Sometimes Anger Can Lead To Serious Problems In Our Life
Please consider getting help if anger is damaging your life in any of the following ways:
Anger interferes with family life, job performance or school performance
Anger leads you to lose control of your actions or what you say
Anger prevents you and your loved ones from enjoying life
Anger leads you to act in a threatening or violent manner towards yourself, other people, animals or property
Ask your physician or trained health professional about anger management courses and other helpful resources in your community.
About the authors
Canadian Mental Health Association BC Division helps people access the community resources they need to maintain and improve mental health, build resilience, and support recovery from mental illness. CMHA BC has served BC for over 60 years.
Anxiety Canada promotes awareness of anxiety disorders and increases access to proven resources. Visit www.anxietycanada.com.
Select sources and additional resources:
Visit www.keltymentalhealth.ca for Kelty Mental Health’s information and resources on anger for children, youth and families.
Visit www.cmha.ca/documents/feeling-angry for the Feeling Angry brochure from the Canadian Mental Health Association.
Patterson, R.J. . The Assertiveness Workbook: How to Express Your Ideas and Stand up for Yourself at Work and in Relationships. Oakland, CA: New Harbinger.
Deffenbacher, J.L. . Cognitive-behavioral conceptualization and treatment of anger. Cognitive and Behavioral Practice, 18, 212-221.
The Physical Part Of Anger
However there is also a physical aspect to anger. There are the tense muscles, the shallow rapid breathing, perhaps the feeling of intense pressure.
The best thing to do with the physical symptoms of anger is to not act on them but to just feel them …. do not resist them …. experience them out …. they will go away as we do this.
Take some slow deep breaths – perhaps 10 or more.
Put you attention on the physical sensations and take your attention off the story.
Be patient as you watch the energy of anger dissolve.
You may have to do it repeatedly for awhile but it does work.
Later, after you have cooled off, then you can consider whether any action would be appropriate or helpful. You might want to discuss the matter with a trusted adviser to get their opinion and perspective. Anger can have a lot of energy associated with it. Be sure you channel that energy in constructive, compassionate and positive ways.
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Anger Management Tips To Prevent Relationship Damage
Do you fume when someone cuts you off in traffic? Does your blood pressure rocket when your child refuses to cooperate? If so, you are not alone. Everyone experiences anger from time to time.
Anger is a normal and even healthy emotion. But it’s important to deal with it in a positive way. Uncontrolled anger can take a toll on your health and relationships.
If you’re often feeling angry, or if those feeling are causing problems at home or at work, here are 7 tips to help you regain control:
1. Think before you speak.
One of the best tactics is to take a pause before reacting. If your heart is pounding and you feel like yelling at your friend, family member or the guy who just pulled in front of you in traffic, stop. Take a breath. Count to 10. Do whatever it takes to avoid lashing out and saying or doing something youll regret.
2. Once youre calm, state what upset you.
Express your frustration in an assertive but nonconfrontational way. Maybe your spouse didnt help clean up the kitchen after you made dinner. Or your son borrowed your car and returned it with a nearly empty gas tank again. State your concerns clearly and directly, using an “I” statement. For example, say, Im upset that you left me without enough gas to get to work, or I resent it when I work to prepare a meal and you dont help clean up afterward.
3. Use humor to release tension.
4. Take a timeout.
5. Get exercise.
6. Practice relaxation skills.
7. Don’t hold a grudge.
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Why Might Veterans Struggle With Anger Problems
- Military training means being very alert to hidden dangers, along with the ability to become angry and aggressive very quickly. This is useful in the military and often necessary when on active duty, but not so helpful in civilian life.
- Serving in the military can lead to more exposure to highly stressful events and traumatic experiences than the average person. This can lead to the fight/flight/freeze system being activated over and over again.
- Some veterans may also be left feeling angry about their experiences in the military.
- Some veterans may struggle with leaving the military and re-joining civvy street. The challenges this can bring can lead to feeling more angry.
