It’s normal to experience anger at times, as anger is a healthy, natural emotion. Feeling anger does not necessarily mean that something is wrong. It’s simply your body telling you that there’s some contrast in your internal or external life that may need attention or processed.
However, some people have a challenging time expressing their anger in healthy or appropriate ways. Whether that’s someone struggling with PTSD, a traumatic brain injury, substance abuse, bullying behaviors, or one who simply has never learned how to manage anger. A few examples of such is shouting, acting out in aggression, verbal abuse, numbing out with alcohol or drugs, or self-harming. These things can result in problems with family, friends, co-workers, etc.
What is Anger Management?
Anger management is a process that offers steps to recognizing the signs that you’re becoming angry and learning how to contend with the emotion in more constructive ways. See, angry behavior patterns are oftentimes developed and repeated over time. They become a habit, but the good news is that habits can be changed. Through therapy, you can learn tools for managing and expressing anger in appropriate and effective ways.
Healthy Vs. Unhealthy Anger
In and of itself, anger is not a bad emotion. In fact, anger is a normal emotion that you feel physically when something tends to bother you. Physically, when you start to feel anger, your body reacts by increasing the production of the hormone adrenaline, the heart rate, and blood pressure.
The feeling that arises in the body may be unfamiliar and quite uncomfortable. Your stomach becomes tight, you feel a tightness in your chest and start breathing faster, your body may feel as if it’s shaking, and your thoughts may start racing. If you don’t know how to deal with this physical reaction, you could allow your thoughts to become irrational or lose impulse control and end up expressing the anger in inappropriate ways, like shouting, being sarcastic, aggressive or violent.
Benefits of Anger Management Therapy
When you commit to anger management therapy, you’ll certainly have the opportunity to learn a skill set that allows you to handle anger in a healthier way. Some of the benefits include:
- Learning what triggers your anger and be able to better avoid the triggers or contend with them in healthier ways.
- Be able to work with your thoughts or mindset that may be causing those feelings of intense anger to rise. You’ll learn how to track your thoughts and stop any irrational thoughts in their tracks. You’ll be better able to come to rational conclusions, and thus, react differently and in a more appropriate way.
- Learn relaxation techniques, such as mindfulness and deep breathing.
- Become better at problem solving, which can reduce triggers and empower you.
- Become more assertive, owing and contending with your emotions in a healthy way.
- Decrease the intensity of the physical arousal that has been accompanying anger.
- Dig deep to uncover the roots that may be buried in emotional trauma, grief, addiction, etc.
- Slow your reaction time to anger feelings.
Recognizing Anger Problems
Learning to recognize if you have anger issues is important before learning skills and techniques to manage such an emotion. Answering questions like, “What triggers my anger?” or “Are my reactions to anger appropriate?” can really help you out.
There are internal and external signs of anger problems and working with both in terms of therapy is useful. Internally, someone may suppress or bottle up feelings of anger, which over time can result in both physical and mental problems, such as chronic headaches, stomachaches, withdrawing from others, or feeling depressed. Externally, losing control of your behavior when angry can result in relationship problems, legal ramifications, substance abuse, self-harm, and more.
- Internal signs of anger– feeling frustrated, guilty, like a failure, like a victim, sulking, depression.
- External signs of anger – aggression, tantrums, shouting, physical violence.
Anger Management Therapy: How It Works
If you’re struggling with anger management issues, therapy can be quite helpful. You’ll be able to work with a therapist to:
- Become more emotionally aware
- Understand the dynamics of the emotion of anger
- Learn what triggers your anger
- What situations provoke anger
- Realize if your anger is getting out of control
- Deal with underlying rage
- Identify if you’re using defense mechanisms and deconstructing them
- Learn and practice in a controlled environment
Anger Management Tools
When you work with a therapist on anger management skills, you’ll likely draw from a number of anger management skills and techniques, including:
- Progressive relaxation techniques
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
- Skill development
- Deep breathing techniques
- Impulse control
Help Is Available
If you’re struggling with managing anger, please know that help is available in the form of therapy with trained professionals. You do not have to stay stuck repeating the same kind of behaviors. A series of therapy sessions can revolutionize the way you handle and express anger, which will certainly bring you more peace and joy along your life journey.
Contact us today to learn more about our anger management therapy.