The main objectives of anger management counselling include:-
- Identifying reasons for the client getting angry
- Changing the client’s response to anger
- Empowering the client with skills necessary to handle anger more effectively
- Teaching the client to use anger as a tool to solve problems and as a means of motivation
Anger is a basic emotion and most humans are susceptible to this. Anger is a means of relieving tension and built-up energy. While most of us know that expression of anger is a healthy way to manage our emotion, excessive anger becomes a problem. Excessive could even be the symptom of more complex underlying issues of mental health and might even worsen existing problems. When anger gets out of control, it becomes destructive and can impact the quality of life significantly, spreading its influence on relationships, career and general well being. Thankfully, you can learn ways to control anger more effectively and moderate its impact on everyday life.
Let us now examine ways to control your anger and improve the quality of your life
Expression of anger
Poor management of emotions triggers anger. Like every other emotion, anger involves chemical as well as physiological changes in your body impacting the adrenaline level and the heart rate. These surges can be destructive and addictive for some people. A thin line divides acknowledgement of anger and venting it till such time it gets out of control. An instant way of expressing anger is aggression. But that may not always be suitable and there are alternative ways to manage and express your anger without being aggressive. Anger management therapy and relaxation techniques are among the options.
In expressing anger, we tend to employ a wide range of unconscious as well as a conscious process to deal with our feelings. The manner in which we control these processes draws the line between healthy and unhealthy anger. Anger can be assertively expressed without the attendant aggression in a constructive manner without causing hurt to those around you.
Similarly, unhealthy anger can also be expressed in several ways though they may also be accompanied by negative repercussions. Often times, we convert, redirect or suppress our anger though it can have a negative impact on our well being and health. When you experience difficulty managing your anger, you tend to put down others and become overly critical. You could also become hostile, grumpy and feel irritable.
What causes anger?
We cope with anger in our own ways similar to the manner in which we handle stress, grief or sadness. There is much reason for our inability to control anger. How we react and interpret certain situations is dependent on a number of factors like past experiences, childhood and present circumstances. Each individual has his/her own individual triggers that make him/her angry. However, there are also common situations that make nearly anyone angry like when threatened, attacked, powerless, feeling frustrated or when treated unfairly.
When anger turns into a problem
Basically, anger turns into a problem when the impact spreads to others around you. The degree of impact, however, will be dependent on the manner in which you express your anger. When anger is suppressed or spewed out without consideration to the surroundings and at a time when it is inappropriate, the consequent damages extend to the well being and health of the individual apart from relationships and several other aspects of everyday life. The long-term consequences of uncontrolled anger can be devastating. When anger is kept suppressed and one does not know how to manage anger, escalation of aggression and similar behaviour should be expected including physical abuse. Over time, the individual tends to get angry more quickly and more often at the slightest pretext. When the individual loses all his ability to control anger or give constructive expression to anger, he/she should get help from competent professionals.
In most situations, elder members of the family or friends might be able to help, but a professional can assist the person to learn measures of coping with anger and rebuilding damaged relationships. They will present an opportunity to talk about your underlying feelings and acknowledge the triggers. They can support you through the process, work with you on your anger and means of controlling it effectively.
Recognizing the signs
If your anger turns violent or abusive, much of your life can be impacted. Consequently, destructive behaviour can affect your career and relationships, and become very damaging for those around you. Talking to a qualified anger management professional can help you to learn ways of coping with your anger and rebuild damaged relationships.
Recognizing the signs is important to gain control over anger and when you are aware of the anger triggers and your feeling, it becomes a huge help in managing anger in future. When you are confronted with aggression, the adrenaline rushes through your body and that contributes to a quick reaction, without control. With the rise in adrenaline, you can notice that your breathing rate is also rising and your heart starts beating faster with your body becoming tense. When you start recognizing these warning signs, you get an opportunity to pause and think how you might want to react to the particular situation.
Some of the pointers to an anger problem can include:
- Breaking things and explosive outbursts
- Constant argument with those around you
- Involvement in physical violence
- Pretty quick to lose temper – like in road rage
- Constant desire to verbally or physically lash out.
The objective of anger management therapy is to reduce feelings created by anger by encouraging individuals to explore potential triggers, causes and focus on underlying issues if any. Anger management counselling can be administered to groups or a one-to-one type. Anger management therapy is helpful in addressing specific types of issues associated with anger, such as adolescent anger, workplace anger, relationships etc. This form of therapy employs several methods including mindfulness and CBT or cognitive behavioural therapy.
Deep breathing exercises and meditation are also known to have a salutary effect in gaining control over anger.
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