Shetland Isles

Managing Anger

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Anger is a completely normal emotion that we all experience at times. However, when anger is not managed it can be destructive and lead to all sorts of problems. It can also leave you feeling out of control. You can be angry at other people, events or yourself. We usually want to show anger aggressively however, this has to be controlled in order to get beneficial results. People will not tolerate extreme behaviour.

There are three main ways that people show anger:

1. Expressing, suppressing and calming

This is by far the best way of dealing with anger – it involves being assertive, making your needs clear and working out how to get them met. Being assertive means being respectful of yourself and others but being clear about your feelings

2. Suppressed, converted and redirected

This is when you deliberately hold in your anger, stop thinking about it and focus on something positive. This type of response can mean that you turn anger that doesn’t get outward expression back onto yourself potentially causing high blood pressure or depression.

3. Unexpressed anger

This can lead to passive aggressive behaviour (getting back at people) or developing a personality that seems constantly hostile and cynical. These people have not learned how to constructively express their anger and are unlikely to have successful relationships.

Calming down

Research shows that those people who demonstrate uncontrolled anger have a greater chance of developing heart disease and ailments such as insomnia, digestive problems and headaches. Non of us want to negatively affect our health but equally we want to preserve relationships by controlling our anger.

Here are 7 ways to help you calm down:

  1. Recognise your triggers - Look out for the signals that you are getting annoyed. Step away from the situation and / or use relaxation techniques.
  2. Don’t dwell - let go of past incidents rather than replaying then in your mind. You may be able to do this by thinking about the positives this person / event normally gives you.
  3. Change the way you think - by replacing unreasonable thoughts with reasonable ones e.g. rather than thinking “everything is destroyed” think” this is difficult but it isn’t disastrous”
  4. Relax - use breathing techniques, visualisation or muscle relaxing to help –
    • An example breathing technique is to breath by filling your tummy first and gradually up to the top of your lungs to a count of 4. Hold the breath for a count of 4 and then breathe out slowly to a count of 8. Repeat several times
    • Visualisation - imagine the most relaxing place you have ever been to. Transport yourself back there in your mind. Think about the sounds, sights, smells etc and really try to recreate the time in your mind.
    • Muscle relaxation - starting with your toes- scrunch them up hard and then let them go, move up to your calves and do the same, slowly move up your body clenching and releasing each muscle group until you feel more relaxed.
  5. Talk about the person or event that is making you angry before it becomes a huge problem - if you feel yourself becoming angry during the conversation move away to calm yourself and then return.
  6. Exercise - regular exercise helps you decompress and therefore reduce the stress that can fuel outbursts
  7. Recognise and avoid your triggers - understand the things that cause you anger and take an alternative action

When to get counselling

If you have tried the techniques above but still find yourself with an anger management problem you could benefit from working with a therapist. They will help you understand where your behaviour originates from and to identify triggers and mechanisms to help you to control your anger.

Sunday February 13th, 2022
Saturday October 16th, 2021

Sam Hughes
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Staffordshire Moorlands, UK