When should I get help for anger?
Everybody feels angry from time to time. It is part of being human. Anger can range from feelings of mild frustration through to rage and fury. If you experience these emotions frequently or intensely, or if they begin to cause difficulties in your relationships, at home or at work, then it may be helpful to seek help.
Common triggers for anger
- Feeling disappointed by others or a situation
- Feeling like you are being treated unfairly or disrespected
- External events (e.g., a traffic jam)
- Internal events (e.g., thoughts or memories of past wrongs, etc)
Physical signs of anger
Feelings of anger are generally accompanied by physical changes in the body including:
- Increase in blood pressure
- Increased heart rate
- Faster breathing rate
- Hot flushes
- Muscle tension (e.g.,. clenched jaw and hands, stiff arms, etc.)
Isn’t expressing anger helpful?
Many people believe that expressing their anger is cathartic. They believe that by ‘letting their anger out’ they will feel better. This depends however, on how the anger is expressed. It is definitely helpful to express feelings of anger in an appropriate way (e.g., talking to others, writing down thoughts, engaging in physical activity). However studies show that expressing anger inappropriately only makes people feel more aroused, tense and angrier. Moreover, expressing anger inappropriately rarely ‘fixes’ anything, and rarely gets you what you want. Most often it simply makes the situation worse.
What strategies can help with anger problems?
The goal of anger management is to learn more appropriate and helpful ways of responding to situations that typically cause frustration and anger. Anger management techniques may include the following:
- Identifying the triggers that make you feel angry.
- Learning relaxation and de-arousal techniques to combat the physical symptoms of anger.
- Identifying and challenging unhelpful thoughts, beliefs and attitudes that trigger anger.
- Learning problem-solving skills to tackle problems and situations that might otherwise cause frustration. This moves the focus from the problem, to how to deal with it.
- Expressing anger in appropriate ways.
- Identifying and changing behaviours that inadvertently maintain anger.
- Improving communication and assertiveness skills. This ensures that people get what they want, and that their needs are expressed and met in appropriate ways.
If you would like to find out more about our strategies for managing anger, or to book an appointment with one of our clinical psychologists who provides treatment for these issues, please email or call the clinic on 9438 2511.