Anger is a typical human emotion/response that occurs when a threat is present, activating the fight or flight response to prepare the body for action. Anger happens when a person experiences unpleasant or frustrating situation, feels hurts, embarrassed or disappointed or memories of past upsetting moments are activated. Anger can be a sign that something is happening that we don't agree with or appreciate and wish to eliminate the source of the discomfort. Unfortunately, if anger is not managed properly it can have numerous disruptive effects.
While anger should be dealt with, there is no reason that the one should act out in a harmful manner. Maladaptive ways of expressing anger such as through violence, hurtful verbal remarks, pouting, passive aggressive behavior, repression or suppression fail to resolve the conflict and often perpetuate more future anger. A common misperception about anger is the belief that it is always better to let out anger, which is normal and outside of one's control. Without coping strategies for anger, we may act impulsively, fail to use good judgment or jump to harmful conclusions..
Anger results in an increased emphasis on self centered wants, often at the expense of others. Anger can also create misperceptions that you are acting in a justified manner and decreases your awareness of alternatives, inhibiting your ability to solve the problem. When angry, we also often have difficulty attending to other emotions, restricting the ability to resolve painful emotions. Anger can even lead to aggression, which can be very harmful to others or ourselves when we act on this feeling.
Our health can also be compromised by anger, which has been shown to increase blood pressure and heart rate, contribute to heart problems, increase the level of energy hormones, headaches, skin problems, and digestive problems.
How can I tell if Anger is a problem?
The Do's and Don'ts of dealing with Anger
(From Harritet Goldhor Lerner, The Dance of Anger (1985), Harper & Row Publishers, New York, pp 199-202. )
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