Anger is seen as the negative emotion, when in reality it can help people to make needed changes in one’s life. Anger is a natural reaction to life and requires individualized attention to acknowledge, manage, and learn from it.
Although anger is an emotion that makes many people uncomfortable, it is important to honor it. Anger does not have to be destructive or negative. As a matter of fact, your anger can forewarn you to protect yourself or move away from a harmful situation. If properly channeled, the adrenaline that comes from anger can assist you in making healthy decisions.
If your anger feels uncontrollable, you can manage it by paying attention to three components that are associated with angry feelings.
What feelings accompany your anger? Many people feel different emotions when they experience anger. Some feel upset or angry, while others feel rage or hurt. Women often feel sadness when in reality they are experiencing anger. Men feel anger when sadness is at the emotional root of their pain. It’s important to know your emotions to know when the primary feeling of anger is triggered.
What thoughts does anger evoke? After feeling the emotion of anger, many people have thoughts of revenge or vengeance. Some people turn their anger inward and want to hurt themselves. For others, anger elicits a defense mechanism such as avoidance;–“I don’t want to think about it”; denial–“I don’t care”; minimization–“That didn’t phase me”. Knowing what thoughts are triggered by your anger will help you to identify what to do next.
You can choose how you manage your anger. People who tend to lash out at others need to work on thought-stopping. When you feel the anger accompanied by angry thoughts, you can learn to tell yourself, “I refuse to let my anger get out of control or I won’t give him the power to make me angry.”
How does it affect your body? What physiologic responses occur when you get angry? Some people experience increased heart rate, muscle and jaw tension, or an adrenaline rush that can leave them lightheaded. Noticing the physiological responses of your body is the first step to being able to alter your body’s experience. Did you know that the saying, “I’m seeing red” refers to increased blood pressure and causes blood flow in the optic nerve, which results in visual red blotches.
It’s imperative that you learn how to monitor your physical responses. Rageaholics learn quickly that they can turn down the volume of their rage if they take deep breaths or practice tightening and relaxing their muscles. Did you know that if you give your anger a color and then imagine breathing the color out of your body that you will more effectively reduce the amount of physiological response in your body.
There is no doubt that anger can be expressed in many unhealthy ways. When people use anger to belittle others, or physical intimidate, it is clearly abuse. Abuse is different than anger. Abuse is an unhealthy reaction to the feeling of anger. Any person who has difficulty containing or controlling anger needs anger management skills. Emotion regulation is essential to healthy relationships. If you or someone you love expresses anger by accusing or attacking, it is imperative to seek out an anger management class or a professional who specializes in anger management techniques.
Anger is a healthy emotion if you know how to control and manage it appropriately. Learning how to identify it, channel it, and let go of it, will make you a better person.