- Life before the military may have been difficult for some veterans, for example in childhood, and these early life experiences may have led to an anger difficulty even before joining the military.
- Anger may have been a very useful feeling to have in a military environment, but it can become a problem when it’s triggered too readily in the very different context of civilian life.
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Can Stress Be Positive
Stress is often associated with negative situations. However, stress can also stem from positive changes in ones life.
For instance, a promotion at work may cause stress due to fear of the unknown and your ability to handle the change. Studies show that this type of stress is beneficial because it pushes one into better performance in various aspects of life.
However, stress is only helpful if you experience it for a short time. If youre stressed for a prolonged period, it can lead to serious mental health conditions like anxiety and depression.
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Physical Effects Of Anger
Anger triggers the bodys fight or flight response. Other emotions that trigger this response include fear, excitement and anxiety. The adrenal glands flood the body with stress hormones, such as adrenaline and cortisol.The brain shunts blood away from the gut and towards the muscles, in preparation for physical exertion. Heart rate, blood pressure and respiration increase, the body temperature rises and the skin perspires. The mind is sharpened and focused.
What Were Told About Anger
We grow up learning myths about anger that are quite unhelpful. On TV, movies and games, we see people dealing with anger in an aggressive way. They lash out, throw tantrums and get violent.
On the other extreme, many of us are taught we should hold in our anger rather than express it.
Bottling up feelings like this can be destructive. It allows people to cross a boundary without us letting them know.
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Getting Ready To Make A Change
For most people who have trouble harnessing a hot temper, reacting like this is not what they want. They feel ashamed by their behavior and don’t think it reflects the real them, their best selves.
Everyone can change but only when they want to. If you want to make a big change in how you’re handling your anger, think about what you’ll gain from that change. More self-respect? More respect from other people? Less time feeling annoyed and frustrated? A more relaxed approach to life? Remembering why you want to make the change can help.
It can also help to remind yourself that making a change takes time, practice, and patience. It won’t happen all at once. Managing anger is about developing new skills and new responses. As with any skill, like playing basketball or learning the piano, it helps to practice over and over again.
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How To Control Your Temper
As I walked out the door toward the gate that would lead to my freedom, I knew if I didnt leave my bitterness and hatred behind, Id still be in prison. Nelson Mandela
Pop psychology is everywhere these days. You know that episode of whatever where one character hit out at another character because so-and-so died or such-and-such left them or he-or-she lied? Yeah, like that.
The reason these well-worn stories have never gone away is that they almost always ring true. Everybody is dealing with something, even if they dont feel like they are.
We have all lost our temper at some point, havent we? In that white-hot, rage-filled moment, we felt justified maybe we still do, even in hindsight, and if youre lucky it wasnt caught on camera.
The skill you need to develop is to keep your cool and not rise to provocation when it is offered.
Breathing exercises work. Counting to 10 under your breath works. Meditation works. All you have to do is want them to work and work at making them work.
Losing your temper and lashing out is the easy solution and, in the moment, it feels good, but the long-term ramifications for such rash action could be dire.
There are many options available for keeping your temper under control take your pick.
A Breakdown Of Other Techniques
Taking short breaks, during which you might read, listen to music or talk to a friend, will really help your mood to improve.
Also, anything that removes you from the source of your frustration is a good thing as it affords you time to calm down. Here are a few more suggestions.
Go out of your way to help others. Buy some food for a homeless person, praise someones haircut on Facebook, tell a colleague that you appreciate them.
You dont need to rescue orphans from a burning building in order to do good in the world .
Before you go to bed, mentally list all the good things you did that day and realize that youre a positive force in the world. That way, each night gives you a miniature George Bailey buzz.
Opt to change your mind and focus only on positive feelings, rather than dwelling on negatives.
Take a second to go over a scenario that made you angry. Was it really your other half leaving the lid off the butter that made you this P.Od? Perhaps they dont deserve to bear the full brunt of your ire?
