Managing Anger

We all experience anger, it is a normal human emotion. Often it can propel us into action to find solutions to difficulties. However for many when anger gets out of control it can harm ourselves and others, causing difficulties in relationships at home, in school and at work.

We all experience anger, it is a normal human emotion. Often it can propel us into action to find solutions to difficulties. However for many when anger gets out of control it can harm ourselves and others, causing difficulties in relationships at home, in school and at work.

Dr Eddie Murphy runs a psychology and counselingpractice in Portarlington, helping with panic attacks, anxiety, anger, depression, PTSD, etc for children, adults, and families. Call 0871302899 or visit www.dreddiemurphy.ie

When is Anger a Problem?

Anger becomes a problem when it creates trouble for you with other people, your work, your health, day-to-day living or the law. Anger is also a problem when other people around you are frightened, hurt or feel they cannot talk to you or disagree with you in case you become angry.

Anger Management: In my clinic I regularly work with children, and adults that have difficulties managing their anger. Anger can range from mild irritation to intense fury and rage. The goal of anger management is to reduce the toxicity that anger causes yourself and others.

Psychological research has noted the role that toxic anger plays in the area of medical conditions including high blood pressure and coronary heart disease.

Often you can’t get rid of, or avoid, the things or the people that anger you, but you can learn to control your reactions.

Is It Good To “Let it All Hang Out?”

This is a dangerous myth. Some people use this view as a license to hurt others. Research has found that “letting it rip” with anger actually escalates anger and aggression and does nothing to help you (or the person you’re angry with) resolve the situation.

It’s best to find out what it is that triggers your anger, and then to develop strategies to keep those triggers from tipping you over the edge.

Assessment Tools: As a clinical psychologist I often use psychological tests that measure the intensity of angry feelings (experience), how prone to anger you are (expression), and how well you handle anger (control). This offers a baseline and these as sessment tools are used to assess progress.

Why manage anger?: Anger is a poor solution to problems. Unmanaged anger creates problems - sometimes for you and often for others around you. Anger management is about understanding your anger and why it happens. It is about learning and practising better ways of expressing anger, and knowing how to prevent it from occurring in the first place. Specifically, anger management is about knowing the triggers and early warning signs of anger, and learning techniques to calm down and manage the situation before it gets out of control.

The three main in treating anger are approaches are utilising expressing, suppressing, and calming techniques.

EXPRESSING: Expressing your angry feelings in an assertive—not aggressive—manner is the healthiest way to express anger.

To do this, you have to learn how to make clear what your needs are, and how to get them met, without hurting others. Being assertive doesn’t mean being pushy or demanding; it means being respectful of yourself and others.

SUPPRESSING: Anger can be suppressed, and then converted or redirected. This happens when you hold in your anger, stop thinking about it, and focus on something positive. The aim is to inhibit or suppress your anger and convert it into more constructive behaviour.

The danger in this type of response is that if it isn’t allowed outward expression, your anger can turn inward—on yourself.

Anger turned inward may cause hypertension, high blood pressure, or depression.

Unexpressed anger can create other problems. It can lead to pathological expressions of anger, such as passive-aggressive behaviour (getting back at people indirectly, without telling them why, rather than confronting them head-on).

People who are constantly putting others down, criticizing everything, and making cynical comments haven’t learned how to constructively express their anger. Not surprisingly, they aren’t likely to have many successful relationships.

CALMING Finally, you can calm down inside. This means not just controlling your outward behaviour, but also controlling your internal responses, taking steps to lower your heart rate, calm yourself down, and let the feelings subside.

Avoidance: If your child’s chaotic room makes you furious every time you walk by it, shut the door. Don’t make yourself look at what infuriates you. Don’t say, “well, my child should clean up the room so I won’t have to be angry!” That’s not the point. The point is to keep yourself calm.

Finally : Remember, you can’t eliminate anger—and it wouldn’t be a good idea if you could.

In spite of all your efforts, things will happen that will cause you anger; and sometimes it will be justifiable anger. Life will be filled with frustration, pain, loss, and the unpredictable actions of others. You can’t change that; but you can change the way you let such events affect you. Controlling your angry responses can help you and those you love to be even more happy in the long run. Dr Murphy runs a private psychology and counselling practice in Portarlington, helping with panic attacks, anxiety, anger, depression, PTSD, etc for children, adults, and families.

Call 0871302899 or visit www.dreddiemurphy.ie