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26.1.11

Managing your ANGER



Anger is a normal and usually a healthy human emotion. However, it could also turn out to be destructive when it gets out of control. It could also lead to problems at work, in your personal relationships and in the overall quality of life. Uncontrolled anger makes you feel as though you're at the mercy of an unpredictable and powerful emotion.
What is Anger?

The Nature of Anger
Anger is an emotional state that varies in the intensity from mild irritation to intense fury and rage. Similar to other emotions, it is accompanied by physiological and biological changes. Your heart rate and blood pressure increases when you get angry.

Both external and internal events could cause anger. You could be angry at a specific person or your anger could be caused by worrying about your personal problems. Memories of traumatic events can also trigger angry feelings.

Expressing Anger
The natural way to express anger is to respond aggressively. Anger is a natural and an adaptive response to threats; it inspires powerful, very often aggressive feelings and behaviours, which allow us to fight and to defend ourselves when we are attacked. Henceforth, a certain amount of anger is therefore necessary to our survival.

On the contrary, we can't physically lash out at every person or object that irritates or annoys us. There are laws, social norms, and the common sense that place limits on how our anger can take us.

People use a variety of both conscious and unconscious processes to deal with their angry feelings. The three main approaches are:

Expressing
Expressing your angry feelings in an assertive manner is the healthiest way. To achieve this, you have to larn how to make clear what your needs are, and how to get them met, without hurting others. Being assertive literally means being respectful of yourself and others.

Suppressing
Anger can be suppressed, and then converted or redirected. This happens when you hold in your anger, stop thinking about it, and focus on something positive. The aim is to suppress your anger and convert it into more constructive behaviour. The danger in this type of response is that your anger can turn inward - on yourself. Anger turned inward may cause hypertension, high blood pressure, or even depression. Unexpressed anger can create other problems. It can lead to pathological expressions of anger, such as passive-aggressive behaviour (getting back at people indirectly, without telling them why, rather than confronting head-on). It could also lead to a personality trait that seems perpetually cynical and hostile. People who are constantly putting others down, criticising everything, and making cynical comments haven't learned how to constructively express their anger. Not suprisingly, they are not likely to have many successful relationships.

Calming
Finally, you can calm down inside. This means not just controlling your outward behaviour, but also controlling your internal responses, taking steps to lower your heart rate, calm yourself down, and let the feelings subside.

When none of these three techniques work, that's when someone or something is going to get hurt.

Anger Management

The objective of anger management is to reduce both your emotional feelings and the physiological arousal that anger causes. You can't avoid the things or people that enrage you, nor can you change them within a short period, but you can learn to effectively control your reations.

Strategies in Anger Management

Relaxation
Simple relaxation tolls, such as deep breathing can help calm down angry feelings. If you are involved in a relationship where both partners are hot-tempered, it might be a good idea for both of you to learn these techniques:

Some simple steps you can try:

1. Breathe deeply from your diaphragm; breathing from your chest would not relax you. Picture your breath coming up from your gut.

2. Slowly repeat a calm word or phrase such as "relax", "take it easy". Repeat it to yourself while breathing deeply.

3. Visualize a relaxing experience through imagination.

4. Yoga-like exercises can relax your muscles and make you feel much calmer.

** Practice these techniques daily. Learn to use them corectly when you are in a tense situation.

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