What about anger problems that we see around us today? It seems that we are often dealing with people with anger issues. Recently, a man became so angry at a fast-food restaurant drive-in window that his actions affected and hurt others around him. When he thought it took too long for his sandwich to come, he came inside the restaurant. He threatened an employee while pushing him up against a counter, and then slapped him. The enraged man quickly grabbed his sandwich and left the restaurant.
You can imagine how frightened and upset everyone around would have been.
Why Do People Have Anger Issues?
Our emotional makeup includes anger. How we handle it determines whether it is good or bad. However, we are talking about unhealthy anger in this case, which can harm us and others emotionally, physically, and spiritually.
We all get angry from time to time. Anger is as much a part of our emotional makeup as love, hope, anxiety, sadness and fear. Healthy anger that is controlled can be expressed in a proper way and can serve a useful purpose. For instance, anger can be productive if it increases our willpower to overcome certain difficulties or problems.
As you saw in the example of the enraged man above, anger also does have a dark side. Anger comes to some people quicker with more frequency and forcefulness than others. When they are incited, they might resort to verbal or physical attacks. In effect, their anger controls them, whereas they should be controlling their anger instead. This type of uncontrolled anger is dangerous – it is sometimes referred to as “problem anger.” It also is the source of road rage which is seen much too often these days.
People who have anger problems cause anguish to themselves and everyone else around them. The smallest unimportant matters can trigger a ferocious eruption in those with anger issues with disastrous consequences. Reflect on these examples:
- A man was shot in the neck while walking with some friends after accidentally brushing against another man on the street.
- A young male beat his girlfriend’s infant baby to death. The young man, was busy playing a violent video game. He became angry when the infant touched the game’s control panel which caused the young man to lose the game.
- Many similar worldwide reports show that there is an epidemic of such anger problems in people. Why is that? Well, let us see…
What Causes Anger Problems?
The causes of anger are multifaceted. There is, however, a general consensus among mental-health experts that people will react to certain “anger triggers.”
Anger triggers could be something which aggravates or irritates someone. These triggers are frequently the result of unfairness or injustice. They may happen when we feel insulted or disrespected. We can also have our feelings of anger stirred up when we imagine that our reputation and/or authority is being threatened. This is true in most environments – Home, work, or in public.
All “anger triggers” are different in each person. They vary with age, gender and even by culture. In addition, people’s reactions to such triggers are also different. While some rarely get angry and will quickly get over it if it does happen, others can be easily angered and stay angry for long periods of time.
Today, our society is spilling over with impending triggers. When you add sensitivity to the formula, these triggers will rise more rapidly. Why should that be the case? One obvious reason is the selfish, thoughtless, me-first abundant attitude that exists today.
Thus, when such self-centered individuals are denied to get their own way, anger quickly rises to the surface. Some other reasons why anger might be an increasing issue are listed below.
So many people are caught up in “catch 22” situations. They are not getting enough sleep because they are working two jobs that don’t pay enough for more than the bare essentials. Employers downsize and force the remaining workers to do twice the amount of work.
There are too many internal and external stressors on people today. In order to remain healthy, it is essential to unwind, relax and do some things that are enjoyable. It isn’t just caregivers who are stressed. We are a stressed out nation.
That person who acted so wrong at the fast food place may have just been chewed out by his boss at work. No one knows just what else he had on his shoulders but you can bet that the late sandwich was not the problem. The late sandwich was just the last straw on top of a bunch of other frustrations.
But the point is how many people are there who reach that final straw stage and react in other ways that are just as unhealthy. Some do harm to themselves instead of blowing up in anger.
Parents have a deep influence on personality development during one’s childhood and adolescence. When a child is raised in an aggressive setting, where tempers burst over inconsequential matters, that child is really being trained to react to life’s issues with hostility and anger.
Cramped and crowded cities bring other sources of stress. Things like noise pollution, air pollution, inadaquate housing, neighborhood gang fights, cultural differences, and high rates of crime play a part. As the sources of stress increase, people have a tendency to get frustrated, angry, and lose patience more easily.
The world’s economic meltdown has sparked widespread stress and anxiety. Sadly, most of those who have been laid off are without any kind of safety net. Those holding a job do not fare much better.
Prejudice and Injustice
Millions of people feel the effects of racial or other forms of prejudice. They get angry when they face obstacles that limit their access to jobs, education, housing, and other basic necessities. Other forms of injustice can also crush one’s spirit and bring great emotional pain. Sadly, most of us have felt the sting of injustice at one time or another.
This is another major reason for anger to rise up from inside of these individuals to the surface and burst out at any given time.
Television and the rest of the entertainment media contain so much violence. A violence which has a real impact on our children. It seems that exposure to such intense make-believe violence has created an acceptance of aggression and violence within them. Unfortunately, these affected young ones also seem to lose sight of any real compassion and sympathy for others.
Of course, most youths, who are routinely exposed to violent acts on television, do not grow up to be vicious criminals. However, the entertainment media often portrays violent anger as an acceptable way to deal with adversity. As a result, a new generation of people who are desensitized to violence has emerged.
