upset,you can work on these triggers to better respond to them and, by doing so, you can improve your quality of life and relationships.

Research has shown that anger can make you push on towards your goals in the face of obstacles.  So, when used correctly, constructive anger can make you strong and help push you towards your goal.

Anger causes physical and mental health problem in long run

Several research also strongly suggests that ignoring anger has damaging effects on your physical and mental health. A twelve-year long study on ten thousand people found that those who suppressed  their anger were twice as likely to die of heart problems.

Expressing displeasure or anger in a healthy way has little or no vengeance. Being able to express healthy anger means expressing your displeasure but not hurting other people verbally or physically. You need to communicate clearly and effectively and you don’t stay preoccupied with it long after the incident.

How to show anger such that it does the trick and you remain calm thereafter

  1. Always think before you speak when angry. 
  2. Express your anger calmly.
  3. When angry, take a timeout. 
  4. Identify possible solutions to issues causing you upset.
  5. Don’t hold a grudge. 
  6. Use humor to release tension.

How anger affects your cognition

Anger affects your thinking, memory, creativity, and weakens your focus. Your thoughts become one sided without coherent logic, exaggerated, and rigid. You accept assumptions as facts and become  irrational.

If you are angry you  put the blame on individuals or society, rather than fate. Angry people act without thinking, so they can risk themselves and others if they are in a high decision making position. Research also shows that angry people rely more on stereotypes and act on them without thinking of consequences.

Anger inhibits your ability to think about anything. You only focus on the anger, what has happened to you, what has been done to you, etc. You will be preoccupied with anger so you cannot think about anything else that isn’t related to your anger. and this destroys your ability to make any kind of sound decision.

Benefit of showing anger

Anger can be a positive thing  if it is expressed correctly. Anger can be a tool that can help you understand and respond to upsetting situations. Research overwhelmingly shows that feeling angry increases creativity and improves performance and research also suggests that expressing anger correctly can lead to more successful negotiations which can positively impact on life or on the job.

Since anger is a natural response to threats. It inspires powerful and aggressive behaviors.,which helps you fight and to defend against attacks. A certain amount of anger, therefore, is necessary to survival.

What to do if someone is angry at you

  1. Don’t ignore the angry person.
  2. Listen carefully to what they have to say.
  3. Keep your voice calm when they’re upset.
  4. Try to talk things through.
  5. Acknowledge their displeasure, but don’t back down if you disagree. 
  6. Avoid pushing advice or opinions on them. 
  7. Give an angry person space.

Why is anger a learned behaviour?

Anger can run in families, and genetics may also influence anger which might help you to explain angry behaviour. However, there’s another important factor that can lead younger family members to adopt angry tendencies from their relatives i.e. learner behaviour.

Your anger patterns are learned behaviour from our parents and relatives. Children learn quickly from their parents and relatives through a process of social learning, and especially observational learning. They adapt themselves to the behaviors they see their parents do.

Although none is immune to frustrating or abusive situations, most anger is generally short-lived. However some people learn to be angry in childhood by copying angry people who target others by being hostile and making threats.

Are you an angry parent?

If you are an angry parent and show anger towards children, it can have long-term effects on them, like anxiety, low self-esteem, and can make them aggressive. It also makes children more at risk of bullying since their perception of healthy boundaries and self-respect are distorted.

Why do some children get angry?

Children can also become angry when they cannot get what they want or are asked to do something that they might not feel like doing. For children, anger issues often accompany other conditions like ADHD, autism and obsessive-compulsive disorder.

Teaching children to deal with anger

  1. Be a good example to children by showing healthy anger behaviour.
  2. Develop a calm-down plan.
  3. Prepare them to cope with anger.
  4. Don’t give in to their tantrums.
  5. Avoid violent media like games or videos.

Dealing with angry husband or wife 

Anger bursts between spouses can hurt relationships deeply and cause significant damage to their marriage that can lead to divorce.

For example, job stress or loss, financial problems, or changes in his physical health are causes of stress. If not managed properly affects mood and behavior that can lead to an angry spouse. These factors can contribute to having an angry spouse to deal with – more often than not.

What do you do when your partner is angry at you?

  1. Don’t be reactive. 
  2. Understand it is not about you. 
  3. Apologize first then try to make your point.
  4. Analyze the cause and try to improve.
  5. Empathize
  6. Be Patient
  7. Take care of yourself.

Anger management programmes

 A typical anger management programme consists of a small group with 1-to-1 counselling. The programme may be 1-day long or over a couple of months. The structure of the programme is flexible but most programmes include cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) with counselling.

Below are some of the most effective forms of therapy used to treat anger.

  • Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT).
  • Psychodynamic therapy. 
  • Group therapy. 
  • Play therapy.
  • Pet therapy

Apps for anger management

Apps are tools that you can access via your smartphone that focus on improving different aspects of your behaviour. These tools may focus on a range of areas like relaxation, stress management, and sleep which can predict your anger and can alert you about it so that you can take proper steps to correct.

Following is a list of popular apps that can help you manage your anger:

  • Talkspace. 
  • Pacifica
  • What’s up
  • Breathe2Relax
  • Happify
  • Headspace
  • Mood kit
  • Calm

Vitamins for anger

Several vitamins and supplements can help you reduce stress and anger symptoms, including Rhodiola rosea, melatonin, glycine, and ashwagandha. L-theanine and B vitamins may also help increase your body’s immunity thus making you resistant to stress. Thus making you more immune against anger.

By John Gurung

A former software developer who is now a blogging enthusiast. A true digital nomad.

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