Anger is a completely normal and usually healthy, human emotion, but when it gets out of control and turns destructive, it can lead to problems. Losing the reigns of your temper can make you feel as though you're at the mercy of an unpredictable and powerful emotion.
Uncontrolled anger can cause stress, disruption at work and in personal relationships, as well as damage to your health and the overall quality of your life. Whether in the form of fleeting annoyance or as full-fledged rage, anger can cloud your thinking and your judgement, it may lead to actions that are unreasonable or irrational.
Anger is an emotion that we all experience. It can be spurred by disappointment, shame, stress, confusion, sadness, and other negative emotions. It can also be caused by the memory of pain or discomfort from the past; you may have unresolved issues which cause you to remain in a state of anger or have certain triggers that cause your temper to erupt. The way that we express our anger can take many forms, and it is important for your mental state to effectively manage and release it.
In a recent survey for the Mental Health Foundation, 28% of adults said they worry about how angry they sometimes feel, and 32% have a friend or relative who has problems dealing with anger.
Your anger may be a problem if it is
Too frequent: If you are coping with lots of anger on a daily basis, it may be reducing the quality of your life, your relationships and your health. Even if your anger is justified, you will feel better if you pick only your most important battles and let go of the rest
Too intense: Very intense anger is rarely a good thing. Anger triggers an adrenaline response and all kinds of physiological reactions (e.g., heart pumps faster, breathing increases, etc.). When we become very angry, we are also much more likely to act on impulse and do or say something we later regret
Lasting too long: When angry feelings last for a long time, they are hard on your mood and on your body. When you stay angry, the littlest thing can really set you off
Leading to aggression: We are more likely to become aggressive when our anger is very intense. Lashing out at others either verbally or physically is an ineffective way to deal with conflict. When anger leads to aggression, no one benefits.
Disrupting work or relationships: Intense and frequent anger can lead to problems in your relationships with co-workers, family members and friends. At its worst, anger can lead to the loss of employment, legal issues and can damage or destroy important relationships.
People who lash out
Some people have difficulty expressing their anger. Some will react with hostility, rage, violence, or self-destructive behaviour. This puts the person and anyone around them in potential danger. Releasing anger in this manner can cause you to hurt yourself or others, say or do things that cannot be taken back, or even get you into legal trouble.
People who bottle up anger
Some people hold their anger inside, although they may seem calm and collected externally. Bottling up feelings can lead to other problems. It can cause eating disorders, self-harm, depression, anxiety and low self-esteem if not dealt with properly. It is also possible that the anger can "build up" until it eventually bursts.
Coping with someone else’s anger issue
Maybe you are on the receiving end of someone’s anger and you do not know how to deal with it. You could be in a position where you are questioning yourself. Whether this is at work, with family or in a personal relationship it can become very difficult to cope with, you must remember that you are important too. You may need support to manage or move on from such a situation.
Support for anger management issues
If you feel that your anger is out of control and that it is having an impact on your relationships and important parts of your life, you should seek counselling. Having sessions with a Counsellor focusing on what makes you angry and figuring out the root causes can help you overcome current issues, those which stem from your past and similar situations which could arise in the future.
The goal of anger management counselling is to reduce both the emotional feelings and the physiological arousal that anger causes. With anger management counselling, Psychologists say, a highly angry person can move closer to a middle range of anger in about 10 weeks, depending on the circumstances and the counselling techniques used. You can't get rid of or avoid the things or people that enrage you, nor can you change them; but you can learn to control your reactions and that is the aim!
The Mayo Clinic shares some tips on how to manage anger.