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Anger management

Anger is a natural response to possible threats. When you are angry, your body releases adrenaline, your heart rate and blood pressure increase, your muscles tense, your senses begin to feel more acute and your face and hands are flushed.

Anger can be useful but can also become a problem when you don't manage it in a healthy way.

Causes of anger:

There are many common reasons for anger:

  • You feel that you’re not being listened to.

  • You lose your patience.

  • You feel you are not being appreciated or taken seriously.

  • You are angered by someone else’s actions that you do not agree with.

  • Anger can also be caused by memories of traumatic or enraging events and worrying about personal problems.

Everyone has unique anger triggers, often founded on what they were taught to expect from themselves, from others and the world around them. Your personal history feeds your reactions to anger, too. For example, perhaps you were taught not to show your anger as a child - you do not know how to express anger so your frustrations fester and make you unhappy or rise up until you fly of the handle in an angry outburst.

Sometimes, changes in brain chemistry or underlying medical conditions can contribute to angry outbursts.

Is it OK to feel anger?

Yes, it is ok to feel anger. Being angry can help you share your anxieties, prevent others from walking all over you or perhaps stimulate you to do something positive. The key is managing your anger in a healthy way.

Handling anger:

Anger itself isn't a problem — it's how you handle it.

Expression of anger can be from a reasonable emotion with rational discussion, to a violent outburst with no room for discussion.

Some people suppress their anger and try to change it to a more constructive behaviour.  Suppression can, however, cause your anger to turn inward on yourself.

Other people recognise when they are becoming angry and control their outward behaviour by calming down and letting the angry feelings subside.

Using constructive expression, where you state your concerns and needs clearly and directly, without hurting others or trying to control them, is an ideal way to prevent anger becoming a problem.

Is anger dangerous to your health?

There is research that suggests that pent-up anger – keeping your anger to yourself - can be harmful to your health. Such responses might aggravate chronic pain or lead to sleep difficulties or digestive problems. There's even some evidence that anger and hostility is linked with heart disease.

What about professional help?

You may wish to seek professional help – counselling or psychotherapy - for anger issues if your anger seems out of control, causes you to do things you regret, hurts those around you or is taking a toll on your personal relationships. 


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