February 12, 2012
Understanding and Recognizing Anger
It's important to realize several things about anger before you start tackling it. First, anger is a normal process that has allowed humans to evolve and adapt. It isn't a bad thing in itself, but problems occur if it isn't managed in the right way.
Anger is also a mixture of both emotional and physical changes. A big surge of energy goes through your body as chemicals, such as adrenaline, are released.
Once the cause of the anger is resolved, you may still have to deal with the physical effects - all that energy has to go somewhere. This can be taken out on another person, such as a partner, or an object - by punching a wall, for example. This last option can lead down the road to self-harm.
The other alternative is to suppress the energy until the next time you're angry. This may mean you release so much pent-up emotion that you overreact to the situation. Realising this can lead to feelings of shame or frustration when you reflect on your actions, and to further repression of your feelings.
On the other hand, just letting your anger go in an uncontrolled fashion can lead to a move from verbal aggression to physical abuse - don't forget, the other person is probably feeling angry with you too.
But there is a flip side to anger. Because of the surge of energy it creates, it can be pleasurable. This feeling is reinforced if becoming angry allows the release of feelings of frustration, or if a person's response to your anger gives you a sense of power.
It's important to acknowledge and keep an eye on this side of the problem - it can have an almost addictive element.
Recognizing Why You Get Angry
It's important to be aware of the positive feelings you get from anger as well as the negative ones.
By recognising the positive and negative feelings associated with your anger, it's important to find other means of achieving and concentrating on the positives ones.
Each person's positives are different, so there will be different solutions for everyone, but some strategies might include:
- Try finding the source of your anger, and learning to adapt to why this is making you angry in the first place.
- Physical release. Trying a non-contact competitive sport.
- Learning relaxation or meditation.
- Shouting and screaming in a private, quiet place.
- Going running.
Any of these may help to vent your frustration and burn off any feelings you're bottling up.