Anger is a normal, healthy emotion. It ranges from annoyance to rage. When it regularly flares up or is out of control, it can become a problem that affects your relationships, health and wellbeing.
You may think that anger is a way to earn respect. The truth is that the negative impact on those around you can destroy your relationships and interfere with success.
Managing your temper is not about denial or suppression of anger. It is learning how to express it in better ways.
View our How to deal with anger section to learn some useful anger management techniques
The way we deal with and express anger can be a result of what we learned as a child. For example, if you grew up in a house where it was common to throw things and scream, then you’re likely to believe that is normal. If you grew up in a house where feelings were not discussed, then you may find it hard to express your feelings. With a little effort, these patterns can be undone.
Anger can be a reaction that hides other feelings such as insecurity, hurt or embarrassment – as this piece explains, when we are angry there is nearly always an underlying need or want that has not been met.
Anger-inducing thought patterns
Here are some tips on recognising negative thought patterns that may lead to an angry outburst:
- Avoid over generalised thinking and phrases. Words like ALWAYS, NEVER, EVERYONE are not helpful – they distort the way you interpret the situation and make you feel powerless.
- Stop blaming others. Is it always someone else’s fault when something goes wrong? Taking responsibility will help you manage your reactions when things don’t go as planned.
- Don’t jump to conclusions. Assuming that you know what someone is thinking without checking is never helpful. Speak with the person to get a better understanding of the situation.
- Stop insisting things be done in a certain way. Having a rigid way things must be or should be done will not help when things don’t go to plan. Allow for some flexibility in the way things are done.
Control the anger
If you feel yourself starting to get angry, stop for a moment and ask yourself:
- Is this issue really worth getting angry or upset about?
- Is there anything I can do to change the situation?
- Is my response appropriate?
- Is winning the argument worth the damage it may do to my relationship or friendship?
If you feel your anger is out of control, you can call one of our trained counsellors to learn how to handle it better.