Anger Management
28th October 2008
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Anger seems to be on the rise in Western culture, an epidemic of rage. This affliction I know only too well, it having blighted much of my life. I got to the point where I had to do something about it before it ruined my life and the lives of my loved ones beyond repair.

Anger management is an important life skill. Note that we talk of anger management not anger elimination. It is actually quite important to be able to get angry, because it is an important way of defending ourselves and alerting us to injustice. However anger makes for a bad master. If anger is in control of us, we will leave a trail of unhappiness and devastation behind us. Furthermore, people will dread having to go near us.

Anger, once generated, cannot simply be dispelled. It is a pointless exercise to tell someone who is wound up to calm down unless you're backing it up with a threat. However, once we feel angry, we can learn to manage it. There are three ways to handle anger. You can seal it in a can, put it in a bomb or send it down a channel. Attempting to seal anger in a can is never a good idea in the long term. Anger contained within is likely to ferment, become stronger and explode anyway, or make us ill. Putting it in a bomb and throwing it may bring short term satisfaction but also involves long term repurcussions.

Sending anger down a channel does not come naturally to many individuals as they simply don't know how to do it. The fact is that they have to learn it, and to do that they must reach out for help in the first place. Sadly human nature is such that most people wait until they are desperate before seeking help. We have to reach the point where we stand on the brink of the abyss and are clueless how to stop ourselves falling in. It is better to realise that we cannot help ourselves and not wait until we arrive at the cusp of doom before reaching out.

An anger management strategy has to be tailored to the individual and the particular circumstances, but that said, there are certain general principles that apply to most situations. Here are some "handy hints" for both angry people and those on the receiving end:

1. Don't tell an angry person to calm down. In fact don't attempt to either sympathise or play down the stuation in any way. What the angry person needs in the first instance is space to cool down. Send them to a "quiet corner" without any discussion or judgement.

2. When they are calmer, get them to express what they are angry about, either verbally or in writing. This must include:

Who exactly they are angry with

What the "offender" actually did.

How that action made them feel.

What they need to happen now.

This exercise removes the "hard work" from the counsellor and gets the angry person to look at their own situation objectively. This is how it should be. If they are angry, they are the ones with the problem and they must also be the ones to decide on a solution. The purpose of the counsellor is to allow the individual to "step outside" of their emotion and look at the situation from an objective distance.

In my own case, I realised that my anger was rooted in unrealistic expectations. My rehabilitation has involved looking at reality in a completely new way, and though I do of course still get angry, given some space I quickly see the situation in context and I now calm down within minutes rather than days/weeks/months, an essential skill when you have a teenage daughter.

I also thoroughly recommend daily meditation. Just ten minutes a day every day will over time work wonders in anger management.

Whatever steps you take, do it sooner rather than later. Life is too short as it is to spend most of it twisted in anger.

About the Author


Member since: 26th April 2012

I am a fully qualified and experienced hypnotherapist, Reiki practitioner and Stress Counsellor, based in Undercliffe, Bradford. I am proud to be a volunteer therapist for Bradford Cancer Support

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