Article – Anger

Anger is “an emotional state that varies in intensity from mild irritation to intense fury and rage,” Like other emotions, it is accompanied by physiological and biological changes; when you get angry, your heart rate and blood pressure go up, breathing becomes faster, your mind races and thinking becomes narrowed and your muscles tense up, just to mention a few signs.

Anger can be caused by both external and internal events. You could be angry at a specific person (eg, a work colleague) or event (eg, a tool not working properly) or your anger could be caused by worrying or brooding about your personal problems. Memories of traumatic or enraging events can also trigger angry feelings.

How Do You Express Anger?

Anger is a natural, adaptive response to threats; it inspires strong, often aggressive feelings and behaviours which allow us to fight and to defend ourselves when we perceive we are in danger. A certain amount of anger, therefore, is necessary to our survival.

People use a variety of both conscious and unconscious processes to deal with their angry feelings. The three main approaches are expressing, suppressing, and calming

If we physically lash out at every person or object that irritates or annoys us we are going to end up hurting others and ourselves. Common sense tells us we must learn to take the healthy way out by taking responsibility and not let anger take control of us.

Anger can be suppressed and then converted or redirected. This happens when you hold in your anger, stop thinking about it, and focus on something positive. The aim is to inhibit or suppress your anger and convert it into more constructive behaviour. The danger in this type of response is that if it isn’t allowed outward expression, your anger can turn inward on yourself resulting in depression.

Managing Anger

The healthy way to manage anger is to learn to express your angry feelings in an assertive—not aggressive—manner.  To do this, you have to learn how to make clear what your needs are, and how to get them met without hurting yourself or others.  Being assertive doesn’t mean being pushy or demanding, it means being respectful to yourself and others.

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