Anger Management

Anger Management

What is anger?

Anger ManagementAnger is a biological emotion that can range from mild annoyance to intense rage. It is a feeling that is accompanied by biological changes throughout your body, such as rise in heart rate and blood pressure, and the release of stress hormones. Other physical signs are shakes, becoming hot and sweaty, and feeling out of control. It can be caused by both internal events, such as worrying over personal problems or by external events, such as conflict with a particular person or an annoying event, such as a traffic incident or cancelled flight. The problem of ‘road rage’ is a classic example of uncontrolled anger, which may include both internal and external elements. Anger, which may be concealed or obvious, might be a communication of inner fear and insecurity.

Why are some people more angry than others?

It is a fact that some people are more ‘hot headed’ than others and have a ‘short fuse’. Some of these people may have an antisocial personality disorder, while others with an angry disposition can be explained by hereditary or cultural factors. People with a low frustration index feel that they are special and should not have to cope with inconvenience or irritations. People who are easily angered tend to come from families that are dysfunctional, disturbed or have poor communication skills. However, other people (including some from feisty families) seem to take annoying things in their stride and keep calm.

What are the effects of anger?

Recurrent episodes of anger can affect your health in many ways — socially, emotionally and physically. Uncontrolled anger can inevitably lead to inappropriate conflicts, including arguments, assault, physical fights and physical abuse. The body’s response of releasing high levels of stress hormones and substances such as adrenaline can cause unhealthy consequences, including insomnia, anxiety, depression, headache (including migraine), high blood pressure, heartburn, irritable bowel syndrome and even fatal heart attacks and stroke. You cannot afford to let anger get the better of you and you should do something about it if it is affecting your life. It is particularly important to overcome a response of aggressive behaviour as an expression of your anger.

What should you do?

People prone to anger should ‘take a good look at them­selves’ and try and work out why they feel that way, what provokes the ‘attacks’ and what methods they consider helps them to cope with the emotion. It would be helpful to keep a diary about outbursts, precipitating events or incidents, reactions, feelings, bad aspects, positive aspects or outcomes. Then you should seek help from a person you can trust such as your doctor, a psychologist or psychiatrist, counsellor or religious identity (if appli­cable). Remember that anger can be suppressed and then converted or redirected. Take your suggested ideas and possible remedies to the counsellor. Many people who are normally well-controlled become uncontrolled with excessive alcohol, so it is vital for these people to avoid alcohol or limit their alcohol intake.

What are better practical ways to express anger?

Learn to relax by channelling your energy into safe and acceptable practices, for example:

  • go for a long walk or run
  • sit quietly in a park or other pleasant place
  • go to the movies or watch a DVD
  • share any problem with someone you trust
  • go to a coffee shop with a friend
  • listen to your favourite music
  • play your favourite sport or learn a new sport
  • go swimming or surfing regularly
  • take a long bath, spa or sauna
  • take up a gymnasium membership
  • take up yoga, tai chi or similar activity
  • meditate and pray (if applicable)
  • if you feel an attack coming on, punch a pillow or kick a ball around outside
  • if you feel out of control walk away from the situation and cool down.

How do you resolve arguments?

It is good for your health and your personal relationships to deal with arguments in a sensible and mature way. In a non-threatening and appealing way, tell the person how you feel with a line such as ‘I find myself getting hot under the collar with this situation and it’s not good for both of us. I don’t want my emotions to spoil our relationship so we need to resolve this so we can walk away feeling okay with each other’. Sometimes it may be good to have a third person to act as a mediator and calming influence.

Helpful tips:

  • Avoid arguments
  • Avoid situations that tend to provoke anger
  • You cannot afford to get violent
  • Learn to express your anger safely
  • Learn relaxation techniques such as meditation or yoga
  • Avoid alcohol or other substances that may affect you.

How we can help:

There are a number of brain regions that are involved in control of emotions. Anger manifests in various forms in brain function profiles (BFPs). In our clinic we use a comprehensive BFP assessment to determine the intervention location and the method of neurotherapy and/or counselling for the best outcome. Based on this personalised intervention you will:

  • learn effective strategies and techniques for self-management and self-control
  • learn peak performance options for managing your anger, and
  • feel safe in an environment free from judgement.