Everyone feels angry at times and this is often due to life stresses such as money worries or difficulties in relationships.
It’s important to realise that anger is a normal process that has allowed humans to evolve and adapt. It isn’t a bad thing in itself, but problems occur if it isn’t managed in the right way.
Anger can be a defence against shame, feeling small, feeling disappointed, feeling betrayed, feeling distrusted, and so on. It is different things for different people.
When anger becomes too strong, happens too often, lasts too long, spoils relationships or work, and in particular if it leads to violence or aggression, then anger becomes a problem and should be addressed.
From mild irritation to intense fury and rage, the physiological results of anger can vary. Heart rate and blood pressure go up as our body is getting ready to ‘fight’ or ‘flight’. However, even when the anger is resolved, we may still have to deal with the physical effects because all that energy has to go somewhere. This may be taken out on another person, such as a partner, or object.
What causes anger?
Anger is caused by our reactions to things happening around us or by our own thoughts and worries. Anger usually occurs after a trigger of some kind. It’s a message from our inner self telling us that something is not right. It is important these messages are not pushed down and forgotten about. They need to be heard and acted upon in a safe and professional environment, such as counselling.
The following thinking errors may make our anger worse:
- ignoring the positive – we may focus only on the negative or bad events
- perfectionism – some people expect too much from themselves or those around them
- all or nothing thinking – rather than taking the middle approach.
When working alongside clients with anger problems, I look at what it is that triggers their anger and how it impacts on their life, and then offer a range of strategies to help change their response to those triggers. For example, keeping a journal can bring clarity and prevents the person from internalising their anger.
Rather than being at the mercy of your emotional reactions, I can help you to choose alternative ways of behaving and responding to a situation or person.