Control Anger Before it Controls You
We’ve all experienced rage at one time or another. In traffic…dealing with our toddler’s temper tantrum…an unfair call at the ball game. Anger is a normal outlet of emotion. Excessive, uncontrolled anger is not. Sometimes it gets out of control and takes a destructive turn, leading to problems at work, within your family, in your social relationships and indeed in the overall quality of your life.
You may not want to feel angry all the time. In fact, you may feel like you’re at the mercy of an unpredictable and powerful force. It’s OK. You can understand anger and in that understanding, learn to control it.
Quite simply, this is an emotional state that can range from minor irritation to intense rage. Just like other emotions, such as happiness and sadness, it comes with certain physiological and biological changes such as elevated heart rate and blood pressure. Our instinct when feeling anger is to express it outwardly and aggressively. This is, after all, a natural instinct bred in us from our very beginnings – fighting to defend ourselves when attacked is a normal response to a perceived threat.
So, it stands to reason that a certain amount of anger is critical to our survival. However, verbally or physically lashing out at anyone or anything that makes us mad is socially unacceptable, not to mention unsafe and illegal. People typically have three main ways to deal with anger: express, suppress or calm.
Expressing your angry feelings in an assertive but not aggressive manner is certainly the most productive option. However, some people don’t know when to stop, crossing the line to become pushy, demanding, disrespectful and even abusive.
For those who find themselves angry all the time and can’t control it, anger management counseling or therapy could be a helpful option. The goal of anger management is to calm your emotional feelings down and thereby reduce the physiological responses that your anger causes. This is to help you internally (remember the high blood pressure thing?) as well as externally to those around you. While you can’t eliminate the people or things that enrage you, it is possible to change your response.
In addition to counseling, you can try at-home relaxation tools to help calm you down:
- Breathe deeply, from your gut, in and out.
- Slowly repeat a calming word or phrase such as “slow down,” “relax a bit,” or “take it easy now.”
- Picture a relaxing experience or place in your mind.
- Try slow exercises like yoga to relax your muscles.
Contact Midwest Psychological Services
If you feel you need help controlling your anger, please don’t hesitate to call us for an appointment at (715) 381-1980. Our therapists have vast experience in anger management techniques.