Whatever the trigger, how you respond to it is the result of a series of expectations you have about how people should behave or about how life should play out, some of which may be quite unrealistic. For example, you may feel that your friends should always be available to help when you need them, or that you should never have to feel the effects of aging.
If you have these expectations, then experiencing the unavailability of a friend or arthritic pain in your joints may trigger you to respond in anger. Anger can also result from how you choose to appraise a triggering event. You may think the event has a deeper, more general meaning, such as when your spouse comes home late from work because of a traffic jam and you interpret it as uncaring or disrespectful.
Usually, anger is a reaction to other uncomfortable feelings below the surface, such as hurt, disappointment, sadness, anxiety, embarrassment, or shame. Even if these uncomfortable emotions are not acknowledged in the moment, they may still be there. To manage anger in a healthier way—and to prevent it from turning destructive—involves self-reflection, using skills from three broad areas of understanding and practice: mindfulness and mindfulness meditation , self-compassion, and self-awareness.
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How can these help? Mindfulness and mindfulness meditation help you examine your own experiences without reacting to them or becoming overwhelmed.
Practicing mindfulness and meditation can help teach you that your thoughts, feelings, and physical reactions are only temporary rather than a fixed part of who you are. This gives you increased freedom to choose how to react to them. This awareness allows you to ponder the choices available to you in responding to anger.
Support for this comes from studies showing an association between mindfulness and the ability to differentiate between different emotions—an ability that, in turn, helps you better regulate negative emotions. Once you are mindfully aware of your experiences, self-compassion involves being sensitive to your own suffering and accepting yourself without judgment, as well as seeing yourself as deserving of nurturing and care.
It embodies neither self-pity nor self-indulgence, but rather a healthy affirmation of oneself. Practicing self-compassion allows you to recognize anger as a signal of underlying pain that must be addressed. Furthermore, it can help you to judge your emotions less harshly, another way to mitigate anger. To another rock? Once you recognise difference, you can start to respect it and see yourself and the other person in a clearer light.
Difference, when acknowledged, engenders vitality and binds people more closely.
Reflections on the most seductive—and addictive—of human emotions.
Many of us carry an inner critical voice that berates us, constantly telling us we are not good enough. This voice feeds on the fact that we do not question it.
It is usually derived from childhood experiences we have internalised. It becomes so ingrained that we cannot separate it from ourselves. Your inner critic is never loving or supportive. It may tell you, for example, that you are a failure and can never succeed. No level of success will ever disprove this view. This thinking becomes habitual and we mistake it for the truth.
It infects every aspect of our lives, getting in the way of healthy relationships. Once we identify the critical voice, we can challenge it and start to separate from it. Changing your relationship with anger is a journey to your soul. Making anger your friend is a profound and life-changing process.
Anger: a user's guide. There is no quick fix to anger issues, but working through them can be a journey that sheds light on who we are and how we perceive the world by David Woolfson. When you begin to personalize anger, your anger will invariably turn vengeful. How to Overcome Destructive Anger This step is an easy one.
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Ryan James. Ronald T. Gary Chapman. Customers who viewed this item also viewed. This step is an easy one. Because the source of all your anger is you! All your emotions are a reflection of yourself. It releases adrenaline, the "fight-or-flight" hormone that prepares a person for conflict or danger.
Regardless, recognizing the signals early can help a person assess whether the trigger warrants this physical response. If necessary, they can then take steps to manage their physical stress.
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Buying some time can be fundamental in limiting an angry response. This can involve simple measures. It can help to vocally express the thoughts behind the anger to a person who is not the focus of the reaction. Anyone in the U. These can help calm a person or distract them long enough to process the thoughts in a constructive way.
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Different techniques are effective for different people, but finding a method that works can be instrumental in defusing episodes of extreme anger. When preparing to bring up frustration with a peer, it can help to plan what to say. This can help maintain focus and direction in the conversation and reduce the risk of misguided anger.
Also, focusing on solutions rather than problems increases the chances of a resolution and reduces the likelihood of an angry reaction. Getting at least 7 hours of quality sleep every night also contributes to mental and physical health. Researchers have linked sleep deprivation to a number of health problems, including irritability and anger. Anger issues rarely exist in isolation. They can derive from a range of other mental health issues, including:.
Addressing underlying issues can help reduce disproportionate feelings of anger. Sometimes, however, a person needs to control anger on its own terms. Management therapy can take place in group sessions or one-to-one consultations with a counselor or psychotherapist. If a person has received a diagnosis for a mental health issue, such as depression , this should influence their anger management.
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It can help to understand that anger and calmness are not clear-cut emotions. Anger, for example, can range from mild irritation to a full rage.
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