Facing the Anger Within Us
Who among us has not gotten angry at some time in our lives? At home,
our spouse makes a rude comment or our son refuses to clean his room. At work
the boss piles on another assignment or a coworker takes credit for something
Anger is a normal emotion. But there are times when it gets out of hand
and can destroy relationships, hurt our careers and cause us all kinds of
Take this test, called the Novaco Anger Scale, to learn more about your
You know the feeling. Your heart rate increases and your blood pressure
soars. Your adrenaline has got you going again. You're angry.
Anything can trigger anger: a traffic jam, a disagreement with someone,
or even an old memory.
Anger itself is not bad. It's as healthy as any other emotion. But when
it is held inside or repressed, anger can turn ugly. Internalizing anger can
put us at risk for all kinds of physical problems. Some studies have linked
repressed anger to raised cholesterol levels, high blood pressure,
hypertension, heart attacks and various immune system disorders.
Just the act of holding in anger zaps our energy and makes us tired.
Over a lifetime, suppressed anger can be very harmful.
But when anger is expressed, it has just the opposite effect. It can
actually help us stay healthy. When you express your anger, you often sleep
better, are less prone to get infections and have more energy.
So what causes us to get so angry sometimes? There is some evidence that
some people are born with shorter fuses. They become easily angered. Family
background can also play a part. Some people who are easily angered come from
families that are disruptive, chaotic and prone to emotional outbursts.
There are ways to express anger in a positive way. Expressing anger in
an assertive, rather than aggressive manner, is healthy. This does not mean
being pushy. It means being respectful of yourself and others.
Another approach is to stop thinking about what angers you and focus on
something positive. The goal is to convert the anger into constructive
behavior. But the danger in doing this is your anger will turn inward and
cause high blood pressure, hypertension or depression.
You can also trying calming yourself down on the inside. This involves
controlling your internal responses, taking steps to lower your heart rate
and letting the feelings subside.
Relaxation techniques can also come in handy when you're angry and in a
tense situation. Try breathing deeply, repeating a word or phrase to help you
calm down and visualizing a relaxing experience. Non-strenuous exercises such
as yoga, can also help to relax your muscles and calm you down.
If you feel your anger is hurting you and your relationship with others,
counseling can help.
You do not want to eliminate anger and even if you could it would not be
good for you. But counseling can help you get in touch with your feelings and
learn to express your anger in a healthy way.
Contact Mark Felber to schedule your free consultation.
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