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Anger Management.

Byline: Dr M A Wajid

What is Anger?

Anger is a very powerful normal human emotion that can range from slight irritation to strong rage. It can stem from feelings of frustration, hurt, annoyance or disappointment or it can be caused by anxiety over personal problems. It may happen due to external situations like a cancelled airline flight or a dropped call, the tepid shower, the gum on the bottom of the shoe or any other minor or major issue. Life provides men with an endless supply of things to get angry about.

While it's perfectly natural to get angry about any of the things, anger comes to some men more naturally than others. For the hot-tempered, the pettiest annoyance results in out-of-control anger. And some guys, despite that anger is listed among the deadly sins, genuinely like having a hot temper. It can be a source of pride and a badge of masculinity. Even if you're not busting heads every weekend at a roadhouse, you might enjoy indulging your angry side. You might feel that anger helps you succeed and inspires respect.

But there's a downside to the manful, a distinguished research professor of psychology who's been studying anger for 25 years 'Short-fused type A personality'. In the words of a distinguished research professor of psychology who's been studying anger for 25 years, "In researching people with this disposition, we found that anger and hostility may actually be lethal". And he means lethal to the person who gets angry, not the one on the receiving end of the anger. The evidence that anger can detract from your health is mounting all the time. And of course, uncontrolled anger in men can leave your marriage and your career - not to mention your crockery - in pieces.

Understanding Anger

Is anger just an emotion? While we think of it that way, it's really much more. Anger is both psychological and physiological. When you lose control of your anger during a traffic jam or at your son's bad school report, your nervous system triggers a number of biological reactions, to include:-

* Levels of hormones, like cortisol, increase.

* Breathing gets faster.

* Pulse gets faster.

* Blood pressure rises.

* Excessive Sweating.

* Sudden headaches.

Basically, your body is gearing up for intense physical activity. This is the 'fight' part of the 'fight or flight' response. If we are exposed to something stressful, our bodies get ready to do battle or run away.

Anger and Health

Several studies have found a link between anger and disease. For instance, a large study of almost 13,000 people found that those who had high levels of anger - but normal blood pressure - were more likely to develop coronary artery disease or have a heart attack. The angriest were three times as likely to have a heart attack as the least angry.

So how does anger turns into disease? Your body's physical reaction to anger is intended for the short-term - it gives you the immediate boost that you need to survive. But if this explosion of hormones is triggered too often, you can suffer long-term effects. Anger's stress hormones may contribute to arteriosclerosis, the build-up of plaques in the arteries that can cause heart attacks and strokes. These hormones may also increase levels of C-Reactive Protein (CRP), which

causes inflammation and may also contribute to cardiovascular risk. A study in Psychosomatic Medicine conducted in 2004 found that people prone to anger had levels of CRP twice or three times as high as others. Anger can even cause electrical disturbances in the heart rhythm.

What are the dangers of Suppressed Anger?

Suppressed anger can be an underlying cause of anxiety and depression. Anger that is not appropriately expressed can disrupt relationships, affect thinking and behaviour patterns, and create a variety of physical problems. Chronic (long-term) anger has been linked to health issues such as high blood pressure, heart problems, headaches, skin disorders, and digestive problems. In addition, anger can be linked to problems such as crime, emotional and physical abuse, and other violent behaviour.

Anger and Depression

Anger has also been linked with depression. People who get frequently angry are less likely to be careful of themselves. They're more likely to smoke, drink to excess, and eat badly. While it's hard to say that anger is the cause in such cases, it's certainly linked with a lot of unhealthy behaviours. Anger can also be an expression of feelings of helplessness or depression.

Approaches to Anger

Since anger is a natural phenomenon, what are we supposed to do with it?

There are two wrong ways to handle it. One is to think that it's healthy and normal to have uncontrolled anger released in an explosive rage. Few People just assume that screaming at people, throwing things, and punching walls is cathartic and will make them feel better. In fact, getting into a rage can just ramp up your reaction - making you even less in control of your anger.

The other wrong thing is: to push down the bile and keep smiling. Some people think that any expression of anger is unhealthy or anti-social and should be suppressed. Studies show that both approaches - noisily expressing your anger or soundlessly burying it - are equally harmful and may pose the same health risks. But if neither corking up your anger nor blowing your stack is a healthy option, what should an angry man do?

How can I manage Anger?

Since feeling angry is in part, a physical process, you won't be able to just talk yourself out of it logically. Instead, you need to calm yourself down physically. With these techniques, you can lower your heart rate and blood pressure as well as control your anger.

* When you start feeling angry, try deep breathing, positive self-talk, or stop thinking negatively. Breathe deeply from your diaphragm. Slowly repeat a calm word or phrase such as "relax" or "take it easy." Repeat it to yourself while breathing deeply until the anger subsides.

* Although expressing anger is better than keeping it in, anger should be expressed in an appropriate way. Frequent outbursts of anger are often counter-productive and cause problems in relationships with others. Angry outbursts are also stressful to your nervous and cardiovascular systems and can make health problems worse. Learning how to use assertiveness is the healthy way to express your feelings, needs, and preferences. Being assertive can be used in place of using anger in these situations.

* Consider the value of physical activity such as exercise as a way to both improve mood and discharge tension and anger.

* Seek out the support of others. Talk through your feelings and try to work on changing your behaviours.

* If possible maintain a log of being angry.

* Try to gain a different perspective by putting yourself in another's place.

* Learn how to laugh at yourself and see humour in situations.

* Practice good listening skills. Listening can help improve communication and can facilitate trusting feelings between people. This trust can help you deal with potentially hostile emotions.

* Learn to assert yourself, expressing your feelings calmly and directly

without becoming defensive, hostile, or emotionally charged. Consult self-help books on assertiveness or seek help from a professional therapist to learn how to use assertiveness and anger management skills.

What if I can't control my Anger?

If you believe that your anger is out of control and is having a negative affect on your life and relationships, seek the help of a mental health professional. A psychologist or other mental health professional can work with you to develop techniques for changing your thinking and your behaviour. A mental health professional can help you to deal with your anger in an appropriate way. Choose your therapist carefully and make sure to seek treatment from a professional who is trained to teach anger management and assertiveness skills.

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Publication:Hilal
Date:Nov 30, 2012
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