How To Manage Anger Problems: 8 Options You Have
Updated May 27, 2021
Let’s Make It Less Taboo
8 am: You wake up to find your alarm never went off.
8:15 am: Get dressed and run out the door. You are late for work.
8:25 am: You realize you forgot your laptop. It is too late to go back now.
8:45 am: You are fumbling with the radio when someone cuts you off; boom: fender-bender.
9:45 am: You are now an hour late for work. Your boss yells at you. A kind coworker has made you coffee, but you spill it as you recite the drama of the morning.
Anger is a common thing to experience when frustration meets stress or disappointment. We have all had a day like that. Some days are easier to handle than others.
But for a person with an anger disorder, anger management problems, or general anger problems. No matter what the circumstance, anger management is critical.
Before you start to tackle anger management, you need to understand it. This article will talk about things that might be causing your anger and go over the possibilities you have for managing rage when it becomes a problem.
Defining Anger And Anger Issues
We can begin to understand anger when we take a non-judgmental perspective. What is anger?
For most, it is a feeling of severe irritation or frustration that can be downright unnerving. Your blood pressure and heart rate increase in the body and stress hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol impact your serotonin levels.
Anger is a normal emotion that we should all strive to understand. But in some cases, anger becomes a problem when handled poorly.
Though “rage” can be an intimidating word for describing this emotion, it is the accurate term for when you experience anger and aggression in tandem, and it is not uncommon. A 2016 study estimated that 7.8% of the US population experiences managing their anger, particularly among men and young adults.
Some questions you should ask yourself:
- Do small things trigger anger in you?
- Do you find yourself having frequent or uncontrollable angry outbursts?
- Have you ever hit someone or thrown something in response to uncontrolled anger?
The awareness of your anger problems and this step towards seeking guidance is a great indication that you are ready to begin taking your anger under control. This article is here to help direct both anger problems and anger management.
Anger can be caused by a litany of things outside your control. For some people, anger can even be genetic. But more often than not, it is exacerbated by the environment. Regardless, do not lose hope. The way you deal with anger and/or respond to your anger makes all the difference. What causes your anger? Can you identify your anger symptoms?
The causes of anger can come from a wide range of things. Maybe it is a scratch on your car, a friend canceling plans at the last minute, financial issues, family strife, a personal loss, heartbreak, or a traumatic event.
Even anger is a natural response to hormonal shifts. Many women experience menopause and anger in otherwise uncharacteristic ways. Hormonal imbalance in both men and women is a frequent culprit of issues related to anger.
Whatever your anger symptoms might be, it is essential to manage anger and identify when appropriate.
Frequently, anger can be suppressed and come out at a later time in a few different ways. The manifestation of anger is commonly categorized as either outward anger, inward anger, or passive anger.
Now that we have discussed some things that might be causing your anger let’s talk about anger and health issues.
Perhaps you know the feeling. Your jaw may tighten, the stomach might ache, maybe you get hot or feel your blood pressure rise rapidly. Anger is a normal emotion that we can easily recall. But the bodily response to anger symptoms can feel frightening or stressful. Depending on the intensity of the anger, the buildup of tension with issues related to anger symptoms can be overwhelming.
Issues that are anger-based can lead directly to health risks. The brain and the heart are acutely in tune so that cardiovascular problems can appear in those experiencing anger problems. Stress is hard on the body, and especially long-term chronic anger can manifest itself in many harmful ways. A study published in 2010 pointed out that some health risks of anger include:
- Coronary Heart Disease (CHD)
- Bulimic Behavior
- Road Rage
- Adolescent Hostility
The study concluded by suggesting that while other treatment options for anger are available, psychological assistance should also be encouraged to ensure the best quality of anger management options, which we will cover later on.
Harvard Medicine Magazine recently cited a study that compared the neurological response to anger in subjects without depression and anger to subjects with a history of those mental problems. In the brains of both subjects, the amygdala fired. But for people without other mental health concerns, that is where the response stopped. In people with a history of depression and explosive anger, part of the orbital frontal cortex, which is used for decision making, did not stop the brain from acting on the emotion.
Misunderstood depression can be masked as anger. Depression manifests itself in different ways for different people. Anger symptoms can include erratic behavior, but symptoms of depression can include unidentified irritability, so it is common to mistake one for the other. This can be otherwise identified as anger turned inward.
