Anger Management

What is anger?

  • Anger is a natural emotion that is usually NEGATIVE in nature
  • It ranges from mild irritation to a very intense rage
  • Anger is generally accepted socially
  • What is not acceptable is uncontrollable anger

What happens when you get angry?

  • Heart rate goes up
  • Blood pressure goes up
  • Breathing gets shallower and harder
  • Muscles tense up
  • Energy hormones (Adrenaline and Noradrenalin) levels go up making you feel more energetic

Where does anger come from?

Anger can be triggered off by some person; events or worries in your life. Anger can come from outside when someone or some event causes you to feel uncomfortable or agitated, leading you to feel somewhat threatened. Anger can also come from within yourself when you think of a particular event or memory that makes you feel angry.

Why do you feel angry?

You feel angry because you are not able to control or change something that you dislike. This feeling of dislike becomes irritation, which is a mild anger. Further demands on you that you are not able to control can lead to even more intense anger. E.g. being late for school are irritating or worrying enough, and having being stuck in a traffic jam that makes you even late for school can increase your anger? To add to the demand, can you imagine being late for your exams? The way you interpret a situation can also lead you to feeling angry. Having negative and irrational thoughts often make anger worse.

What usually make people angry?

  • Being hit
  • Being cheated
  • Being called unpleasant names
  • Being neglected / ignored
  • Unable to be in control
  • Being in stressful and demanding situations

Is it OK to feel angry?

Anger is a very natural emotion. It is a response to threat and discomfort. Anger gives you a sense of energy power (aggressive feelings and behavior) to fight or defend yourself in the face of threat. Therefore, a certain amount of anger is needed for survival.

Why do you have to manage your anger?

Our laws and social expectations dictate how you express your anger. Disregarding social boundaries will lead you to trouble with authorities and your social circle. When expressed anger is not managed properly, someone always ends up getting hurt, physically or emotionally.

What can anger do to you?

While anger is needed for survival, it can also be destructive. Anger can cause you to feel impulsive and react aggressively or violently. You may end up hurting others as well as yourself. Unexpressed anger can also create problems, in fostering healthy relationships. People who do no express their anger outwardly tend to become:

  • Negative
  • Critical minded
  • Sarcastic / cynical
  • Hostile

How can you get hurt from your anger?

Physical or emotional hurt that you exert on others can hurt you back through guilt, or retaliation from others (e.g. they hit you back). Prolonged or unresolved anger can lead to health problems in later life such as hypertension, heart disease and stroke. Psychological disturbance can also arise from being angry too often and too intensely.

What can you do about your anger?

3 main things you can do with your anger:

  • Express it
  • Suppress it
  • Calm down

How do you express your anger healthily?

Expressing your anger assertively instead of being passive or aggressively is the healthiest way to express anger. To do this, you have to learn how to express clearly what you feel, what your needs are, and how to get them met, without hurting others. Being assertive doesn’t mean being pushy or demanding; it means being respectful of yourself and others.

How do you suppress you anger?

You can hold in your anger, stop thinking about it, and redirect your focus on something positive. Your aim is to suppress your anger and change it into more constructive behavior. The danger in suppressing your anger is that it can turn inward – on yourself. Anger that has turned inward may cause hypertension, gastric pain, other bodily pain or depression, which is very unhealthy.

How can you calm yourself down?

You can calm yourself down by controlling your outward behavior, as well as your internal responses. The following measures may help you:

  • Take deep breaths and slow down your breathing
  • Slow down your movements or keep still to lower your heart rate
  • Relax your muscles
  • Look for negative and irrational thoughts and change them into more positive and constructive thoughts
  • Focus on your positive thoughts
  • Use humor to de-fuse your anger
  • Change your environment and remove yourself from the cause of your anger

What can you do to prevent yourself from getting angry?

Get to know yourself better. You can keep an anger diary to keep track of when you get angry, how angry you get and how you managed that anger. Once you know more about yourself, you can take steps that minimize the chances of you getting angry. From your diary you can find out:

  • The most effective problem solving and anger management methods that work well for you
  • Situations when you are most likely to feel angry
  • The people who are most likely to make you angry
  • You may also practice handling angry situations with a friend or family member so that you may become more automatic at handling or preventing your anger from escalating
  • Regular exercise also helps to reduce the likelihood of you getting angry by:
    • Allowing you to regularly release your tension
    • Improving your stamina which helps you to be more resistant to stress

Regular relaxation exercises help to reduce your tendency to feel angry

What can you do about other people’s anger?

Acknowledge their angry feelings. Stay calm. Leave the area if you feel threatened.

What can you do to prevent others from getting angry?

Be aware about potential triggers that may lead to anger in others. Avoid doing things that usually make people angry.

Who can you go to for help?

  • Family
  • Friends
  • Teachers
  • Counselors
  • Psychologists

Related links

Last Reviewed : 20 April 2012
Writer : Prof. Madya Dr. Alvin Ng Lai Oon
Reviewer : Pn. Fariz Sakina Bt. Abdullah