Feelgood Health

Anger Management? Road Rage? Aggression? Constantly Irritable? Do You Have A Problem? Our Psychologist's Top Tips!

Have you noticed how angry people are lately? We become angry at home, at work, at school, while driving (road rage) or even out shopping. Research suggests that people are angrier than ever before! Do YOU have problems with anger? Michele Carelse, our Clinical Psychologist takes a look at what could be the cause of your anger and how you can learn to control your anger in a healthy way.

What is anger?

Feeling angry is an emotion that we are all familiar with. Anger may present itself as mild irritation and annoyance or it could spiral into intense rage, fury and aggression. It can be a good thing and a bad thing. 

People also react differently when they are angry. Some of us may stomp or walk away or not speak at all while others may simply become withdrawn and quiet.  Others may yell, scream or lash out by throwing things. In some cases, people also keep their anger buried deep inside and release it by crying. Depression may be a form of underlying anger turned inwards instead of outwards. Often when a person is angry, their blood pressure and heart rate goes up, levels of adrenaline and non-adrenaline increases, their face becomes hot and flushed and their fists clench.

Why am I so angry all the time?

It’s important to understand that anger is a healthy and normal emotion. Anger is an emotion and reaction that we all feel – we may become angry for different reasons, depending on the circumstances or the situation.  Sometimes, we react to situations without thinking things through and the first response is ANGER. The most natural way to express anger is often  in an aggressive manner – by shouting or hitting out.  In the case of road rage, people may begin driving in an erratic and dangerous manner and will honk their horns, grimace and make aggressive hand gestures.

You may feel angry or lose your temper if you feel that you’ve been treated unfairly, something doesn’t go your way, you are always strapped for cash, your child doesn’t listen to you or you have to deal with rude taxi drivers on your way home. You may also feel angry because you are afraid, frustrated, jealous, overwhelmed, stressed, hurt or trying to deal with a traumatic experience. As you can see, there a number of reasons or factors which can trigger anger.

However, when anger becomes explosive and results in screaming, shouting and aggressive behaviour for longer than usual or at inappropriate times, it can be a serious problem.  
It can have a negative effect on our relationships, home and work lives, especially if we do not learn how to manage and control our anger. While it is important to know the cause of your anger and frustration, it is even more important to figure out how to overcome and move past this emotion.

Tips to manage your anger

1. Find out what is causing your anger

Anger can be short-lived or deep-seated. People may experience anger because of stress, financial difficulties, traumatic events, social or familial situations. Very often, anger is learned behaviour. If you grew up witnessing your parents fighting, screaming or shouting at each other or at you or your siblings, you may believe that this is how anger should be expressed.

Sometimes, people have a difficult time recognising that they are angry or don’t feel that they need to change their behaviour even though it is having a negative impact on them or on those close to them. The first step is to acknowledge that you have anger issues and then try to work towards the source of the problem. It may not be an easy process and you may not like it either – especially, when you have to take a good look at yourself and your actions. Consult a therapist to help you to find out what is the cause of your anger and help you to control your emotions. 
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2. Know your anger warning signs

How often have you heard someone who was angry say, “I just saw red?” Our body actually alerts us before we blow a gasket. It is therefore important to pay attention to the way anger feels inside your body – breathing faster, knots in your stomach, pounding heart, clenching your hands or jaw, or “seeing red”. Certain people, places and situations may also be the catalyst that will trigger angry feelings. If this is the case, then avoid these triggers so that they don’t have to explode.
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3. Learn how to control your anger

There are various techniques that you can practice to keep your anger in check.

Breathe deeply
Taking deep, slow breaths is relaxing and soothing and will definitely benefit when emotions run high. When you are angry, your breath is short and shallow and immediately you feel tense. Practicing deep breathing every day helps your body to react in more positive ways, keeping you calmer and happier.

Count to 10
This may seem silly but it can make all the difference. Anger makes you impulsive and quick to react. Take a deep breath and count to ten (slowly) to give yourself a chance to get a grip and respond more rationally.

Take five
As soon as you are aware that your anger levels are rising, do yourself a favour and remove yourself from the situation to cool down. Getting some fresh air, going for a walk, hitting the gym or listening to music will give you the opportunity to calm down and release pent up frustration.

Slow down and think things through
During the heat of an argument, angry people quickly jump to conclusions – which are often WRONG! Think through your responses carefully and also listen to what the other person has to say before you answer. It’s natural to want to get defensive and fight back when you feel you are being criticised. Instead listen and keep communication channels open to avoid an ugly situation. A good idea is also to agree to continue the discussion in the morning. That way you have a chance to cool down and see things more clearly.

Find alternatives
Try to  figure out what is causing your anger. If  driving to work every morning in congested traffic makes your blood boil and causes road rage, find an alternate route, leave earlier in the morning, join a lift club or take public transport to control your anger. If you become angry when trying to discuss relationship issues, write them down instead. If anger is your default reaction, try to ‘reset’ it by consciously trying alternatives.
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Natural Remedies can help!

If you are having a problem controlling your anger, there are natural remedies that can help! In the Feelgood Health range, we can recommend:
PureCalm is the perfect natural remedies to relieve anger outbursts and keep you calm. PureCalm will bring instant relief from stress, tension and anxiety. 
Anger issues may also stem from deeper emotional issues which may require intensive counselling and therapy. For added support, MindSoothe which is a natural antidepressant helps to keep emotions and feelings balanced.
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Products in this Article

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