Anger is an emotional state that can range from mild irritation to intense fury and rage. It’s a natural human emotion and is nature’s way of empowering us to “ward off” our perception of an attack or threat to our well-being. The problem is not anger, the problem is the mismanagement of anger because anger can be one of the most frightening and complicated emotions we experience.

  • Anger can be caused by both external and internal events. Emotions such as stress, sadness, or fear may cause someone to feel angry and feelings of anger produce physical changes in the body such as increased heart rate, blood pressure, and adrenaline.
  • There is evidence that some children are born irritable, touchy, and easily angered, and that these signs are present from a very early age. Also, anger is often regarded as negative; we’re taught that it’s all right to express anxiety, depression, or other emotions, but not to express anger. As a result, many don’t learn how to handle it or channel it constructively.
  • Anger responses can become habitual. You may respond automatically to a situation that makes you angry, with little pause to think about your reactions.

Mismanaged anger is the major cause of conflict in relationships. You can’t get rid of, or avoid the things or the people that enrage you, nor can you change them, but you can learn how to channel your anger and how to behave when you get angry.

The Seven R’s of Managing Anger

  1. Recognize that you are angry.
  2. Release stress.
  3. Relax.
  4. Remember to take care of yourself.
  5. Recharge yourself by being around people who are positive and loving.
  6. Reshape your perception about the situation that is causing anger.
  7. Rectify your mistakes and forgive the mistakes of others.

Other Tips

  • Simple relaxation tools such as deep breathing and relaxing imagery can help calm down angry feelings. Also, change the scene. Sometimes, it’s our immediate surroundings that give us cause for irritation and fury.
  • Angry people tend to jump to and act on conclusions, and some of those conclusions can be very inaccurate. Slow down and think carefully about what you want to say. Logic defeats anger because anger, even when justified, can quickly become irrational.
  • Also, humor can help you get a more balanced perspective.
  • One of the most effective means of giving ourselves immediate relief from anger in our personal relationships is to forgive others. People who imagine forgiving their offender note immediate improvement in their cardiovascular, muscular, and nervous systems.
  • Managing anger effectively can improve health, heal relationships, and improve self-esteem.

Sources: American Psychological Association, Mayo Clinic, Forgive for Good by Dr. Fred Luskin, National Youth Violence Prevention, Emotional Intelligence by Daniel Goleman, Leonard Ingram’s Anger Management, Deadly Emotions by Dr. Don Colbert, American Association of Anger Management Providers, and Washington and Adventist HealthCare Shady Grove Medical Centers. For additional information, consult your physician.