Anger is a normal emotion with a wide range of intensity, from mild irritation and frustration to rage. It is a reaction to a perceived threat to our-selves, our loved ones, our property, our self-image, or some part of our identity. Anger is a warning bell that tells us that something is wrong.
Anger has three components:
- Physical reactions, usually starting with a rush of adrenaline and responses such as an increased heart rate, blood pressure, and tightening muscles; often known as the “fight or flight” response
- The cognitive experience of anger, or how we perceive and think about what is making us angry. For example, we might think something that happened to us is wrong, unfair, and undeserved.
- Behavior, or the way we express our anger. There is a wide range of behavior that signals anger. We may look and sound angry, turn red, raise our voices, clam up, slam doors, storm away, or otherwise signal to others that we are angry. We may also state that we are angry and why, ask for a time-out, request an apology, or ask for something to change.
Everyone experiences anger, and it can be healthy. It can motivate us to stand up for ourselves and correct injustices. When we manage anger well, it prompts us to make positive changes in our lives and situations.Mismanaged anger, on the other hand, is counterproductive and can be unhealthy. When anger is too intense, out of control, misdirected, and overly aggressive, it can lead to poor decision making and problem solving, create problems with relationships and at work, and can even affect your health.
Anger management tip 1:
Be aware of your anger warning signs and triggers
While you might feel that you just explode into anger without warning, in fact, there are physical warning signs in your body. Anger is a normal physical response. It fuels the “fight or flight” system of the body, and the angrier you get, the more your body goes into overdrive. Becoming aware of your own personal signs that your temper is starting to boil allows you to take steps to manage your anger before it gets out of control.
Anger management tip 2:
Learn ways to cool down
Once you know how to recognize the warning signs that your temper is rising and anticipate your triggers, you can act quickly to deal with your anger before it spins out of control. There are many techniques that can help you cool down and keep your anger in check.
Anger management tip 3:
Find healthier ways to express your anger
If you’ve decided that the situation is worth getting angry about and there’s something you can do to make it better, the key is to express your feelings in a healthy way. When communicated respectfully and channeled effectively, anger can be a tremendous source of energy and inspiration for change.