The Benefits of Anger Management Techniques

My father struggled with anger management issues and it was problem for our whole family. Luckily, he decided to change when my mother decided to leave him. From that moment everything improved. It wasn't an overnight thing; he can still explode unexpectedly twenty years later. The difference is that now he thinks about what is happening and, if he sees he is wrong, he is able to apologize and even laugh at himself. This page is offered to anyone who feels that they- or someone they care about- has a problem with anger.

Appropriate Anger and Problem Anger

Anger is a perfectly normal feeling. Without it we would be defenseless if threatened, belittled in conversation or cheated and we would lose one of the great drives to be the kind of citizen that cares about what is right and wrong.

Most people resolve their angry feelings quickly. Often, they find a solution to the problem that created the anger or- after some thought- they come to accept whatever events or words triggered it. For others, anger can be a permanent and uncomfortable companion. Still others explode and behave in ways that they regret afterwards.

The inability to deal with angry feelings in a timely way can have serious consequences. Constant anger has health consequences, raising blood pressure and risking heart problems or even stroke. Explosions of rage can damage important relationships or opportunities.

How do You Know if Your Anger is a Problem?

  • If anger stays with for a long time- weeks rather than hours- and reduces the pleasure that you take from life.
  • The anger has its origins in something that happened a long time ago.
  • It causes you to behave destructively- perhaps violently- to yourself or to the people around you.
  • It has an impact on your performance at work
  • It makes relationships of every kind difficult- maybe to the point that you withdraw and become distant and uninvolved, maybe to the point that you are feel you are driving important people away.

Dealing with Anger. Short Term Approaches.

Often there are deep underlying causes of problem anger that go back a long way. Even if these are not addressed directly certain short term coping techniques can be very effective at limiting the damage that problem anger causes to health and relationships.

The most important thing is to simply recognize that you are angry. Being self consciously aware of the anger rather than sinking into it, is the first step to gaining control. If you cannot achieve this you risk becoming a puppet of these feelings. If you can then step back from the situation and ask yourself what is actually happening, sometimes this is enough to shift your mind into a different gear. Reason can replace rage.

A few questions that are worth asking yourself when angry feelings surge to the surface are: is this situation as bad as I think? Am I sure that someone is at fault or has there been a simple mistake? Is there any other way of dealing with what is happening?

If someone has done or said something that has hurt you, it might be more productive to simply say this. You could say something like- that is such a cruel thing to say! A quick apology from the other person can end the whole episode.

One thing that usually helps is giving the other person the chance to explain themselves. It can also help if you don't interrupt what they say. Sometimes, it is possible to simply get the wrong impression of what is happening.

Longer Term Solutions

Try to spend more time doing things that you enjoy like hobbies, sports or something creative. Any kind of physical exercise will help especially if the anger has physical effects like tension in the body.

Pets- especially dogs- are a great way of learning to deal with anger. A dog doesn't mind how often you shout at it and is a safe way of learning how to master anger without losing an important relationship.

Stress management techniques can be valuable if your anger is stress related. These techniques range from deep breathing exercises to mediation.

If something has happened that is outside of your control (like a job loss) it can help to find out how other people have coped with similar situations. Being alone with anger often makes it worse.

Learn to laugh at yourself. We all do and say absurd things in the heat of the moment. If you can see the funny side afterwards it will help get things in proportion.

Ask yourself what you get out being angry. Perhaps you are avoiding feelings that you find even more uncomfortable, like feeling hurt or anxious.

If problem anger is associated with drink or drug use, tackle that issue at the same time.

Avoid acting out. The streets of our cities are filled with people who go out on a Saturday night to drink and find a fight. The release of anger may have a calming effect afterwards but this and other forms of acting out can leave a trail of human wreckage. If your anger needs physical expression beating a bed with a tennis racket can be a great release.

Learn to recognize the value of other people. Some people are unhelpful to us in some ways but helpful in others. A more balanced view of a whole person can defuse anger towards that person.

Learn to trust others more, perhaps you are underestimating the good will they bear you. A little recognition from you might move a difficult relationship along to a much better place.

If you can find someone who is genuinely trustworthy, unburden yourself and talk about the anger and the problems it causes. Other people can offer new perspectives and inject that element of balance which is so important.

Often a professional counselor or therapist is the best solution for serious anger problems. Having an individual who is removed from your every day life may allow you to talk about things you could never talk about otherwise. Also, a professional should be able to more quickly identify the sources of your anger and then lasting progress can begin. A family doctor can be a good person to ask for advice on finding help.