Have you noticed that you have a shorter fuse lately and that you have been getting into some fights and confrontations? Have you always known that you have had a bit of a short fuse?
Feeling angry is actually quite normal and part of being a human being. It is a healthy emotion. When anger becomes chronic, entrenched or even quite explosive, or as some would say, our anger spirals out of control, it can have very real and serious consequences for our relationships, our mental health, our state of being and in fact our health. With insight and understanding about the actual reasons for your anger, more understanding about what anger actually is and some anger management tools and techniques,you can be better at controlling your anger keep your temper from taking control of your life.
So what is anger?
Anger is an emotion. It is neither good nor bad in and of itself. It is actually quite healthy to feel angry about something, like being wronged or treated badly. It may sound like a simple thing to say, but the feeling of anger isn’t the problem, it is how we deal with it or what we do with it that is the problem. Anger becomes a real problem when it leads to us hurting ourselves, hurting others or putting ourselves in a risky situation.
Some people who have a temper and say that they feel as though they can’t control it say that it is a part of them that almost has a mind of its own. This is not actually true, we have much more control over anger than we might assume. In fact this is true for all of the emotions that we experience. With anger in particular, if we can learn to express our emotions and how we are feeling without the consequences that we don’t want; (hurting others or ourselves), you will not only feel much better, but there is a very high chance that you will end up getting what you need and want. Getting on top of anger and emotions takes quite a bit of work and some practice. Once you start getting on top of it though, and the more practice you do, the easier it gets and the results will be achieved very quickly. It is also really worthwhile. Controlling your anger, rather than it controlling you, and express it appropriately, can help you build much better relationships, achieve your goals, and lead a healthier, more satisfying life.
Q&A about Anger
Question - I shouldn’t “hold in” my anger. Is it healthier to vent and let it out?
Answer - Anger is not something you have to “let out” in an aggressive way in order to avoid blowing up. In fact, outbursts and tirades only fuel the fire and reinforce your anger problem. While it’s true that suppressing and ignoring anger is unhealthy, venting is no better.
Question – I have been using anger, and being aggressive to get what I need done, or to get what I want. What happens if I don’t get the respect and get things done the way I need them done?
Answer - True power doesn’t come from bullying others. People may be afraid of you, but they won’t respect you if you can’t control yourself or handle opposing viewpoints. Others will be more willing to listen to you and accommodate your needs if you communicate in a respectful way.
Question: Sometimes I feel as though I can’t help myself. Is it true that anger isn’t something you can control?
Answer - You can’t always control the situation you’re in or how it makes you feel, but you can control how you express your anger. And you can express your anger without being verbally or physically abusive. Even if someone is pushing your buttons, you always have a choice about how to respond.
Question – Isn’t anger management about learning to suppress your anger?
Answer - Anger is normal, and it will come out regardless of how hard you try to suppress it. Anger management is all about becoming aware of your underlying feelings and needs and developing healthier ways to manage being upset. Never getting angry is not a good goal. Rather than trying to suppress your anger, the goal is to express it in constructive ways.
Why should I do anything about my anger? You might think that venting your anger is healthy, that it is justified and that perhaps others are just too sensitive. You might even think that showing just how angry you are will give you some respect, or that way people will really understand what things are like for you. The reality is, unchecked expression of anger is far more likely to damage your relationships than help your situation. Anger can also really affect your judgment and get in the way of success. It can really influence how people perceive you and the opinion they have of you.
Unchecked expression of anger can hurt your career and employment prospects. Constructive criticism, creative differences, and heated debate can be healthy. But lashing out only alienates your colleagues, supervisors, or clients and erodes their respect. What’s more, a bad reputation can follow you wherever you go, making it harder and harder to get ahead.
Out-of-control anger hurts your relationships with others. It causes lasting scars in the people you love most and gets in the way of your friendships and work relationships. Chronic, intense anger makes it hard for others to trust you, speak honestly, or feel comfortable—they never know what is going to set you off or what you will do. Explosive anger is especially damaging to children.
Out-of-control anger hurts your physical health. Constantly operating at high levels of stress and tension is bad for your health. Chronic anger makes you more susceptible to heart disease, diabetes, high cholesterol levels, a weakened immune system, insomnia, and high blood pressure.
Out-of-control anger hurts your mental health. Chronic anger consumes huge amounts of mental energy and clouds your thinking, making it harder to concentrate, see the bigger picture, and enjoy life. It can also lead to stress, depression, and other mental health problems.
To read more and to find out some great tips on how to manage your anger, download our Tip Sheet or Contact Us