Feelings are neither right nor wrong and it is OK to feel angry. However, actions can be wrong when out of anger we hurt ourselves, others or property.
Anger, according to the cognitive behavior theory, is attributed to several factors that include past experiences, behavior learned from others and genetic predispositions.
Symptoms of anger
Fast heartbeat, sweating, shaking, clenched jaws, clenched fists, fast breathing, stomach aches, upset feeling in the stomach, tight chest, tense muscles, frowning and red face are some of the many physical symptoms someone who is angry experiences.
The mental symptoms of anger include problems concentrating, confusion, memory problems, thoughts of doing harm, angry thoughts, irritability and short temper.
Other signs that you may be angry include swearing, withdrawing from others, throwing things and pacing.
Dr. Don Colbert, author of “Deadly Emotions,” reports anger can profoundly damage your health.
“Depression, anger, guilt, condemnation, low self-esteem … these are only a few of the lethal toxin,” Colbert warns.
That is why it is important to teach ourselves how to handle our anger and reduce stress in healthy ways that can minimize the psychological and physical consequences of anger.
The health consequences of continual chronic anger can be severe.
Research shows prolonged anger leads to ailments including headaches, digestive problems, insomnia, anxiety, depression, high blood pressure, skin problems including eczema, heart attack and stroke.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports 85 percent of all disease has a strong link to a person’s emotional state. Other experts believe the real percentage is higher.
How to cope with anger
•Think before you speak. In the heat of the moment, it is easy to say something you will later regret. Take a few moments to collect your thoughts before saying anything.
•As soon as you are thinking clearly, express your frustration in an assertive but non-confrontational way. State your concerns and needs clearly and directly.
•Get some exercise. Physical activity can help reduce stress that can cause you to become angry. If you feel your anger escalating, go for a brisk walk or run, or spend some time doing other enjoyable physical activities.
•Take a timeout. Timeouts are not just for children. Give yourself short breaks during stressful times. A few moments of quiet time might help you feel better.
•Identify possible solutions. Work on resolving the issue at hand. Remind yourself that anger will not fix anything and might only make it worse.
•Stick with “I” statements. To avoid criticizing or placing blame, which might only increase tension, use “I” statements to describe the problem. Be respectful and specific.
•Do not hold a grudge. Forgiveness is a powerful tool. If you allow anger and other negative feelings to crowd out positive thoughts, you might find yourself swallowed up by your own bitterness or sense of injustice.
•Use humor to release tension. Lightening up can help diffuse tension. Use humor to help you face what is making you angry. Avoid sarcasm – it can hurt feelings and make things worse.
•Practice relaxation skills. Practice deep-breathing exercises, imagine a relaxing scene or repeat a calming word or phrase.
•Know when to seek help. Seek help for anger issues if you anger seems out of control, causes you to do things your regret or hurts those around you.
When we look at the big picture and remove ourselves from the incident that makes our blood boil we gain perspective about what is truly important. We have all heard “choose your battles wisely” and in the area of anger that is good advice.