Understanding Anger

Anger is a normal defence mechanism when a situation is upsetting, threatening or unfair.  In such situations, you may be angry with the person who violated your rights or you may be angry with yourself for not standing up for your rights or even both.

We often equate anger with aggression or rage BUT they are NOT the same. 

  • Aggression usually involves intimidation, hostility and violence.  It is driven by the need to dominate, to harm, to injure or to abuse another person.   Rage is violence which has gone out of control
  • Anger, on the other hand,  is merely an emotion.  It is something we feel BUT not something we do

We do not need to prevent angry feelings but we need to manage rage or aggressive behaviours.  The goal of rage or aggression management is learning to be assertive whereby we learn to express feelings of anger or displeasure in a way that is respectful of other people’s feeling. 

Try to express yourself in an assertive manner which does not blame, threaten or cause emotional harm to people.  Anger when not safely or appropriately expressed is bad for you and others. 

Click to watch video on Anger Management Techniques by WatchWellCast

Here are some healthy ways to cope when you are feeling angry:

  • Pause. Don’t speak or react immediately. Calm yourself first 
  • Count. Slowly count to ten
  • Breath. Take deep breaths, hold, let it out slowly and repeat until your feeling is regulated
  • Observe. Be aware of your senses.  Acknowledge the feeling and let it go
  • Walk. Simply walk away and excuse yourself for a short while
  • Relax. Real your muscles, stretch or massage areas of tension to help you to relax

After you have calmed down: 

  • Remind yourself that it is about the situation not about you. Don’t take it personally  
  • Remember to speak slowly and softly
  • Seek clarification or write the problem down, to ensure you understand the situation correctly
  • Be mindful that when you do not want to blame, threaten or be abusive to someone to resolve a situation.  Try to achieve a win-win situation for both parties

After the event:

  • Enjoy. Engage an enjoyable activity or treat yourself to something nice, to release the tension
  • Exercise. Work out your pent up energy
  • Vent. It is therapeutic to vent to a friend or talk to a counsellor

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