Relationship Issues
Anger Management

Management of emotions is always a major problem in relationships. Anger in particular has been observed to be the root cause, as well as effect of many relationship problems. It is obviously the most poorly handled emotion in our society. All of us have experienced this powerful feeling called anger sometime in life. Some of the most common causes of anger are hurt, frustration, annoyance, harassment, disappointments and threats. These are all factors which are part of all relationships and hence the incidence of anger is real.

Anger can be our friend or enemy, depending on the way in which we express it. Knowing how to recognize and express it appropriately can assist us to achieve our goals, resolve problems and emergencies. If we fail to recognize and understand anger, it will invariably lead to difficulties and relationship problems.

Most of us have experienced anger whether as a fleeting annoyance or as full-fledged rage. Anger is a completely normal, healthy, human emotion. One must be careful to not let it get out of control and turn destructive. Then it can lead to problems - at work, in your personal relationships and all spheres of your life.

What is Anger?

Anger is an emotional state that varies in intensity from mild irritation to intense fury and rage. It is accompanied by physiological and biological changes. When you get angry, your heart beats faster and your blood pressure goes up, as does your adrenaline levels. Anger can be triggered by external and internal reasons. You may be angry at a particular person (like your boss or relative) or event (missed train or a set back in life). Memories of traumatic or enraging events can also trigger anger.

The most natural way to express anger is to respond aggressively. Anger is a natural, adaptive response to threats and triggers powerful, aggressive feelings and behaviours, which allow us to defend ourselves. Therefore, a certain amount of anger, is essential for our survival. But as a parent, anger expressed inappropriately, can be destructive to yourself and your children.

The three main approaches to dealing with anger are expressing, suppressing, and calming. Expressing your angry feelings in an assertive, but not aggressive manner is the best way to express anger. Here being assertive means being respectful of yourself and others. Anger can also be suppressed, and then converted or redirected. This is achieved by holding in your anger, stopping thinking about it, and focusing on something positive. Unexpressed anger can create other problems. It can lead to pathological expressions of anger, like getting back at people indirectly, without telling them why, rather than confronting them head-on; or a developing a cynical and hostile personality. People who are negative, critical and haven't learned how to constructively express their anger, aren't likely to have many successful relationships. Finally, you can calm down inside. This means controlling your internal responses, lowering your heart rate, calming down, and letting the feelings die down.

Anger Management

Anger management involves reduction of both your emotional feelings and the physiological arousal that anger creates. You can't control the external factors; it is more practical to learn to control your reactions. If you find yourself acting in ways that seem out of control and frightening, you might need help finding better ways to deal with this emotion.

Some people have a tendency to get angrier than others. People who are easily angered don't always curse and throw things; sometimes they sulk, or get physically ill. People who are easily angered have a low tolerance for frustration. They can't take things in their stride, and they are particularly infuriated if the situation seems somehow unjust. One of the causes may be genetic or physiological. Another may be socio-cultural. Anger is often regarded as negative and so, we don't learn how to handle it. It has also been found that typically, people who are easily angered come from families that are disruptive, and not skilled at emotional communications.

Letting anger out only escalates anger and does not help you resolve the situation. It is always best to find out the cause of your anger, and develop strategies to keep those triggers in check. Simple relaxation tools, such as deep breathing and relaxing imagery, can help calm down angry feelings. Some simple steps you can try:
  • Breathe deeply, from your diaphragm. Picture your breath coming up the pit of your stomach.
  • Slowly repeat a calm word such as "relax," to yourself while breathing out through your mouth.
  • Use imagery; visualize a relaxing experience, from memory.
  • Slow yoga-like exercises can relax your muscles and calm you.
Try replacing angry thoughts with more rational ones. For example, instead of telling yourself, "oh, it's terrible, everything's finished" tell yourself, "it's bad, and it's understandable that I'm upset. But getting angry is not going to set it right." Logic can put down anger. Anger, even when justifiable, can quickly become irrational. So use cold hard logic on yourself.

Sometimes, our anger is caused by problems in our lives. Often anger is a healthy, natural response to these difficulties. The best approach to such a situation is then not on finding the solution, but facing the problem. Angry people tend to jump to conclusions, some of which can be very inaccurate. So always slow down and think. Think and talk and listen carefully to what the other person is saying and take your time before answering.

"Silly humor" can help defuse rage at times. If you're at work and you think of your offending boss as a cow. If you can, draw a picture of him. It may take away your anger to a great extend. This is the NLP approach to the problem and often quite useful. What these techniques have in common is a refusal to take yourself too seriously. Anger is a serious emotion, but it can often be accompanied by humorous ideas.

Do you need Counseling?

If you feel that your anger is out of control, and is affecting your relationships and important parts of your life, you might consider counseling to learn to handle anger better. A psychologist or other qualified mental health professional can work with you in developing a range of techniques for changing your thinking styles and your behavior.

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