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Bulletin: Anger- Do It Right before Someone Gets Hurt- From McHenry and Crystal Lake, IL

Mar 10, 2008
Anger is a completely normal, usually healthy, human emotion. We all know how it feels; sometimes we experience it as a fleeting annoyance, other times as overwhelming fury.

One thing is certain: When it gets away from us and turns destructive, we are instantly at high risk for crises; crises at work, in our intimate relationships or friendships, and in the general quality of life. At this point, you can feel as though you are helplessly at the mercy of an unpredictable, strong, and over- powering feeling.

If you do not make an effort to understand and manage your anger, it can literally change the status of your very life!. Anger: What is it Exactly?

Anger can be considered a feeling state that can vary from simple annoyance to overwhelming fury and rage. It causes various physiological, neurological and respiratory changes. When angry, your heart rate accelerates and your blood pressure, levels of your energy hormones, adrenaline, and noradrenaline all spike up.

As you know, anger can be triggered by almost anything, but often makes its appearance when ones expectations are not met. A specific person or a situation, like traffic congestion, can trigger your anger. Or, it could be caused by obsessing or brooding about something; even memories of traumatic events can make anger surface.

Expressing Anger
The instinctive, impulsive way to express anger is with hostility. However, in its natural state, anger is a normal, programmed response designed to protect us from danger and threats to our boundaries or territory.

It can generate powerful, aggressive and sometimes violent feelings and behaviors, which encourage us to protect and defend ourselves when attacked. Since anger became necessary to our early physical survival, evolution programmed it in to us-survival of the fittest.

On the other hand, over time, our cortex and thinking processes encouraged civilizing behaviors. Therefore, laws, social norms etc. structured how anger must be expressed to not backfire.

The main ways we cope with our anger, include the techniques of expressing, suppressing and self-soothing. Using an assertive, rather than hostile manner to express anger is considered to be the best approach.

The core of this method is to talk with another person in a way which makes clear what your needs are and how they could get met, so that you do not degrade, diminish or hurt the other person in the process. Being assertive is not being pushy or manipulative, but rather, being respectful of yourself and others.

One way to deal with anger is to inhibit or suppress it, then convert it into a more functional and healthy response. This happens when you impulsively think a hostile thought, and then reflect on a healthier, non hurtful way to express it and then do so.

It is important that you actually express your concern so you do not inadvertently turn your anger inwards, against yourself. Anger introjected in this way raises the risk for hypertension, depression and other emotionally-fueled disorders.

Unexpressed anger can lead to dysfunctional ways of expressing it, such as passive-aggressive behavior. People who use this method attempt to get back at people by not being direct and telling them the reason.

Instead, they just shut down or ignore the other person without telling them why. Sometimes, they just appear cynical or hostile.

If you are constantly putting others down, criticizing them or making cynical comments, you have not learned to constructively express anger. Therefore, you are likely to have struggling or tension-laden relationships.

Finally, it is important to remember to soothe yourself. This means not just controlling your outward behavior, but also deliberately calming yourself in order to decrease your heart rate and let the agitated feelings subside.
About the Author
Dr Shery is in Cary, IL, near Algonquin, Crystal Lake, Marengo and Lake-in-the-Hills. He's an expert psychologist. Call 1 847 516 0899 and make an appt orlearn more about counseling at: http://www.carypsychology.com
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