Anger disorders can be identified in (but are not limited to) depression, OCD, alcoholism, bipolar disorder, or even grief. An underlying problem almost always causes anger disorders. Working towards understanding and bettering your mental health is integral in the process of responding to anger disorders.
While anger can increase mental and physical health issues, the combination of anger and aggression can also be a big problem for the safety of yourself and/or those around you how you manage anger matters.
We mentioned the types of anger, but what do they mean?
- Outward Anger: If someone told you to “act angry,” you would probably yell, punch, or break something to express your anger outwardly. It is a form of volatile anger, and it is what we mostly expect from people who deal with anger, but it is not the only form of an anger management problem.
- Inward Anger: Have you ever heard of the “inner critic?” It is the voice inside your head telling you that you did something wrong. When reflecting on a mistake, instead of offering constructive feedback, your inner voice may ask you, “How stupid can you be?” This is a primary example of what it is like to express anger problems inwardly. It might not be as destructive to those around you, but it is highly self-destructive.
- Passive Anger: “Passive aggression” and “micro-aggression” are commonly used phrases to describe passive anger. It is the subtle indication that you are very unhappy with the way something has happened or the dissatisfaction with what someone has said. Though people who experience passive anger feel angry, it might not show on their faces.
If you are aware of your issues related to anger and want to address your anger management problems, you are already on your way to solving them.
We go to the doctor’s office for a physical checkup, so why not take care of your mental health in the same way? Your brain is a muscle; it is important to strengthen it the same way you might work out your biceps.
Have you ever been told or felt as though you have anger issues? That is okay; anger is natural. If you feel that your anger is hurting your quality of life or the lives of those around you, fear not. There are many ways to address uncontrollable anger or unresolved anger.
Throughout this article, you have already done some work in identifying your personal anger issues symptoms. Knowing what sets you off is important when discussing strategies to address controlling anger.
8 Options For Managing Your Anger
- Take 5 seconds to think before you speak. This is easier said than done, especially when you feel as though you have been wronged, but it is a great way to keep your management problem in check.
- Quantify your anger. Doctors might ask you to rate your pain on a scale of one to ten. Try the same method with your anger. Are you showing aggressive anger symptoms? To what degree might you need to go to get the situation under control?
- Talk to a confidant. If you have trouble keeping yourself in check, it is a great idea to share the symptoms of your issues with a close friend so that you can work together to find a solution.
- Express your anger in healthier ways. Exercise releases a lot of bodily tension and releases endorphins, causing the brain to experience a positive feeling. This is especially helpful for adolescents experiencing hostility.
- Being told to “calm down” can have the opposite effect on a person with issues related to anger. With that being said, deep breathing and meditation have positive long-term effects on mindfulness. The road to mindfulness is tedious, but it is highly beneficial to nipping anger symptoms in the bud.
- Do not keep it bottled up. Although outward or explosive anger is not the goal, we have established that inward anger can be self-destructive. Spot your symptoms of anger, and make sure it has an outlet.
- Know yourself. What is that outlet? What brings you peace? Making art? Watching comedy? Listening to music? Shooting a basketball? Reading? Cooking? Journaling? Find out what you can turn to when all else fails.
- Anger Management Classes. Managing your anger alone can be daunting. But there are hundreds of classes available to people looking to do just that. Individual therapy or group classes are great ways to develop insight and explore solutions with professionals depending on personal preference.
We have covered a lot about personal anger, but how about when anger affects a romantic relationship? Differences in the following categories are frequent catalysts for relationship issues:
- Sex drive (or lack thereof)
- Career goals or aspirations
- Family dynamics
Couples counseling is a common way for partners to work out their emotions with an unbiased third-party present. ReGain.us offers this service with affordable and care tailored specially for you. In a digital age, ReGain.Us makes professional therapy available from the convenience of your computer or smartphone.
As our society continues normalizing the conversation around mental health, the resources for anger management become more and more bountiful. Whether it is chronic anger, uncharacteristic anger, volatile or passive anger, we are here to help. Expressing your anger healthily is essential on the road to resolving any anger disorder. It can seem overwhelming at first, but over time small practices can become life-changing. Start managing your anger today.
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