Anger is a natural emotion that we all experience as a response to disagreements, difficult situations and frustration.
Anger can be healthy or unhealthy depending on the type of threat and the way anger is communicated.
Our Anger is one of our basic human emotions tied to survival.
It can help us survive (healthy) or cause us regret (unhealthy).
Anger management can help with the way we communicate.
Responding rather than reacting.
Managing anger doesn’t mean never getting angry.
Instead it involves learning how to recognise triggers, cope with and express yourself in a healthy, more productive way.
Anger is an emotion that can range from mild irritation to intense rage.
Autonomic Nervous System ANS
The two parts of your ANS are sympathetic and Para-sympathetic.
The Para-sympathetic nervous system is when we are calm, in rest, digest and recovery.
Sympathetic nervous system is fight, flight, freeze response and is where we are, when we are experiencing anger.
Think of the Sympathetic nervous system like boiling a jug of water.
Mild irritation – frustration – anger – rage – intense rage.
A more healthy way of dealing with anger is, if you think of an analogue clock slowly moving from one minute or hour to the next, where the person has had time to recognise a boiling up of their anger emotion and have time to…
- consciously identify triggers
- evaluate their anger
- recognise warning signs
- step away
- go for a walk to calm down
- and then step back in to the situation in a more calm, more controlled way
Whereas, some people, sometimes react more like a digital clock, instantly firing from 0 – 100 into rage where their thinking shifts from the rational frontal lobe, neo-cortex to reptilian react to danger part of the brain where they often react by hitting, breaking, yelling and screaming !
Then later when they calm down and the blood flows back to the rational brain they think “oh no, what have I done ? ”.
Now it’s time to face consequences, apologise, fix things or pay for things to be fixed or worse…
Someone who is aggressive is getting their needs met but at the expense of someone being passive who then feels hurt, unheard, victimised or abused.
Assertive is where you focus on getting your wants and needs meet but also in line with the other person getting their wants and needs meet.
Statements for example, I think we should do this. What do you think? (Assertive style)
vs statements for example, you need to do this for me NOW (Aggressive style)
Focus on I statements rather than you statements.
Anger is sometimes triggered by “perceived threats”
Our experiences + our perceptions = our reality
When we are in certain situations we can feel threats to our physical or emotional wellbeing.
Different people respond differently to situations.
Physical threats such as feeling unsafe based on past experience when they did get assaulted.
Emotional threats are problems or stressors that threaten something important to a person such as financial stability, emotional security or integrity.
Every thought we have has a chemical and electrical reaction and we feel a certain way emotionally based on that thought.
Our brain has 100 billion neurons (brain cells) which communicate together through synapses, sending messages to our body chemically and electrically with the use of hormones and neuro-transmitters.
We have a situation, we think automatic thoughts (and sometimes conscious thoughts) about that situation. Our brain’s limbic system controls the experience and expression of emotions and decides which emotion to attach to that experience. Then the brain sends a message to the body, for example “anger” and the person experiences that emotion and the physical sensations to match that emotion.
Physical sensations related to anger can be –
fight response from the fight/flight/freeze response
increased level of adrenaline and cortisol
blood flow to the muscles
tightening of muscles
clenching of fists.
Depending on how we feel, we are going to act or behave a certain way, depending on how we behave we are going to have a certain outcome.
By being in a different situation, thinking differently and behaving differently is going to have a different result or outcome and you are going to experience a different emotional experience or a milder version of anger, for example, irritated or frustrated, which of course is much easier to work with than trying to talk yourself or someone you care about out a rage.
We store information in our sub-conscious as programming from past experience.
You could think of our sub-conscious mind like a sponge that has been absorbing information from experience in the external world. The things our parents told us and what we observed (good and bad), teachers, friends, family, human behaviour.
This creates our belief system, which includes self-sabotaging beliefs, limiting beliefs, dis-empowering beliefs and some good stuff as well.
We also add to the sub-conscious our habits, personality traits, values, memory, cognitive distortions and thinking patterns in to this program.
Then when we are confronted with situations, we are going to react or respond in a certain way based on our program.
If we grew up watching dad hit mum or from an angry environment with lots of yelling as the way to deal with situations.
Or you were bought up to be nice and polite and do as you are told.
So your experience within the external world plus your perception of that experience or how you were told you should perceive an experience will become your reality or your program.
Then you respond based on your program.
How I can help you
I can help you to identify and become aware of your negative cognitive thinking patterns and maladaptive schemas (negative core beliefs), challenge those bad habits and create new response habits, positive thinking patterns and a calmer nervous system resulting in a more balanced life style moving forward.
New skills to increase assertiveness and solution focused thinking.
If you are still reading that is great because here is a very important fact.
ANGER IS AN EMOTION
ABUSE IS AN ACTION
KEEP THEM SEPARATE
Abuse is an action. Violence is an action.
Forms of abuse – Verbal abuse, emotional abuse, psychological abuse, physical abuse, sexual abuse.
We all experience emotions automatically.
It is the action we want to gain more control over.