What is Anger?
Anger is a natural human emotion that arises in response to perceived threats, frustrations, or injustices. It can range from mild irritation to intense rage and can be triggered by various situations or circumstances. While feeling angry is normal, how one responds to and manages anger can significantly impact their well-being and relationships.
How can Anger affect you?
Anger, when expressed inappropriately or chronically, can have detrimental effects on both physical and mental health. Uncontrolled anger can lead to increased stress, high blood pressure, heart problems, weakened immune system, and digestive issues. It can also strain relationships, damage careers, and lead to legal problems if it escalates into aggression or violence.
Symptoms of Anger
- Physical Signs: Increased heart rate, clenched fists, tense muscles, flushed face, rapid breathing, and sweating.
- Behavioural Signs: Yelling, screaming, aggression, physical violence, slamming doors, and breaking objects.
- Emotional Signs: Feeling irritable, resentful, frustrated, hostile, or vengeful.
- Cognitive Signs: Racing thoughts, difficulty concentrating, black-and-white thinking, and impulsivity.
- Interpersonal Signs: Verbal or physical confrontations, arguments, withdrawal from social interactions, and strained relationships.
Coping with Anger
Recognise the Signs: Learn to identify the physical, emotional, and behavioural signs of anger. Being aware of your anger cues can help you intervene before it escalates.
Take a Timeout: When you feel anger rising, step away from the situation if possible. Take deep breaths, count to ten, or practice relaxation techniques like progressive muscle relaxation to calm yourself down.
Express Yourself: Find healthy ways to express your anger, such as talking to a trusted friend or family member, writing in a journal, or engaging in physical activity like jogging.
Use “I” Statements: When addressing the source of your anger, use assertive communication techniques like “I feel…” instead of blaming or accusing others. Express your feelings and needs clearly and respectfully.
Practice Empathy: Try to understand the perspective of the person or situation that triggered your anger. Empathy can help diffuse intense emotions and promote understanding and compromise.
Set Boundaries: Establish boundaries to protect yourself from situations or people that consistently provoke anger. Communicate your boundaries assertively and enforce them when necessary.
Problem-Solve: Instead of dwelling on what made you angry, focus on finding solutions to the underlying issues. Brainstorm practical steps you can take to address the problem constructively.
Seek Support: Don’t hesitate to reach out for support from friends, family, or a therapist. Talking to someone you trust can provide validation, perspective, and practical advice for coping with anger.
Practice Self-Care: Engage in activities that promote relaxation and well-being, such as exercise, meditation, hobbies, or spending time in nature. Taking care of your physical and emotional health can reduce stress and improve your ability to cope with anger.
Consider Professional Help: If anger continues to disrupt your life or relationships, consider seeking help from a therapist or counsellor who specialises in anger management. Therapy can provide you with personalised strategies and support to manage anger effectively.
Remember that coping with anger is a skill that takes practice and patience. Be gentle with yourself as you learn to navigate your emotions and develop healthier ways of expressing and managing anger.
Where to get help
Seek help from your GP: If you feel that your anger is out of control then it is important to speak to your GP as soon as possible. They will be able to refer you to anger-management sessions or counselling.
Alternatively you can find a licensed therapist here: bacp.co.uk
Charities and Organisations:
You can contact the Tough Enough To Care text line for free 24/7. Text TOUGH to 85258
Mind have some great resources for anger management.
Samaritans are also open 24/7 if you need to talk.