• Definition of Anger
• Different aspects (Phases and Stages) of anger in our everyday life.
• How to cope with Anger
Anger in actual fact is a normal, natural and mature emotion in our everyday life and It's very okay to be angry, it is just an outlet for other emotions that we are not dealing with appropriately. Anger is an intense emotional state involving a strong uncomfortable and non-cooperative response to a perceived provocation or hurt.
Anger may have physical and mental consequences with positive and negative aspect. The biological responses to anger are increased energy, the heart pumps faster and blood flows quickly.
Anger may also be externally expressed in form of our facial expression, body languages and aggression. It is very important to try and differentiate anger from Aggression. Aggression is acting out inappropriately and it is not okay.
Different phases of anger have been identified;
I. First phase is annoyance,
II. Second phase is frustration and hostility while
III. The last phase is being enraged. It is also important we identify our triggers to curb the stages so that we can arrest this on time.
Stages of anger includes
• The build-up,
• The spark,
• The explosion
• The aftermath.
Types of anger familiar to us includes
1. Passive aggression,
2. Aggressive anger and
3. Assertive anger.
It is important to remember that anger may diminish our cognitive abilities, making dangers look smaller, It is important to learn to cope under anger influences.
Common causes of anger in our day to day life include;
o Stressors from work, family and possibly our health.
o Frustrations from reaching out goals.
o Annoyance that is minor irritations and
Common effects of poorly controlled anger may be physical or psychological; the physical effects may manifest as headaches,sleep problems, high blood pressure while psychological effects may manifest as poor decision making and problems with relationship.
So we need to be self-aware in order to control outbursts of our daily anger.
Anger Management: How to cope with anger in our everyday life
Remember anger is one word short of danger so we have to really watch it and plan on how to manage our anger.
There are several approaches and strategies available, both professional and self-help.
Every single one of us has experienced anger at some point. Our heart rate and blood pressure goes up, our muscles tighten, and some of us even have a vein that throbs in our forehead. We have all been angry. Perhaps our life partner has gotten on our last nerve, and co-worker has railroaded us again, or the police officers have wasted an hour of our time with no reasons. There are many situations which can evoke an angry response. For a healthy and productive life, anger management is necessary.
Managing your anger doesn't mean never getting angry. Instead, it involves learning how to recognize, cope with, and express your anger in healthy and productive ways. Anger management is a skill that everyone can learn. Even if you think you have your anger under control, there’s always room for improvement.
Professionally, Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) and relaxation techniques are used especially by qualified persons to manage anger. However there are several self-help approaches that have been found to be effective.
Expressing your angry feelings in an assertive—not aggressive—manner is the healthiest way to express anger. To do this, you have to learn how to make clear what your needs are, and how to get them met, without hurting others.
Note: Anger can be positive or negative, so anger management is about increasing the positives and decreasing the negative function.
If you have trouble controlling your anger, here are some steps to get you started on an anger management plan:
o Identify Your Goals and Action Plan
Think of your goals in terms of specific behaviors and your reactions. Use a time frame to measure your progress. For example, let's say your first goal is to refrain from verbally attacking your spouse. How will you go about doing this? If you feel yourself getting angry, can you walk away and cool down? How much time do you think it will take you to reach this goal?
o Recognize Warning Signs
If you're like some people, you may feel like your anger hits you in an instant. Perhaps you go from calm to furious in a heartbeat. But there are still likely warning signs when your anger is on the rise. Recognizing them early can help you take action to prevent your anger from reaching a boiling point.
o Step Away
Trying to win an argument or sticking it out in an unhealthy situation will only fuel your anger. One of the best things you can do when your anger is rising is to remove yourself from the situation if you can.
o Talk to a Friend
If there’s someone who has a calming effect on you, talking through an issue or expressing your feelings to that person may be helpful. It’s important to note, however, that venting can backfire. This is why having a therapist should be compulsory for all of us.
All the steps above should be one step per time, several times one may have to put them to work and walking away from anger may not be that easy but definitely its rewarding. We need to remember that the only behaviour we can manage is our own, so pay attention to your anger cues.
Questions & Answers:
• Q: Can people suffer from unprovoked anger?
A: Yes frustrations due to nobody's fault can actually make one to be angry at self. Following the economic downturn post-COVID there seems to be a lot of displaced anger being expressed by people and a lot of low tolerance of frustration.
• Q: Can anger ever be positive?
A: Yes, Anger can be positive, which one can use to solve problems or take charge of situations.
• Q: What’s the difference between aggressive and assertive expressions?
A: Aggression is acting out inappropriately which is quite different assertive verbal expressions.
A: Assertive is saying what you have to say without infringing on the right of others while aggression can do same by infringing on the right of others.
• Q: If anger is normal and it is very okay to be angry, at what state or when can say it is abnormal?
A: When it's sustained for a period longer than necessary, the neurotransmitters and hormones released to sustain it begin to affect other body functions which isn’t normal.
• Q: Is there anything we can also do to calm an angry/aggressive person around us?
A: Anger perception is usually a subjective thing. If the person sees you as important in his or her life, she or he may calm down at your pep talk.
• Q: How do we know when we're getting angry?
A: Improving on our communication skills may also be of help
And It's also important that we recognize the true trigger(s) of our anger because some people tend to express built up frustration and anger at unrelated situations.
• Q: We tend to be very sarcastic and shout a lot when we are angry in Nigeria. It’s a cultural thing but it can be very triggering. How do we deal with this?
A: Nip it in the bud and give it an explanation that will not annoy you anymore.
• Q: At what phase of anger is the control more effective?
A: Usually at the trigger phase
Conclusively, the take away point should include identifying our cues and working on them to prevent a total outburst of anger.