“It’s more about how to be angry and not about never being angry”

“It’s more about how to be angry and not about never being angry”

Emotions surface the human mind time to time, depending upon the external and internal circumstances, while some emotions bring pleasant feelings like joy, happiness, surprises, pride etc. there are other emotions which are negative emotions like - hatred, anger, jealousy, fear or sadness.

Emotions are an integral part of human behaviour and there are six basic emotions that are universal throughout human cultures: fear, disgust, anger, surprise, happiness, and sadness. Among all these emotions, anger is considered as the strongest emotions because it can control human behaviour to the greatest extent. It takes the least time to get generated and has the highest level of control on human behaviour. A person on a fit of rage can do unimaginable things, things that they may repent for the rest of their life. It not only affects others around the angry person but also motivates self-infliction damage that’s why commonly it is referred to as a double-edged sword.

Anger is not just a state of mind rather it heightens the heart rate, adrenaline levels and shoots blood pressure level. Although anger is a normal human emotion and it is a part of the fight or flight response to a perceived danger or harm. Hence, it has survival benefits and positive effects as well. When anger is handled properly then it can be channelized to make better changes in life. But, the problem arises when this anger gets beyond your control as it can really turn destructive; leading to serious issues in your professional life, in personal relationships and has many other adverse consequences by undermining a person's quality of life.

Humans and other animals often express anger by making loud loud noises such as shouting, baring teeth, staring in rage and developing postures as a warning to perceived aggressors, in an attempt to stop the threatening situations. It is generally not possible for a physical attack to happen without these indications of anger appearing initially. It turns extremely harmful especially when it takes the shape of a disorder, commonly called Intermittent Explosive Disorder (IED). IED is an impulse-control disorder which is symptomized by sudden episodes of unwarranted anger, hostility, impulsivity and recurrent aggressive outbursts. People with IED usually “explode” into a fit of rage despite a lack of apparent provocation or any specific reason and can destroy their relationships, professional and social life which further just fuel their problem; putting them in a vicious circle.

Thus, it’s very essential to keep your anger in check. But how? How to overcome anger disorder and channelize your anger?

A person facing anger issues can be treated with the help of anger management. Anger management is the procedure of identifying the symptoms that you're becoming angry and taking remedial or measurable steps to calm yourself down and deal with the situation in a conducive way. Anger management doesn't mean to try to restrain yourself from feeling angry or encouraging you to hold it inside. Anger is a very normal and important emotion a discussed earlier but only when you know how to express it correctly, anger management is all about learning and identifying how to do this.

Coping with anger is an acquired skill and you can easily learn or practice anger management skills on your own by reading books, articles or surfing on the internet. But for many people who find their anger to be uncontrollable, impacting their relationships negatively and leading to violent or dangerous behaviour are advised to visit a mental health practitioner for taking anger management sessions and other intervention techniques.

Anger management assists you to recognize frustrations early and resolve them in such a manner which helps you in expressing your requirements, it teaches you how to keep calm and being composed. Following are some indicators which depict that you need professional help to control your anger:

  1. If you regularly feel that you should hold in your anger.
  2. Persistent feelings of irritation, impatience, and hostility on unnecessary issues.
  3. Any random argument with others heightens that frustration or irritability.
  4. Persistent negative thoughts and excessive focus on bad experiences only.
  5. Threatening behaviour of violence against people, animal or property.
  6. Physical violence such as breaking things, hitting your partner or children, manhandling or driving rashly.
  7. Unmanageable use of verbal abuse or abusive language, shouting ruthlessly.
  8. Avoiding particular events and situations because of anxiety or depression about anger outbursts.
  9. facing regular troubles with the law.

How anger management therapy is done?

Anger management therapy can be conducted as a group session or one-on-one interaction with a counselor or psychologist. If a person is diagnosed with a mental health condition such as depression before or along with anger issues then anger management should take this into account too. In anger management training; a person can learn how to:

  1. Identify the triggers like situations, people, issues or anything else which makes them angry.
  2. Respond in a non-aggressive way to anger triggers, before getting actually angry.
  3. Manage the triggers with other healthy options. Rather than avoiding them one should face the appropriately.
  4. Identify their irrational thoughts and expectations from people or situations and to correct his/her them.
  5. Return to a position of calm, composed and peace when anger heightens.
  6. Express their emotions and needs assertively and justified way in the situations which usually lead to anger and frustration without being aggressive.
  7. Redirect their energy and resources into problem-solving rather than anger.

The Benefits of Anger Management

1. It is better to consciously address the issue whenever you are upset about something. Otherwise, the tiny concerns here and tiny concerns there can take the shape of a big issue in no time. Anger management sessions address that cause.

2. There are few people who really are quarrelsome, annoyed or irascible and have a negative aura. They almost ruin the whole surrounding or spoil other’s mood with their unjustifiable behaviour and few of them are the ones who always look around to find a reason or create a reason to fight with someone. This kind of people must attend the anger management classes. Once they notice these tendencies in themselves or are told by others that they generally do such things otherwise they won’t be able to handle the situation in future because they are habitual of going overboard at things. It is for your own benefit only therefore, you must not crib about going to the sessions. Instead, make the most out of it as ultimately it is something that is going to help you in your life.

3. Anger management classes will teach you how to use anger positively and more productively in a way that it will help you in your work approach and will help you to increase your productivity and will enhance your personality as well which will make your life a lot better than what it is now with anger issues and it will also help in reducing the risk of getting health problems that are generally associated with anger.

4. The anger management classes will help you in reducing the intensity of your anger as well. For some people venting out really works, but there are people who work well when their anger is rationalized and for these people, anger management sessions will be the perfect gateway to know how they can control their anger and get away from the scenarios which are not under their control. Staying composed or sometimes you should also opt to remain silent if there are chances of you getting involved in a tiff.

5. Anger management sessions will help you in learning the techniques about how to not to hurt someone else’s feelings by saying the words which you usually won’t say. Mostly, the anger management classes delve with this situation and try to make you understand that if moving on can save your time and energy then why to wait and waste your resources and peace of mind.

6. There are several situations where anger issues can drag you to the court. For example, you are involved in rash driving or road rage and in a fit of the moment you end up doing something which might end up land you in legal troubles. That’s why it is better to keep the situation under control right from the beginning by arranging the anger management classes. If you will keep on ignoring your anger constantly then someday it might cost you a lot as your reputation social goodwill, personal relationships, job, money/property, etc everything is at stake. Anger management is going to be very effective for you if you have that intensity of anger.

7. For say, when you get an overdose of drug or are addicted to something then you have to go to the rehabilitation centre to get rid of it. Similarly, anger management classes are sort of rehabilitation centre where one’s anger is treated. The person who has a bad temper attend it to reform his/her behaviour because there they are made to realize the repercussions of their anger and how to overcome it.

8. It also reduces the chances of social rejection. It is quite apparent for the society to reject a person who has been the main reason behind most problems in their family or in the society and the situation can worsen as you might get socially isolated. Once you are rejected it’s very difficult to convince everyone about yourself and your reason for such behaviour. Rather than going through such a torrid time it is better that you seek professional help for managing your anger.

About the Author

Shivani Mishra
counselling psychologist.

Shivani is a Counselling Psychologist in Delhi.

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