Anger. Frustration. Irritation. Annoyance. These are all very human emotions. We could all write our lists of what pushes our buttons and I guess we have all had to bite our tongue at times (or not!) But as Jack Nicholson’s character in the film, Anger Management, put it:“Temper’s the one thing you can’t get rid of by losing it”.

Clever!

Out of the mouths of babes and all that, I decided to ask a 10 year old what it means to get angry and this was her response:

So when you get angry, you get really agitated, you get really annoyed and you kind of want to let your anger out by doing something violent to someone. You might get a bit overwhelmed with your emotions and you might not think straight and be really mean to people even if they haven’t done anything. If someone tries to make you feel better you just push them away and stay in your bubble. When I’m angry I usually like to go away from everyone because I don’t want to make them upset. I usually wait until the person has said sorry.

What if they don’t say sorry? 

If I was the one who did something wrong, I say sorry. If me and my friend give each other the silent treatment, that makes me feel sick and worried.

Is it good to get angry then? 

No it’s not good for you to get angry because it can make you ruin friendships and it can also make you feel stressed and worried and that’s not good for your mental health.

Is it natural to feel anger? 

Yeah, it’s perfectly fine to feel anger. It’s a normal, human emotion. You should try to write it down and when you have cooled off you can come back to it and try to figure out a solution.

What could you do instead of getting angry?

You could try taking some deep breaths and if that doesn’t work you can try telling someone about it – a trusted person. Don’t take it so seriously. If it was meant as a joke maybe try and see the funny side of it. You can try and find something that comforts you.

You could try and confront the person about it and tell them in a polite way how they made you feel.

Thank you for helping me with this blog. *

No problem!

Life stresses, hormonal changes, lack of sleep, anxiety and depression may all contribute to increased irritability. Some people are more public with their emotions than others, who keep the anger held in and bubbling away. Intense and unmanageable anger is unpleasant and unhealthy and may sadly cause ruptures in relationships. 

Tips on anger management:

1. Get some perspective.  It’s often the way we view an issue and not the issue itself that causes distress. Ask yourself if you are blowing something out of proportion or misinterpreted the situation. 

2. Don’t work yourself up using negative and biased language:

  • I can’t believe it!
  • This is the worst thing ever!
  • Why does this always happen to me?

3. Forewarned is forearmed. Get to know what things provoke you and what exacerbates your frustration. Lack of sleep, alcohol, hunger, maybe a certain word or criticism sets you off? 

Perhaps use an anger diary to help identify your triggers.

Fear and threat can stimulate the fight/flight response and those physical stimuli (pins and needles, dizziness, stomach churning) may all contribute and put us on the defensive. If you can recognise what precedes an outburst, you are more likely to prevent one.

4. Which brings us on to…do you need to defend anything here? Or can you choose to let it go? You might feel that rage or an outburst is an automatic response, but actually we are able to self-regulate; however challenging it might seem at the time.  

The next time you feel the need to shout at the driver who has just cut you up, take a deep breath and let it go. Maybe they didn’t see you/are not a confident driver/didn’t mean to cut you up? 

5. Try to stop taking it personally. 

This always happens to me! Does it? Or do others experience tricky situations too? Do you think the driver targeted you on purpose or could anyone have got in the way? 

6. Relaxation techniques are really helpful because if you can reduce your stress and anxiety levels, you are less likely to pop: 

Mindfulnessis widely used to help manage stress and irritability (there are plenty of apps and online information. 

Regular deep breathingpractice can be a preventative measure.

7. Retreat! If your default setting is to rise to every occasion where you feel angry, try doing the opposite and back down. Backing down does not mean giving in, it means making the choice to reduce your own stress and anxiety and potentially not upset others. That sounds pretty successful to me!

“Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned”

Buddha

*contribution credit – Phoebe P