February 8, 2024

Anger and how we can help

What is anger?

Anger is a common human emotion felt by us all. Although it can vary in intensity from mild irritability to rage, anger can be a very helpful emotion because it can help us identify things that are bothering us and motivate us to make changes. However, anger can become problematic if it starts to affect our relationships, day-to-day functioning or our happiness.

Problematic anger is something that can be overcome, but may require intervention from a mental health professional. Many people struggling with anger issues are inclined to think they are just going through a stressful period and they have it under control, but if you recognise the symptoms outlined in this article, it might be time to reach out to someone for help.

Actions that can help

  1. Try exercising. When you feel yourself becoming angry go for a run or even a brisk walk, it’s a positive way to release your energy.
  2. Take a break. No one would begrudge you for excusing yourself from a situation if the alternative is anger.
  3. Intervene early. Get to know the early signs of anger - such as frustration, agitation and body tension, and take steps to address your feelings before they become problematic.
  4. Anger often masks another emotion we’re experiencing, such as sadness. Try taking some time to identify difficult situations and feelings which could be leading to anger.
  5. Recognise it may be a good idea to seek help, anger can’t always be resolved alone and there are interventions that are proven to be useful.

Symptoms

There are psychological, physiological and behavioural signs of anger. Experiencing some of these signs does not necessarily mean you have problematic anger. However, if you are experiencing these signs on a frequent basis, it is something to keep an eye on. If you find yourself behaving in ways that are hurting yourself or someone else you should seek help from a professional.

Physical:

  • Feeling hot
  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Sweating
  • Tightness in chest
  • Muscles tensing
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Need to go to the toilet

Psychological:

  • Very easily irritated
  • ‘Seeing red’
  • Inability to relax or calm yourself

Behavioural:

  • Lashing out at others
  • Acting in a violent or disruptive manner

Treatment

Talking therapies are the most common treatment for anger issues. A therapist can work with you to discuss your experience with anger and how to best navigate it. They may recommend a programme of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), which will help you to understand why problematic anger is present in your life, what is keeping it going and how to resolve it.

Anger issues can also be addressed in group settings, where participants learn coping mechanisms and develop interpersonal skills in a safe and supportive environment.

How to get help

A good first step would be to talk to someone about how you’re feeling. This could be a doctor, or a friend/family member. If you think that you would benefit from seeing a therapist, contact us today and we can match you with someone suited to your needs.

Anger - Five facts

  • Anger is a valid emotion. However, it is the expression of and coping with this emotion that can have a significant impact on our well-being and quality of relationships.
  • It is possible to be angry and remain in control of how you behave.
  • Having problematic anger does not make you a bad person.
  • Social and environmental factors are key contributors to anger, but our anger levels can also be somewhat determined by genetics.
  • Anger is often a “second hand emotion” which comes after feelings of sadness or pain about a situation.

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