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Learn to channel your anger

We all get angry sometimes. Learn how to control this emotion

Written by SpunOut | View this authors Twitter page and posted in health

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What is anger?

Anger is a common human emotion. It’s perfectly normal and even healthy. Everyone gets angry at some point. Anger even has positive effects. It only becomes destructive when you are angry all, or most, of the time or if you get angry at small things.

Anger can be good because

  • It can motivate you. Anger can charge you up and motivate you to get things done. It can gear you up to prove to the universe that you CAN do it.
  • It can help to show others how you are feeling. If your reaction to something is anger, people might realise that they may have gone too far. 
  • Anger can be healing. It can be a way to work through traumas and move on from hurt.

Anger can be bad because

  • Anger is stressful for the body. It raises levels of stress hormones in the body, which can lead to high blood pressure. 
  • It can alienate people around you. If you are constantly angry, people may start avoiding you. If you often say nasty things during arguments, that may also permanently damage friendships or relationships.
  • It can cause problems in work or school. If you can’t control yourself in these environments, you could end up being expelled or fired.
  • It can make you miserable. Being angry all the time isn’t much fun!

How to channel your anger

  • Decide what’s important and what’s not. If colleagues are constantly belittling you at work or you are being bullied at school, it's normal to feel angry and to take steps to deal with it. If someone cuts in line in front of you at Starbucks though, is it really worth blowing your top over? Remember there's other ways to deal with any situation without getting angry.
  • Be self-aware. Are you naturally hot headed? If so, you’ll need to keep a closer eye on your anger level and anger triggers than a person who is naturally calm would. On the other hand, if you think that you never ever get angry, think again. It’s more likely that you are suppressing your anger, which is deeply unhealthy.
  • Don’t keep it bottled up. Suppressing your anger is just as bad for you as regularly screaming at all and sundry. Buried anger can become very toxic and cause problems such as anxiety or depression. Try to find a way to connect with your anger.
  • If you are angry with someone else, try to be as calm as possible when speaking to them about it. Try to listen to what they are saying so that both of you can work on solving the problem.
  • If you are chronically angry, you do need to take steps to calm yourself down. You may need to see a counsellor or to try calming therapies such as yoga or meditation.
  • If the anger is about a life situation that you have no control over, therapy or a support group may help you to work through your feelings. Click here to access support in your area.
  • Try to keep a balance between expressing and suppressing anger. Both can make you sick.
  • Learn about the difference between being aggressive and being assertive. Being aggressive involves being overly angry and pushy, while being assertive involves standing up for your rights, while still being polite and reasonable. You don’t have to be aggressive to get your way!
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Published December 10th, 2012
Last updated July 21st, 2015
Tags mental health anger
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