Anger is simply not liking how things are or wishing a life situation was different. It is an emotional state that varies in intensity from mild irritation to intense fury or rage.
Anger causes your heart rate and blood pressure to go up and the body to produce more energy hormones like adrenaline and noradrenaline. Over a period of time anger can cause serious health problems.
Anger can either be a direct primary emotion (resulting from external events) or a secondary emotion (produced by internal events, how you perceive or think about events or the feelings you experience).
Anger is a natural, adaptive response to threats and is usually associated with aggression that makes the person experiencing it feel out of control. But people feeling anger do not have to be out of control emotionally and can choose how they deal with it. Anger can be expressed in an assertive, positive and constructive manner.
Coping with Anger: 8 Practical Suggestions
- Identify the reason(s) for your anger
- Know your anger “triggers”
- Go into a problem-solving mode
- Use good communications skills
- Use humor
- Change your environment
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help
If there is something you can do to address or resolve the reason(s) for your anger, devise an action plan and follow through. If the situation is something that cannot be addressed or resolved, try reframing how you see the situation or become reconciled to it.
Take time out. Take deep breaths. Try counting to ten before making a decision or taking any action.
Being aware of your pet peeves or what pushes your emotional buttons can be helpful. Try to avoid or to escape situations and people that you know can be troubling to you. If you can’t avoid or escape them, take a deep breath and try to stay calm.
Express your emotional energy created by the anger in a way that is positive and brings results favorable to everyone involved.
Be assertive, not aggressive in expressing your feelings. If one or both parties involved is experiencing extreme anger, delay communications until the emotions cool a bit. Anger can cause walls that block communications in a discussion.
Don’t take yourself or the situation too seriously. Use humor that gets across your point without resorting to sarcasm or cynicism.
Separate yourself from the situation for a while to think over calmly and logically what steps you will take next.
When anger starts negatively affecting your life and relationships, don’t be afraid to seek advice or help from others. Pray for wisdom and discernment in making decisions and taking action.
Written by Larry M. Barber, LPC-S, CT