Lastly, practice gratitude. Generally seen as something of a New Age concept, the practice of gratitude is nevertheless an effective tool to aid positive thinking and improve mental discipline. You can do it in a number of ways, but the simplest is to spend roughly 5 15 minutes a day listing the things in your life that youre happy about/grateful for.
Do you have a kickass record collection? A happy marriage? A good relationship with your parents? If so, say thanks.
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Create A Calm Down Kit
If you tend to come home from work stressed and take out your anger on your family, or you know that workplace meetings cause you a lot of frustration, create a calm down kit that you can use to relax.
Think about objects that help engage all your senses. When you can look, hear, see, smell, and touch calming things, you can change your emotional state. So a calm down kit might include scented hand lotion, a picture of a serene landscape, a spiritual passage you can read aloud, and a few pieces of your favorite candy. Include things that you know will help you remain calm.
You also might create a virtual calm down kit that you can take everywhere. These are things that you can call upon when needed and are more portable. For instance, calming music and images, guided meditation, or instructions for breathing exercises could be stored in a special folder on your smartphone.
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Tip : Recognize If You Need Professional Help
If, despite putting these previous anger management techniques into practice, your anger is still spiraling out of control, or if youre getting into trouble with the law or hurting others, you need more help.
Anger management classes allow you to meet others coping with the same struggles and learn tips and techniques for managing your anger.
Therapy, either group or individual, can be a great way to explore the reasons behind your anger and identify triggers. Therapy can also provide a safe place to practice new skills for expressing anger.
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Despite what many believe, domestic violence and abuse does not happen due to the abusers loss of control over their temper. Rather, its a deliberate choice to control another person. If you are abusive towards your spouse or partner, know that you need specialized treatment, not regular anger management classes.
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Controlling Anger Before it Controls You Origins of excessive anger, tips on coping, and when to seek more help.
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Anger & Stress Problems
What is Stress?Stress is a normal reaction to change or a challenge we may be facing. Everyone feels stressed at times. Some people cope with stress more effectively or recover from stressful events quicker than others. Unfortunately, stress that continues for longer than a few weeks can affect your health.1
There are two main types of stress:2
Acute stress: A short-term stress that goes away quickly. You might experience this when you have to slam on the brakes while driving, or have a fight with your partner, ski down a steep slope, or when you do something new and exciting.Chronic stress: A stress that lasts for a longer period of time due to longer lasting causes of stress like money problems, unhappy marriage, or trouble at work. Chronic stress that lasts for weeks or months.
What are symptoms?Minor symptoms of stress can be early warning signs that your stress levels may be getting out of hand and that you may need help finding ways to reduce stress in your life.3,4
- Delaying doing the things that need to be done
- Trying to do too many things at once
Factors that can help to prevent stress:7
- Proper diet
- Avoiding excess caffeine and other stimulants
- Taking time to relax
- Talking with friends and family
What is Stress Management?
Typically this includes:
How Do I Know If My Anger Is A Problem
Anger becomes a problem if it is:
1. Too frequent
Anger may be appropriate, and it may help motivate you. However, if you are coping with lots of anger on a daily basis, it may be reducing the quality of your life, your relationships and your health. Even if your anger is justified, you may feel better if you pick your most important battles and let go of the rest.
2. Too intense
Very intense anger is rarely a good thing. Anger triggers the “fight or flight” response, which causes all kinds of physiological reactionsyour heart pumps faster, your breathing increases, and others. When you become very angry, you are also much more likely to act impulsively and do or say something that you regret later.
3. Lasts too long
Angry feelings that last for a long time are hard on your mood and on your body.
4. Leads to aggression
You’re more likely to become aggressive when your anger is very intense. Lashing out at others either verbally or physically is not an effective way to deal with conflict. When anger leads to aggression, no one benefits.
5. Disrupts work or relationships
Intense and frequent anger can lead to problems in your relationships with co-workers, family members and friends. At its worst, anger can lead to the loss of employment and damage or destroy important relationships.
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