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Anger

Anger is a powerful natural emotion that everyone feels from time to time.  Anger has many causes.  The causes vary from person to person and from situation to situation.  Some common causes of anger include: 

  • Stress
  • Rejection
  • Worry
  • Frustration
  • Loss
  • Annoyance
  • Feeling threatened

Anger affects the body.  When you feel angry, your body creates energy and here’s what happens:

  • Adrenaline and other chemicals enter your bloodstream.
  • Your heart pumps faster.
  • Your blood flows more quickly.
  • Your breathing gets more rapid.
  • Your muscles tense.

Anger is often handled poorly but it does not have to be.Knowing how to recognize and express anger appropriately can make a big difference in your life.

Handling anger poorly can hurt you and lead to many problems, including:

  • Damaged relationships
  • Problems at work
  • Problems at school
  • Health problems
  • Legal trouble

Handling anger well can help you.  Anger can be a signal that something is wrong.  Instead of lashing out, you can use this signal as a cue to:

  • Explore feelings and work through problems
  • Motivate yourself to reach a goal
  • Encourage growth in your relationships

Ignoring anger does not work.  Acting as if you aren’t angry is not an effective way to handle anger.  Failing to deal with your anger can lead to:

  • Health problems: heart problems, high blood pressure, headaches, digestive problems, and depression
  • Tension
  • Interpersonal problems:  unexpressed anger can hurt relationships.Anger can lead to name-calling, fault-finding and hurt feelings.
  • Aggression:  unchecked anger can build and lead to violent behavior. Strong feelings of anger can drive people to commit crimes, such as abuse, assault and destruction of property.

Don’t let anger get the best of you.  Learn to deal with it effectively. Keep anger under control.  You can’t avoid anger completely.  But you can keep it from getting out of hand.

 Follow these steps:

  1. Recognize your anger.  Anger is a natural human emotion, so there’s no need to feel ashamed or guilty.  Pay attention to the signs of hidden anger:
    • Tense muscles
    • Clenched teeth
    • Feelings of frustration or disappointment
    • Sarcasm
  2. Identify the cause.  The cause of your anger may not be obvious.  For example, you may yell at your child for interrupting you.  But, you may really be angry at your friend for forgetting a lunch date earlier in the day.
  3. Decide what to do.  Take positive steps to resolve the problem that caused your anger.  Don’t do anything that might harm yourself or another person.

When you feel anger start to build, take time out.Calm down, think-and take positive action. Expressing anger-Don’t hold on to angry feelings-let them go.  Keep these tips in mind:

  • Calm down.  Before you discuss the issues that are making you angry, take time to cool off.  Shouting matches rarely lead to effective solutions.
  • Understand your motives.  Remember that your goal is to solve your problem in a positive way.  Then express yourself firmly and clearly without making insulting remarks.  Insults and blaming will only lead to more anger.
  • Don’t avoid the issue.  Hiding what you truly believe won’t relieve your anger.  Be direct and focus on the issues involved - not on emotions.
  • Get help.  If you have trouble expressing anger in a positive way, talk with a friend or see a counselor for help.  Call the Counseling office to schedule a session.

To keep anger from taking over try using humor and stop wasting your energy getting angry over minor problems.  Try to find the humor in each situation instead.

Any kind of physical activity-walking, golfing, weightlifting-can be an excellent way to reduce tension and release energy. 

Get enough sleep so you wake up feeling rested.  Meditation, breathing exercises and progressive muscle relaxation are also good ways to reduce tension.  Take a course that teaches relaxation methods, or look for books or Web sites describing these techniques.

Take up a hobby and use your energy doing things you enjoy, such as carpentry, gardening or needlework.