Managing Anger

Written by Andrew Gatus, Psychcologist, Artius Sunshine Coast

Anger is a normal human emotion that arises when we feel irritated, frustrated or annoyed. Anger may be expressed in behaviours such as shouting, swearing or exerting physical aggression against objects or people. However, others times anger can be expressed through subtler behaviours, such as withdrawing from a relationship, or refusing to talk others out of anger. Anger can serve an important function by causing us to make changes to something we feel is particularly important. However, the behaviour associated with anger can affect our relationship with friends, family and work colleagues. In addition, angry outbursts of aggressive behaviour can leave us feeling ashamed, embarrassed, guilty or disappointed with ourselves. More serious health complications may arise as a result of consistent anger, such as depression, anxiety, high blood pressure and heart disease. Other times, drug or alcohol problems may develop when these substances are used as a means of coping with anger.

Triggers for anger

For some of us, certain situations can make us feel angry, such as being stuck in a traffic jam, having a co-worker disagree with our opinion, having things not go to plan or experiencing financial pressure. Simple misunderstandings or poor communication can lead to feelings of anger, even when such situations were never intended to be aggressive in the first place. Whilst some of us can handle daily stressors with ease, others are more prone to feeling angry, even in the absence of any noticeable triggers.

Dealing with anger

The first thing to help manage anger is to notice when we do feel angry. Once we can achieve this we have a choice of how we behave. Instead of reacting with aggressive behaviour we can respond with many helpful behaviours, such as:

  • Removing ourselves from the situation until we’ve cooled down
  • Distract ourselves by listening to music, talking to someone, doing housework, etc.
  • Try to turn the situation into a humorous one by thinking of the funny side of the situation
  • Take several big deep breathes or progressively tense and relax each of the muscles in our body
  • Exercise or go for a walk
  • Congratulate ourselves whenever we are able to calm down when angry

For more information on how to better manage anger, contact Artius today on 1300 986 886 or health@artius.com.au.