Anger is a valid emotion
Most of us feel a range of emotions, such as happiness, sadness, irritation and excitement. Anger gets a bad rap, but the truth is, anger is natural.
Expressing anger can be a good way to set boundaries and utilize healthy coping strategies. Anger expressed appropriately is often effective at resolving issues and can lead to good outcomes.
It is important to note that assertiveness and aggression are not the same thing. Assertiveness is often healthy and productive. Aggression tends to frighten people and may lead to unsafe situations.
Why are some people angrier than others?
There are a lot of reasons for this. Some of our differences are just how we are, just like some people are more athletic or better at singing. How we grow up can affect this too. You may have grown up in a home or community where anger was acceptable, but feelings of sadness or vulnerability were not. When that happens, anger is often our go-to response to a lot of feelings. Having a low frustration tolerance can be a contributor to anger as well.
Conversely, many people learn from an early age that anger is “bad” and should not be expressed.
When is anger a problem?
Anger that is felt too often or too intensely can become problematic. Not everyone expresses anger in the same way. Some people frequently feel angry but keep it bottled up. This may cause ongoing feelings of frustration and disconnection with other people.
Uncontrolled or aggressive anger can be frightening and cause problems in relationships and work. People who respond to anger in this way frequently feel badly about it later, thus causing feelings of shame or guilt. Many people use alcohol and drugs to deal with feelings of anger, yet in many cases this worsens the problem.
Anger and your health
Most of us know that feeling angry can make us feel uncomfortable and cause problems with our work and relationships. Anger can also impact your health in negative ways. During intense anger, our bodies go through physiological changes. When anger is persistent, it can affect many of our bodies systems. Over time, this can lead to bowel problems, ulcers, hypertension and strokes. Research has even shown that anger is a risk factor for heart disease.
Treatment for anger
I use approaches based on cognitive-behavioral therapy to assist people in addressing their anger. The primary goal of the approach is to learn to effectively manage your anger and develop self-control over thoughts and actions.
Additionally, I implement:
Enhanced communication skills
Development of anger control plans
Conflict resolution skills
Feeling out of control can be incredibly uncomfortable. Excessive anger or feelings of rage can hold you back from living the life you want. Change is possible.