Short fuse? Lose your rag? Blow your top?
There are lots of expressions for the process of getting angry. There isn’t a human being alive who hasn’t at some time been in the grip of this powerful emotion. It occurs on a scale, from mild irritation, through annoyance, tantrums, “hissy fits” and all the way to full-blown rage.
Anger in itself is potentially useful – a tool we can utilise to protect us from danger. It’s an innate self-protective mechanism. It becomes a problem when it is used inappropriately or excessively.
Anger has a high cost. Frequent or chronic anger can have serious consequences for our health, particularly the health of the heart. It also contributes to accidents at work, on the road and in the home. It can result in poor relationships, violence and family breakdown.
By taking steps to get innate needs met in a healthy way, anger will subside. Relaxation techniques and guided imagery can also help to lower emotional arousal so that the rational brain can be engaged. Calming music can also help.
It isn’t a good idea to “ventilate” anger, because even though this might bring some temporary relief, it can set up a pattern of reacting angrily in the future. If we practice anger, we get better at being angry. Instead it is better to find ways of de-fusing a tense situation. This might entail walking away from a stressful situation for at least 20 minutes.
If anger is triggered by an overload of stress, or by a “toxic” environment, do what you can to change those circumstances that you can control, and stop giving time and thought to those things you can’t control.
If you have been in the grip of inappropriate anger and would like some help in managing it, a few sessions of Human Givens Therapy will be very beneficial.
Kevan Owen HG.Dip.P., MHGI, DHypPsych (UK).
Human Givens Therapist. Mobile: 07717 289373.
The Bell Surgery, 453 Barlow Moor Road, Chorlton, Manchester, M21 8AU.
Trinity House Practice, 150-152 Cumberland Street, Macclesfield, SK10 1BP.