Anger is a basic human emotion which is essential to our survival. When a baby screams because it is hungry or experiencing discomfort, medications
Although it is a healthy, see normal and necessary emotion it is probably also the most complex. It can be a positive force for change or to right something that we feel is wrong.
Societies and families have often strong views on how it can be used. Unregulated anger can be destructive when it is out of control and turns to aggression or violence.
If anger cannot be expressed it can lead to physical problems, sales depression and anxiety, self-harming behaviours and can have a negative impact on relationships.
Anger, like all the emotions, causes physiological and chemical changes in the body. Heart rates and adrenaline levels increase as the body experiences anger. For some people these surges can become addictive and destructive. There is a fine line between acknowledging anger and venting it and becoming out of control.
What are symptoms of an anger problem?
- Uncontrollable, angry outbursts
- Violence and controlling behaviour
- Feelings of rage when driving, at work, or in social situations
- Depression or anxiety may indicate introverted anger
- Alcohol or drug dependence may cover an anger problem
There are many reasons why people are unable to control their anger; often it is a family or cultural pattern that has never been explored. In some families people expressing anger is unacceptable and a sign or failure. Tiredness, stress, pain and hormonal imbalances can all contribute to the problem.
We all have triggers for our anger. Understanding what they are and re-examining our thoughts and feelings around them can be among the first steps to managing anger.
How anger management or counselling may help:
- Examining the triggers for our anger and understanding them
- Looking at our own unhealthy beliefs attached to our anger
- Reassessing some of the unhelpful beliefs about anger in our family/society
- Understanding how anger affects our close relationships
- Taking responsibility for our own anger and associated behaviours
Anger can be:
- Used effectively to sort out injustices and grievances
- Disowned and take on a life of its own – as in aggressive behaviour
- Disconnected and projected into those around us
- Turned inwards, initially for safety, resulting in depression or self-harm
The goal of anger regulation is to reduce the feelings and arousal that anger creates. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy can help people to manage their anger more appropriately, and other forms of counselling may help to explore the underlying issues. Knowing how to recognise and express anger in a healthy way can help individuals reach their goals, solve problems and have their needs met.