Control Your Anger Issues
When we consider all the problems, pressures, and anxieties around us, it is easy to understand the frustration. When the frustration builds up with no release, it is like a pressure cooker. Eventually it will blow. It is much better to release that build up before the pressure gets too high. The problem is that many people just do not know how to do that.
We all get angry from time to time. But how we express our anger is a matter of choice. When we manage to control our anger, instead of allowing our anger to control us, we can use that anger for the benefit of everyone involved.
One way to control your anger and avoid saying or doing something that you may later regret is to keep from getting “heated up” in the first place. Of course, that is much easier said than done. But it can be done! Let’s consider four ways that you can manage and get your anger under control.
ONE… Reduce Anger’s Intensity
To reduce anger, slow down and relax. Try to avoid saying the first thing that comes to your mind. If you feel yourself getting overly excited and feel you are in danger of losing control of your emotions, just walk away from the situation.
That is what helped a man named Jack to develop control over his own temper. Jack grew up with a father who would become very angry during bouts of drinking. As you might expect Jack developed a violent personality as well. He says: “When I became angry, I would feel as if I was on fire. And I would lash out violently with words and fists.”
Professional help is what it took for Jack to get some relief. He eventually realized that he could change and learn to keep his own anger under control. Jack tells how he reacted when a fellow workmate swore at him in anger: “I felt the surge of anger blaze through my body. My first inclination was to grab him and throw him down.”
What eventually helped Jack to remain calm? He explains: “I remembered what I had learned and practiced so many times in therapy. I remember telling myself ‘Calm down Jack. You must calm down!’ Then, for the very first time, I felt a peace come over me, and I was able to walk away.” Afterward, Jack was finally able to gain mastery over his anger.
TWO… Learn to Relax
There are relaxation methods which are pretty simple which can help lower the intensity of anger. The following methods have proven to be effective in combating anger which comes from stress:
⏭Breathing deeply—possibly one of the best and fastest ways to reduce the intensity of your anger.
⏭While breathing deeply, Think of words or phrases that help to calm you. Then repeat them softly out loud. Like Jack, you may say, “calm down” or “let it go” or something else that represents peacefulness to you.
⏭Immerse yourself in something you enjoy— any activity that is relaxing and enjoyable to you should be kept as part of your daily activity. Put on some good music and pick up a good book and forget about the world for a few minutes.
⏭Getting regular exercise helps to reduce stress all by itself and produces serotonin that “feel good” hormone.
Eating a healthful diet gives you the nutrition you need to be better able to handle your emotions.
THREE… Make Reasonable Expectations
You may not be able to completely avoid the people or the things that act as anger triggers, but you can learn to control your reactions to them. This involves changing the way you think.
People with very high expectations tend to have greater problems with anger. Why? Because when someone or something does not measure up to their perfect standards, disappointment and anger quickly follow. To combat this perfectionist mentality, it is good to keep in mind that no one can be perfect. Having high standards does not mean perfection. It means doing the best that we can do without having unrealistic expectations of ourselves or anyone else. So if we expect something that is indeed unrealistic – perfection – it will lead to a life filled with frustration and anger.
FOUR… Talk to Someone
When things start to build up inside. A person needs someone to talk with who will simply listen to them. When the pressure starts to build up a little venting can prevent an explosion. They need some time to unwind and relax. They need a little humor.
One other thing… A soft answer turns away wrath. That is from the Bible and it is good advice.
FIVE… Seek Professional Help
Professional help can be expensive but it may be what is needed if your anger is the kind that is uncontrolled other ways. A lower cost option is to take an online video class from an instructor certified in the Emotional Freedom Technique. You want your life to be peaceful and enjoyable. Living with anger lowers the quality of your life and has the potential to actually shorten your life.
Do I Have Anger Problems?
You could have real anger issues IF. . .
- You become enraged when waiting in line at the grocery store.
- You often have arguments with your coworkers.
- You can’t sleep at night because you re-live the incidents that made you upset during that day.
- You lose control of your emotions often.
- You feel regret and shame after an anger outburst.
Controlling Anger Self Help Guide
You cannot control what happens in life. What you can do is learn how to control your reaction to it. What is important is for you to consider if your reaction will become a part of the problem? Or, will your reaction become the actual solution to the problem? Only one person can answer these two questions and do something about it. It is all up to YOU!
If you find that there are times when you have trouble controlling your own anger, we have a gift for you. We have created a free 10 step cheat sheet for you to print out and keep with you. Read it over and practise some of these methods so you will remember them when you need them. When you feel you are in a situation where you are about to get out of control, start with number 1 and go down the line.
Click here for your free Controlling Anger Self Help Guide
If you need more in depth help to be able to safely and completely release your anger you may need to consider the video class we mentioned above.
We sincerely hope that this article has been of help and value to you. Life is always better when you can wear a genuine smile on your face and in your heart. We want to help you get that genuine smile back.