What is anger?
Anger is a normal emotion - it's part of being human. While we all get angry from time to time, some people lose control of their anger and this can cause depression, isolation, anxiety, stress, addictive behaviour, self harm, migraines, headaches, high blood pressure, aggressive behaviour and relationship problems.
Why do I have anger issues?
- Bottling up your feelings - whether they are sadness, anxiety, stress or anger - can result in pent up anger bubbling to the surface. For many people this strategy of pushing down feelings has been a way of handling life stresses since childhood. Realising that feeling vulnerable, scared, unhappy or misunderstood is normal and part of being human can help you to be more accepting and compassionate of your own feelings and the feelings of others. Connecting to your feelings will also help you feel more integrated as a person.
- Feeling out of control and stressed with life events can be frustrating and can lead to problems expressing anger. A strong sense of injustice and feeling powerless can fuel this anger.
- Experiencing yourself as a failure can generate anger issues.
- Unhealthy lifestyles can contribute to anger issues. If you are constantly tired, working too hard, not getting enough sleep, eating junk food and relying on energy drinks and caffeine, this will exacerbate any anger problems you have. Choosing foods which will boost your serotonin and dopamine levels will help you feel calmer. A healthy lifestyle for your mind and body will optimise your ability to cope with anger and stress.
How can counselling help my anger issues?
- Seeing a counsellor can help you identify your anger triggers as well as exploring healthy ways of expressing your anger.
- Understanding how you process anger can help us challenge negative beliefs about yourself and others. In this way counselling can change the neural pathways in your brain.
- Talking through your anger issues with a counsellor can help you feel less alone. It can also help you communicate better with your partner - in a non blaming way.
- Accepting failure as a normal and inevitable part of life can help people with anger difficulties : -what you achieve or don't achieve doesn't define your worth as a person.
- Taking responsibility for all your feelings - sadness, fear, anger and happiness - will help you feel more in control of your life and will reduce anger issues.
- Seeing a counsellor can help you acknowledge that there is a gap between your angry impulse and your angry behaviour. This will allow you to choose how you manage your anger, rather than automatically having a knee jerk reaction to a situation.
- Separating what you can control (eg your response to a stressful event) and what you can't control (eg the behaviour of others)
- Practising meditation, mindfulness techniques can help reduce the cycle of anger, blame and self loathing.