Anger Management


Anger is a normal, healthy, natural emotion evolved as a way of surviving and protecting yourself from what is considered a wrong-doing. But anger can be a problem if it not kept under control and can cause serious problems in your life, in your relationships, and can be very damaging to the people around you.




Feelings of anger and lashing out either physically or verbally can be linked to many different causes including stress, depression, anxiety, addictions, and other mental health issues. Intermittent explosive disorder (IED) is an impulse-control disorder characterized by sudden episodes of unwarranted anger and people with IED essentially explode into a rage despite a lack of apparent provocation or reason. The disorder is typified by hostility, impulsivity, and recurrent aggressive outbursts.

We all get angry when we see an injustice and arises depending upon how we interpret and react to certain situations. People interpret situations differently, so a situation that makes one person feel very angry may not make someone else feel any angry at all. Everyone has their own triggers for what makes them angry, but some common ones include:

  • Feeling threatened or attacked    
  • Feeling frustrated or powerless    
  • Feeling like we're being treated unfairly    
  • Feeling like people are not respecting our feelings or possessions    


We can also feel irritated by other people’s beliefs, opinions and actions and hence anger can affect our ability to communicate effectively - making us more likely to say or do unreasonable or irrational things. How a person interprets and reacts to a certain situation can depend on lots of factors including:

  • Their childhood and upbringing   
  • Their past experiences
  • Their current circumstances


For example: You may have grown up thinking that it's always okay to act out your anger aggressively or violently towards people you don’t like, or in the way someone is behaving towards you, or being in a situation you don’t like or can't control.


Symptoms of rising anger:

  • Your heart is beating faster    
  • Your breathing is quicker
  • Your body is becoming tense    
  • Your feet are tapping    
  • You're clenching your jaw or fists


Whether your anger is about something that happened in the past, or something that's happening in the present, thinking about how and why you interpret and react to situations can help you learn how to cope with, and control your anger.  For example if you have not been able to express your anger in the past with a particular experience including abuse, trauma or bullying, you might still be coping with those angry feelings now. Or, if you're dealing with a lot of problems in your life at present that seem overwhelming, you might find yourself feeling angry at things and people more easily than usual. Anger can also be a part of grief; if you've lost someone important to you, it can be hugely difficult to cope with all the conflicting things you might be feeling.



Everyone has a responsibility to control their anger and there are a number of things you can do to help with this:


Firstly recognise your anger signs and then try to realise what is causing you to feel angry and / or what are the trigger mechanisms, and then put them into two categories; a) those that can be immediately dealt with (for example someone's behaviour) and b) those that will take longer to  controlled (for example the current situation you are in). Once you have identified and categorised what is causing your anger, you can then work at changing your behaviour and / or environment accordingly.


Other things that you can do to help control your anger are:

  • Count to 10 and breathe slowly– this gives you time to cool down and to think more clearly, and it helps you overcome any impulses for violent or aggressive behaviour you might be having.
  • Exercise regularly - physical exercise can be very effective in helping you reduce stress, get rid of irritation and control your anger.
  • Relax and try to get a good nights sleep, or look at ways of improving your environment so you can get more restful sleep.
  • Be mindful - mindfulness is a mind-body approach to life that helps us to relate differently to experiences and involves paying attention to our thoughts and feelings in order to better manage difficult and potentially situations that might make us angry. For example, when you are angry be mindful to keep away from using words like 'always' ("you always do that"), 'never' ("you never listen to me"), 'should' or 'shouldn't' ("you should do what I want you to do" or "you shouldn't to that") and of saying it's 'not fair.'
  • Cut down on alcohol - alcohol can make anger problems worse.
  • Be creative - writing, making music, dancing or painting can release tension and reduce feelings of anger.
  • Talk it out – talking about what makes you angry to a good freind, family member or therapist can be useful and can often help you get a different perspective on the situation.
  • Let go of angry thoughts – other people are who they are, and do what they do, so try to let go of the people and things that make you angry, and focus instead of those things and people who don't make you angry.
  • Applying relaxation techniques - focusing on relaxing your mind and your muscles, especially in situations that make you angry.
  • Going on a self-help course - working through an online anger management course in your own time or with the support of a therapist. Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) and Mindfulness are some of the most effective treatments for managing anger.
  • Read books on anger management.
  • Join a therapy or support group where other people with similar problems meet with a therapist every week to learn ways to tackle anger management.
  • Don't hold a grudge – don't get swallowed up by your own bitterness or sense of injustice, learn how to forgive.

If you need someone to talk to and to help you through your anger management issues then please CONTACT ME.

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© Robin Barratt