Definitions and Key Thoughts
Anger is a Powerful Emotion.
· Anger ranges from being frustrated to severe fury. It can last from a few seconds to a lifetime.
· One is never "wrong" to feel anger. What we do in our anger determines whether or not we are wrong.
· Anger is best understood as a state of readiness. It is a natural response to a real or perceived injustice inspiring a powerful alertness that allows us to defend ourselves or others.
Expressions of Anger
Anger Always Finds an Expression
Repression—to deny anger’s presence. This is unhealthy because even though it may not be observable, it is still present—turned inward.
Suppression—with suppression, one redirects anger-driven energy into healthy or unhealthy behavior.
Expression—healthy expression involves gentle assertiveness; unhealthy expression involves aggressiveness that hurts others.
Action Steps and Tips to Overcoming Anger
1. See It
• List known triggers and sources of anger
• Until you can control the anger, avoid triggers as much as possible
• Identify angry feelings while they are still minor.
• Be aware of physical changes—these are warning signs (e.g., Rising heart rate, tensed muscles, dilated pupils, clenched fists, flared nostrils, bulged veins)
2. Delay It
• Take a “time out” from the situation (20 minute minimum)
• Perform light exercise until the intensity of anger is manageable.
• “Write, don’t fight;” This exercise is personal and writings should be kept private, not sent.
• Talk with a trusted friend who is unrelated to the anger-provoking situation: Don’t just vent—ask for constructive advice.
3. Control It
• Respond, don’t react.
• Confront to restore, not to destroy.
• Empathize (yelling is a failure to empathize).
• Learn how to self-calm. Calming will help you let some of your angry feelings subside before expressing anger in a healthy way.
• Talk to a counseling professional, find an accountability partner, or join an anger management group
Anyone can become angry. That is easy. But to be angry with the right person, to the right degree, at the right time, for the right purpose and in the right way—that is not easy.
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