How can I express my anger safely?
There are safe ways to express your anger:
- Go for a run
- Talk to someone you trust
It is important that you express your anger safely. If you don't, you may hurt yourself or someone else.
How can relaxation help?
Relaxation can help put things in perspective. There are many ways you can relax:
- Go for a walk or sit quietly in a park
- Listen to music
- Read a book, go to a movie or watch a video
- Play your favorite sport
- Take a bath
It is easy to forget to make time to relax. It can be helpful to try and put time aside each day to do something relaxing. Try writing a list of activities that you find relaxing.
How can I handle arguments?
Once you have an argument, it is easy to stay angry or upset with the other person. If you don't resolve arguments with people you see often, it can be a very uncomfortable experience.
Talking to the person about your disagreement may or may not help. If you do approach them make sure it is in a helpful way.
Unresolved arguments can cause problems
Unresolved arguments can lead to:
What are the physical effects of anger?
- Confusion and feelings of resentment
- Stress and tension
- Family breakdowns or poor relationships
- Aggression or violence
Anger triggers the body's 'fight or flight' response. Other emotions that trigger this response include fear, excitement and anxiety. The adrenal glands flood the body with stress hormones, such as adrenaline and cortisol. The brain shunts blood away from the gut and towards the muscles, in preparation for physical exertion. Heart rate, blood pressure and respiration increase, the body temperature rises and the skin perspires.
Can anger cause health problems?
The constant flood of stress chemicals and associated metabolic changes that accompany recurrent unmanaged anger can eventually cause harm to many different systems of the body. Some of the short and long term health problems that have been linked to unmanaged anger include:
What are unhelpful ways to deal with anger?
- Digestion problems, such as abdominal pain
- Increased anxiety
- High blood pressure
- Skin problems, such as eczema
- Heart attack
Many people express their anger in inappropriate and harmful ways, including:
How can I learn to express anger in healthy ways?
- Anger explosions - some people have very little control over their anger and tend to explode in rages. Raging anger may lead to physical abuse or violence. A person who doesn't control their hot temper can isolate themselves from family and friends. Some people who fly into rages have low self-esteem, and use their anger as a way to manipulate others and feel powerful.
- Anger repression - some people consider that anger is an inappropriate or 'bad' emotion, and choose to suppress it. However, bottled anger often turns into depression and anxiety.
Suggestions on how to express your anger in healthy ways include:
What are some suggestions for long term anger management?
- If you feel out of control, walk away from the situation temporarily, until you cool down
- Recognize and accept the emotion as normal and part of life
- Try to pinpoint the exact reasons why you feel angry
- Once you have identified the problem, consider coming up with different strategies on how to remedy the situation
- Do something physical
The way you typically express anger may take some time to modify. Suggestions include:
What are the benefits of regular exercise in anger management?
- Keep a diary of your anger outbursts, to try and understand how and why you get mad.
- Consider assertiveness training, or learning about techniques of conflict resolution.
- Learn relaxation techniques, such as meditation.
- See a counsellor or psychologist if you still feel angry about events that occurred in your past.
- Engage in regular exercise
People who are stressed are more likely to experience anger. Numerous worldwide studies have documented that regular exercise can improve mood and reduce stress levels. The effect may be twofold: physical exertion burns up stress chemicals, and it also boosts production of mood-regulating neurotransmitters in the brain, including endorphins and catecholamines.
What can I do to teach my children how to express anger appropriately?
Expressing anger appropriately is a learned behavior. Suggestions on helping your child to deal with strong feelings include:
Things to remember
- Lead by example
- Let them know that anger is natural and should be expressed
- Treat your child's feelings with respect
- Teach practical problem-solving skills
- Encourage open and honest communication in the home
- Allow them to express their anger in appropriate ways
- Explain the difference between aggression and anger
- Punish aggression or violence, but not appropriately expressed anger
- Teach your child different ways of calming and soothing themselves
- Learn to express your anger safely
- Relaxing activities can help you deal with your anger
- Resolving arguments will make you feel more positive and happy.
- The long term physical effects of uncontrolled anger include increased anxiety, high blood pressure and headache
- Anger is a positive and useful emotion, if it is expressed appropriately
- Long term strategies on anger management include regular physical exercise, learning relaxation techniques and counselling