What Is Anger Management? & How You Can Master It
...and what is the best way to express your anger?
Anger is a natural and a universal emotion we carry throughout our lives, it can be characterized by antagonism toward someone or something you feel has deliberately done you wrong. Like all emotions; anger can be a good thing. It can give you a way to express negative feelings but excessive anger can cause major issues.
Try remembering a memory of yours where you experienced anger towards someone or something, how did you express this emotion? Do you generally express it this way?
As we all probably experienced, at the moment of anger, we may do things that don't exactly reflect well on who we are. We may believe we make sense while in an angry mindset, but the reality is that all of it is completely irrational. Like a drunk person who doesn't know the time to stop, anger obstructs your judgment and makes you unaware of what's going on. When you're angry, you're under the influence of strong chemicals in your body. The amygdala, a part of your brain involved in the experience of anger, is one of the brain's most primitive components. After your amygdala alerts your body that you're angry, your adrenal gland kicks into action. Adrenaline is a chemical that increases your heart rate, forcing body contractions and blood flow to your brain and muscles. Your body starts producing more testosterone, a chemical that kicks your aggression into a higher gear.
Anger pushes us towards saying or doing things we may regret. Unlike most think, anger does not make people speak the truth, it makes us speak from the most primitive part of ourself.
Don't let these make you think “amygdala harms us”, after all if emotional intelligence did not exist, we would have been experiencing extreme emotional blindness. Abnormal, sudden emotional reactions happen as a cause of data being delivered to amygdala instead of the cortex. When people respond to situations with extra anger, most of the times there's more to the story. Behind their rage is a fear of being hurt, a fear of not being able to stand up for themselves, or a fear of unjust or unfair things happening. These are all understandable feelings. And anger is also appropriate in many situations. The experience of anger isn't wrong; it is when we express that anger in negative ways that it can be harmful to our lives.
Managing anger does not mean, ignoring it. Ignoring your emotions will not help you control the way you express it. Suppressed emotions may eventually turn into physical issues. Therefore, the best option is learning to manage anger efficiently.
Anger Management in Therapy
A major thing I have seen in the university courses I give was that teaching students the right way to express their emotions and helping them acquire some communication skills was priceless.
Being aware of your emotions, using “I” language instead of “you” language, enables healthier and stronger communication. An example of “you” language would be using phrases like; “you make me angry”, “you did … to me”. An example of “I” language would be expressing what you felt: “....made me feel unvalued”. “You” language, however, triggers the other person to switch to defense mode.
In therapies, we try to discover the underlying triggers of that specific emotion, and try understanding what that underlying belief means to that. Then we continue working towards controlling how they express their anger with the help of cognitive practices.