Anger Management

Anger's harmful effects spill over into a person's personal and professional lives, undermining a person's capacity for emotional fulfillment and personal and professional achievement. In other words, anger can hold you back and keep you down.

Medical researchers have linked the stress response of anger to:

  • Elevated blood pressure
  • Increased heart rate
  • Tense muscles
  • Heart attack
  • Stroke
  • Ulcers
  • Migraines
  • Low back pain
  • Shortened life expectancy

Studies have linked anger to many psychological conditions such as:

  • Loneliness
  • Chronic anxiety
  • Depression
  • Eating disorders
  • Sleep disorders
  • Obsessive-compulsive behavior
  • Several phobias

Although anger can induce the above mentioned conditions, it is a normal human emotion. It is intense. Everyone gets angry and has a right to his/her anger. Do you manage your anger? Do you allow anger to mobilize you in positive directions? Open, honest, and direct expression is the most effective way of managing anger. Some effective management techniques are:

  1. Choose constructive (not destructive) methods/solutions/ideas.
    • Try physical outlets, e.g. exercise, housework, crafts, etc.
    • Problem solve and come up with action plans, e.g. forming a neighborhood watch to combat vandalism.
  2. Involve an objective third party. Ask someone you trust to be a sounding board. Who might this be?
  3. Use the "empty chair" exercise. Pretend you're sitting across from the person you are angry with and say what's on your mind. Who is this person?
  4. Writing a letter to the person you are angry with. You could describe your anger right now, at the time of the anger event or both. You can destroy it/you can save it/you can mail it at a later date.
  5. Use relaxation techniques, e.g. guided imagery, self-help tapes, music.
  6. Use positive self-talk, e.g. "I am able to choose my anger style." and "I am angry but I'm not going to let it..."
  7. Work towards anger resolution through acceptance (learning to live with the fact that certain people and situations, past, and present & future, will not change).
    • Make realistic expectations, e.g. What is one frustrating anger situation? Can it really change as you'd like it to in the near future?
    • If not...
  • Realize the powerlessness over the situation.
  • Give yourself a time limit to be angry, and then... let it go!
  • Constantly remind yourself "I cannot afford to stay angry. What's at stake here?"
  • Recognize the need for forgiveness. "No painful event is allowed to contribute to my anger more than one time."
  • Focus on the present.

 If you would like further information, please contact Psychological Counseling Services by telephone at (304) 788-6976 or simply stop by the office located on the base floor of the Health Center.