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Tuesday, 14 August 2012

When You Feel Angry - Anger Management

Anger(Photo credit: ZORIN DENU)

When You Feel Angry - Anger Management

Feeling angry or having someone become angry with you makes you feel unhappy!

But anger is a natural feeling and it affects everyone.
Anger usually arises because you believe someone has acted against you or something you care about or believe in!

It doesn’t have to be real – you just need to believe that it exists!

It comes about in three main ways;
  1. Someone or some thing gets in the way and stops you achieving a goal or something you care about from happening
  2. Someone or some organisation breaks your personal rules. For example, ‘I've worked for them for years and now they want to get rid of me!’ Or, for example, believing that the government or an organisation s behaving unjustly
  3. Your self esteemed feels threatened or you feel a lack or respect to you or to a group that you belong to.
Mild anger can be expressed as annoyance or irritation. Anger about institutions or injustice can be a force for good in bringing about change. But anger can get out of control and it can harm you and cause problems with relationships, work and even the law.

Uncontrolled anger can lead to arguments and physical fights and aggression. It can cloud your thinking and judgement and may lead to actions that are unreasonable or irrational.

You may lash out verbally or physically. Or you may displace your aggression and take it out on someone else. Instead of attacking you may withdraw – you storm out of the room! Or you may attack indirectly – for example, subverting or spreading rumours – a passive aggressive response.

Prolonged anger damages you mentally and physically!

You may believe that letting it out is the best way to deal with it. But these outbursts - ‘cathartic’ expressions of anger - reinforce your anger! This is because your underlying beliefs are strengthened.

The stress hormones released during repeated experiences of intense and uncontrolled anger are linked to health conditions, for example, high blood pressure, headaches and back pain.

Dealing with anger in a healthy way includes:
  • recognizing when you get angry
  • taking time to cool down
  • reducing your general stress levels in life
To get over being angry you have first to get over the idea that others make you angry! If others annoy you, it is you who presses the anger button! And, it is you who ‘blows your top’!

You ‘lose your temper’, no one takes it from you!

And you probably regret it later which shows that other options were available.

How you talk to yourself - your self talk - determines how you respond to a situation. Anger results from how you think about a situation, not the situation itself.

Examine for yourself the potential results of your anger in terms of damaged relationships, poor performance and the effect on your physical and mental health!

Then, look for alternatives:
  • being more assertive - standing up for yourself without loss of control,
  • developing an early warning system by recognizing the early signs of anger - muscle tension, clenched fists, the rising voice and impatience,
  • learning how to diffuse it!
You can talk yourself down or leave the situation! When you are calmer think how to deal with the situation in a more constructive way.

You can find some more self help tips at this link http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Anger-management/Pages/Self-help.aspx

And you can find the the UK Mental Health Foundation’s Cool Down booklet, which includes advice on where to get professional help at this link. http://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/publications/cool-down/  

Wendy Mason is a career coach working mainly with managers and professionals who want to make that jump to senior level while maintaining a good work/life balance. Before working as a coach, Wendy had a long career in both the public and private sectors in general management and consultancy as well as spells in HR.  She now divides her time between face to face coaching, and coaching and blogging on-line. You can contact Wendy at wendymason@wisewolfcoaching.com and find out more at http://wisewolfcoaching.com
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