Dateline Stratford & Orangeville, Ontario – Choosing to Make anger management work for you means you will be healthier. Anger by nature can protect you, but if you are constantly angry the physiological changes brought about can remain with you nearly constantly. It can contribute to the development of heart disease, cancer and stroke.
1. Anger management is good for your physical health
Nature intended anger to be fleeting; a part of the ‘fight or flight’ syndrome. If you are confronted by an angry bear in the woods you can either fight the bear or run, hopefully up the nearest tree! Your body will instantly prepare you with a series of physiological reactions including increased heart rate, dilated pupils, faster clotting blood and increased blood pressure. Your digestion shuts down, the lungs move oxygen faster, blood sugar increases, and the pituitary gland secretes adrenalin. That is a huge physiological reaction in a very short period of time. Anger as a rule generates these same physiological responses. Chronic anger keeps your body at a slow boil constantly. It is certainly not what nature intended; your physiology makes anger management a good idea!
2. Managing your anger gives you greater peace of mind
Anger management enables you to understand yourself better. You may not know you have a right to be angry in some instances, you might feel guilty about being angry, which makes you even angrier! It’s a vicious cycle that can become toxic anger. Anger management winds down this spiral, it gives you a chance to understand your own feelings better. It is a journey of self discovery that is likely to be very liberating.
3. Knowing your anger style is important.
Anger management can help you pin down what style of chronic anger you may have.
Are you always irritated at the world? Habitual irritation is an ‘anger style’; if you have this anger style it means you have a way of expressing your anger by being constantly annoyed at, well maybe anything and everything. Habitual irritation is an anger style that definitely keeps you grouchy! But there are several anger styles.
Self-abuse is another chronic anger style. Frequent negative self talk might be chronic anger. Constantly telling yourself ‘I always mess up!’ ‘I’m an idiot!’ or ‘oh I can never do anything right!’ is self abusive and motivated by anger.
More Anger Styles
Avoidance behaviour is connected to anger and can be an anger style. For example; chronic anger might motivate you to refuse to take out the garbage and avoid talking to your spouse about it. When this happens often your anger style might be avoidance kind.
There is also the explosive anger style, ‘flying of the handle’ on a regular basis is not normal, it’s a sign of chronic anger that should be addressed.
Expressing your chronic anger with sarcasm is very painful for the victim of your sarcasm and ultimately painful for you. Chances are the person you abuse with sarcasm won’t like you much, all that toxic anger eventually turns inward against yourself.
Last but certainly not least is the passive aggressive approach to expressing anger. You might be the kind of person that finds it easier to express anger by being nice while leaving out a critical something needed to make the relationship work. For example, you didn’t follow through on what you said you would do, because you are too angry to do it! That is passive aggressive anger.
4. Your relationships are more rewarding
When you are no longer chronically angry, arguments are less frequent and shorter. People respect you more and you have greater self-respect.
5. You learn to forgive
There is a piece of art on the wall in my alma mater, Emmanuel College that says simply ‘forgive’. Why would a work of art be devoted to one simple word? Perhaps because forgiveness makes the impossible possible. Anger suddenly loses its power when you forgive someone, it gives you renewed strength. Forgiveness isn’t achieved easily and quickly as a rule but it’s powerful enough to inspire art, and it’s a crucial part of anger management.
6. Your coping mechanisms improve.
When you learn anger management skills properly it improves your relationships and your sense of patience. You acquire assertiveness, listening skills and the art of give and take. Learn to go easy on yourself and understand boundaries more clearly and ensure your own rights and the rights of others.
7. With anger management you become a better problem solver.
When you manage your anger well you think before you allow your feelings to govern your reaction. What formerly might have been an angry outburst is replaced by a thoughtful response! You have control. Healthier anger functions as nature intended as a short term response that gets you out of trouble, not into trouble.
Finally, remember anger is meant to be a short term survival mechanism, not a long term slow boil. When it does become long term, anger can turn toxic, with very serious physical and social consequences.