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Everyone feels angry at times, and this is often due to life stresses such as money or housing problems or difficulties in relationships. For some people the problem becomes much worse and gets in the way of normal life. Anger becomes a problem when it becomes too strong, happens too often, lasts too long, spoils relationships or work and if, in particular, it leads to violence or agression.
What is anger?
Often when we are angry, the main thing that we are aware of is our angry mood. Our mood can vary in strength from mild irritation to a white hot rage. When we look for causes for our anger, we most often look outward; to events or people in our immediate world or surroundings.Mood, thoughts, bodily reactions and impulsive behaviour influence each other and can lead to anger which spirals out of control. Angry behaviour can cause an angry response from others.
Thoughts are a major contributer in making us feel angry. It is important in trying to gain control over anger, that we begin to recognise and challenge those thoughts.'Hot thought's are angry thoughts that flash into your mind and make you feel worse. They are often backed up by ways of negative thinking.
People who are angry often take things personally and feel hurt by it. They look for and expect criticism from other people, and tend to focus their thinking on negative or bad events and ignore positive or good events. Thinking in black and white, all or nothing terms is common in people who get angry. They often expect too much from themselves or those around them. If these standards are not met, then they feel badly let down and hurt.If you find yourself making thinking errors like those mentioned it can help to try and think more balanced thoughts. One way to do this is to write two columns, one for angry thoughts and the other for a more balanced thought.
Controlling the physical symptoms of anger
Relaxation and calming methods can help to reduce angry feelings. By recognising the early signs of tension and anger it is possible to reduce the severity of physical symptoms.
Once you have noticed early signs of tension you can prevent anger becoming too severe by using relaxation techniques. Also, it is common when someone becomes angry for changes to occur in their breathing. They can begin to gulp air, thinking that they are going to suffocate, or can begin to breathe really quickly.
This is called over-breathing, and has the effect of making them feel dizzy and therefore more tense. Try to recognise if you are doing this and slow your breathing down. Getting into a regular rhythm of 'in two-three and out two-three' will soon return your breathing to normal.