Do you ever feel like your anger is getting the best of you? Are you prone to sudden bursts of rage that leave you feeling drained and remorseful? Perhaps these sudden outbursts take you by surprise, or you sense them coming on, but feel helpless to prevent them? Luckily, a solution awaits you – anger management therapy.
What Is Anger Management?
Anger management is a process that helps people identify stressors. Stressors are factors that lead to feelings of anger, and by identifying them we can help ourselves stay calm and in control during stressful situations. The purpose of anger management, put simply, is to help a person decrease their anger. Anger leads to emotional and physical stress, and by appropriately reacting to circumstances that lead to these symptoms, we can effectively reduce or eliminate them. While it may be impossible to avoid stressors altogether, it is possible to control how we respond to these stressors.
What Leads to Anger?
Specific sources of anger vary from person to person, but they can generally be divided into two categories: internal events and external events.
Internal events are those we privately experience, such as perceived failures or injustices. External events are those we experience objectively, such as teasing or humiliation. When we are triggered by internal or external events, it may lead to internalized or externalized behaviors. Internalized behaviors include increased feelings of depression, while externalized behaviors include temper tantrums.
Oftentimes, anger leads to aggression. Aggression is not inherently problematic. It is a natural response that helps us deal with a threat. Say we are on a camping trip and a bear suddenly takes us by surprise. Our natural reaction would either be fear or aggression. Perhaps we would start shouting at the animal and/or wave our arms excitedly in a bid to scare him off. This form of aggression is natural, appropriate, and even life-preserving. If, however, we displayed the same aggressive tendencies when a co-worker affectionately joked about our new haircut, that would be entirely inappropriate. It is likely that this disproportionate reaction is due to some internal trauma or general feelings of insecurity. While lashing out and blaming another for an angry outburst may seem logical, it does not truly pinpoint the root of the anger. To do so, and to decrease angry outbursts, it is helpful to undergo anger management therapy with a professional.
How Anger Management Works
Anger management therapy allows a person to identify the sources of their anger, be they internal or external, and form constructive responses to stressors, rather than destructive ones. By identifying these emotional triggers, it is possible to become aware of emotional responses to various levels of arousal, and to learn how to use these indications as a means of controlling anger.
Anger management provides people with insight into how future events may trigger existing feelings of trauma. This form of therapy will also help people identify when they are resorting to anger as a defense mechanism, and why they are feeling defensive in the first place.
By managing anger in such a fashion, a person can reduce the emotional impact of anger, as well as the physical consequences anger has on our bodies, such as high blood pressure and heart problems. Furthermore, by greatly reducing their anger, a person can improve their relationships with others, such as partners and friends, and significantly improve their quality of life.
Successful anger management therapy will include impulse control, self-awareness, frustration management and offer remedies such as meditation and breathing techniques.
If you find that anger is ruining your quality of life, consider anger management therapy. It may be one of the best decisions you ever make.Learn More
For those dealing with anger issues, the first step towards anger management is to figure out what makes you angry in the first place. In most cases, anger is not like some emotional seat that defines your personality or wellbeing, but rather your reaction to something that happens outside, but which changes how you feel.
Perhaps the best definition of anger trigger is anything that elicits the emotions of anger within an individual. By learning how to know some of the things that “push the button” to make someone angry, it becomes easy to manage the anger since you can always tell when you are just about to be triggered.
Anger triggers are unique to individuals
Every anger therapist will confirm to you that just as every individual is different, the triggers responsible for initiating angry feelings are also different and vary widely. Most of the time, life experiences have a direct correlation with how anger triggers are ultimately experienced. For example, if someone made fun of your weight as a child, you are likely to react angrily whenever someone comments about your weight as an adult.
This is just an example of how an experience you had as a child created a trigger to which you will feel angry whenever someone makes a reference about it years later on in life. Some of the common anger triggers include:
- Feeling wronged or mistreated
- Believing that nobody is listening to you
- Getting blamed for things you are not responsible for
- Feeling insecure or unsafe
- Receiving threats
- Getting insulted
- Being falsely accused
- Being ignored
- Being interrupted or talked over
- Being lied to
How to know when you are getting triggered
In any anger management therapy, one of the major goals is to learn how to know if you are getting triggered. If you can tell that you are getting triggered, then you will know what is about to happen, and as such, you will have a stronger grip on your emotions and stop a potential explosion.
Typically, when the trigger is on, you are likely to experience both an emotional and physiological response. The emotional response comes with the primal sectors of the brain that is responsible for controlling reasoning gives way to the prefrontal cortex. At that point, your desire is that whatever could be happening should just stop. One of the reasons why you get angry is when you feel that you are no longer in control.
The physiological response, on the other hand, comes about when your respiratory rate and heart rate increases rapidly. This might make you feel anxious, panic or just feel that you are on the very edge. The muscles will become tense, and you may also have tunnel vision. These are the same responses you will normally have whenever you are feeling unsafe or threatened.
When you combine the physiological and the emotional responses, it becomes to make a clear decision, and you could feel as if the anger is getting out of control.Learn More