Anger management


Is it always bad to feel angry?  Anger is a natural response to feeling attacked, injured or violated. It's part of being human; it's energy seeking expression. Our anger can be our friend. It helps us survive, giving us the strength to fight back or run away when attacked or faced with injustice.  In itself, it's neither good nor bad, but it can be frightening. Angry feelings can lead to the destructive and violent and violent behavior, and so we tend to be frightened of anger. The way we are brought up, and our cultural background, will very much influence how we feel about expressing anger.

You may have been punished for expressing it when you were small, or you may have witnessed your parents' or other adults' anger when it was out of control, destructive and terrifying. Or you may have been frightened by the strength of your own bad temper. All of this encourages you to suppress your anger. When something makes you angry, you feel excitement in your body and emotions. Your glands are pumping your blood full of the hormone adrenaline, preparing for fight or flight. You are full of energy, alert, ready for action. Tension builds up, but is released when you express your anger. The release is good for you, helping to keep body and mind in balance and able to face life's challenges. 

As long as the build-up of tension is usually released in action or words, you should be able to cope with feeling frustrated occasionally! But if, as a rule, you have to bottle up your feelings, the energy has to go somewhere. It may turn inwards and cause you all sorts of problems. Suppressed anger can have negative effects, physically and mentally.

Anger is a well-developed coping mechanism that we turn to when our goals are frustrated, or when we feel threat to ourselves or to people, things and ideas we care about. It helps us react quickly and decisively in situations where there is no time for a careful, reasoned analysis of the situation. And it can motivate us to solve problems, achieve our goals, and remove threats. Acting in anger can serve, therefore, to protect yourself or others. A positive response and constructive outcome can improve your self-esteem and self-confidence.


You can learn to control your anger:

Be Assertive and remember that the word is assertive NOT aggressive. When you are angry it is often difficult to express yourself properly. You are too caught up in the negative emotion and your physiological symptoms (beating heart, red face) to put together solid arguments or appropriate responses. If you learn to assert yourself and let other people know your expectations, boundaries, issues, and so on, you will have much more interpersonal success. It's true that angry people need to learn to become assertive rather than aggressive.
It's important to acknowledge angry feelings left over from the past, especially your childhood. Nothing can change what happened to you, but your attitude to it can change. Past losses and injustices, big or small, can rankle for years. Painful experiences may include being neglected by your parents, bitter rivalry with a brother or sister, the death of someone close. You may think you have forgotten about them, that it's pointless to think about the past. But, if something suddenly happens to you in the present, and your response to it is totally over the top, it may become clear that these feelings are not so dead after all! While you remain unaware of them, they can cause unnecessary problems. But, if you can get to know them, you will have a chance of dealing more constructively with present situations.
'Why am I so angry?'Finding the answer to this is important for the next step. Are you angry because of something that is happening now, that threatens you, your life, your loved ones, your work, someone or something that you value? In other words, is your anger justified and in proportion? Or is it that some of the anger that you feel is not really due to the person and situation that you are facing now, but to some unfinished business from the past?
Humor is often the best medicine. Learn to laugh at yourself and not take everything so seriously. The next time you feel tempted to kick the photocopier, think about how silly you would look and see the humor in your inappropriate expressions of anger. "Silly humor" can help defuse rage in a number of ways. Let`s see how this example can help you get a more balanced perspective. When you get angry and call someone a name or refer to them in some imaginative phrase, stop and picture what that word would literally look like. If you're at work and you think of a coworker as a "dirt bag" or a "single-cell life form," for example, picture a large bag full of dirt sitting at your colleague's desk, talking on the phone, going to meetings. Do this whenever a name comes into your head about another person.
Angry people can be cynical people. They believe that others are going to do something on purpose to annoy or frustrate them even before it happens. If you can build trust in people you will be less likely to become angry with them when something does go wrong and more likely to attribute the problem to something other than a malicious intent.
Sometimes, our anger and frustration are caused by very real and inescapable problems in our lives. Not all anger is misplaced, and often it's a healthy, natural response to these difficulties. There is also a cultural belief that every problem has a solution, and it adds to our frustration to find out that this isn't always the case. The best attitude to bring to such a situation, then, is not to focus on finding the solution, but rather on how you handle and face the problem. Make a plan, and check your progress along the way. Resolve to give it your best, but also not to punish yourself if an answer doesn't come right away. If you can approach it with your best intentions and efforts and make a serious attempt to face it head-on, you will be less likely to lose patience and fall into all-or-nothing thinking, even if the problem does not get solved right away.
Look to your general health, especially diet and exercise. Lack of certain nutrients can make people feel irritable and weak. Exercise increases our self-esteem, as well as our fitness and muscle tone. Find pleasurable ways to let off steam involving vigorous physical activity, dancing, chopping wood, jogging, or whatever you feel like. This will prevent tension building up in your body in a destructive way. Nurture your self-esteem: treat yourself kindly and give yourself regular treats.
Tell the other person that you are too angry to speak to them at this moment, if you can. Go away somewhere to calm down. If necessary, let out the desire to lash out by hitting a cushion, breaking crockery if you have to, and shouting, screaming or making some kind of angry noise where it will not alarm anyone.
Simply put, this means changing the way you think. Angry people tend to curse, swear, or speak in highly colorful terms that reflect their inner thoughts. When you're angry, your thinking can get much exaggerated and overly dramatic. Try replacing these thoughts with more rational ones. For instance, instead of telling yourself, "oh, it's awful, it's terrible, everything's ruined," tell yourself, "it's frustrating, and it's understandable that I'm upset about it, but it's not the end of the world and getting angry is not going to fix it anyhow." Be careful of words like "never" or "always" when talking about yourself or someone else. "This !&*%@ machine never works," or "you're always forgetting things" are not just inaccurate, they also serve to make you feel that your anger is justified and that there's no way to solve the problem. They also alienate and humiliate people who might otherwise be willing to work with you on a solution.

I am a Psychologist & experienced Executive Coach in my practice in Leiden & The Hague. I studied psychology (Master`s degree) and it is my passion. A mental health profesional that committed to helping people stay mentally well. My area of expertise is the mind and the way it affects behavior and well-being.