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Why It's Time To Give Up Your Anger

If you are finding yourself with a short fuse this time of year, you aren’t alone. Everything seems to be at an amplified level as people are rushing around trying to get all the holiday preparations done. The malls are packed with people looking for gifts, the post office is packed with people trying to mail them, nights are late with holiday parties, school performances, or baking, wrapping and decorating. In fact, a mom called our office today to find out about anger management classes because she got in a fender bender on her way home from Christmas shopping and lost her temper in front of her kids, at one of the police officers that arrived at the scene. It really can be the most stressful time of year because of everyone’s heightened expectations of what needs to be accomplished.

As much as you want to make all your loved ones happy and create a positive, fun holiday experience, it’s inevitable that some degree of anger will come into play as you are cut-off by an irritable driver, are pushed or shoved in a line at the store, or have to deal with any ugly family dynamics. Some people have the ability to brush off the rude behavior or have a quick and quiet moment of anger and move on. For many, however, the blood starts to boil, tension arises and the resulting scene is one they later regret. If this is you, the best thing to do is to be aware of your frustration so you can work at abating it.

There are basic things that make all of us angry to some degree. It’s a reaction to not getting what you want, being uncomfortable in a situation or feeling worthless or overlooked. For example, you wanted some positive acknowledgement from your boss, but she doesn’t appreciate or notice your hard work so you are left feeling like you can’t win. If you can understand the root of it, you can work on managing the anger so you don’t end up having an explosive episode or chronically feeling irate.

Why give up your anger? Maybe it’s getting you the attention you are lacking or the feeling of camaraderie with others. However, there’s a host of reasons to let it go that you may not even realize you are experiencing:

1. It contributes to self-destructive behaviors like overeating, substance abuse and violence.

2. It alienates friends and family and destroys close relationships.

3. The angry responses lead to feelings of guilt and depression.

4. It blocks your rational problem solving skills. Leaves you in an unending cycle.

5. It is unhealthy! It depletes you of energy, makes you feel tired and can cause heart disease, stroke and gastrointestinal issues in the long run.

If you find yourself losing control more than you would like to and it’s becoming a roadblock in your life, it’s probably time to explore new ways to calm down, and understand and deal with the issues in a more positive way. Like our new client I mentioned above, taking anger management classes can help you to start the New Year off in a more clear, well-balanced and calm frame of mind.

Thankfully, You Can Learn How To Control Your Anger!

Why do you get angry? Is it happening more and more frequently? It’s usually because something happens that you don’t like the results of or specifically, someone hurts, disappoints, embarrasses, insults or frightens you in some way. Recently scores of people have reacted angrily to a Missouri grand jury’s decision not to indict a white police officer for killing an unarmed black teenager. Forty-five people have been arrested in the last couple of days for rioting, looting and setting fires to represent their frustration and rage about this event. On a more individual scale, it might be because you feel humiliated at the way your girlfriend is talking with other men at a party so you start to control when and where she is allowed to go. In both cases, the response to the anger is severe and doesn’t work towards solving or overcoming the issue at hand.

The positive side of anger is that it gets you to take a stand and motivate to get something done. However, when you have a short fuse and this energy is used in a physically violent or senseless way it leads to a life characterized by failures at work, in close relationships and even run-ins with the law. If you’ve been on this path and are tired of being overlooked for a promotion, are tired of the drama at home and want to prevent a divorce and have spent enough time caught up in the legal system, learning how to control your angry episodes is the next step you need to take.

To get things going, get involved in an anger management group led by a seasoned expert, read some books on the topic, try some 1-1 sessions with an anger management specialist or take an online class. All of these scenarios will get you started on understanding where your anger is rooted from and will teach how to react differently. There are no instant fixes, but using some of the practices below on a regular basis will definitely help:

1. Respond instead of react. When you are in the heat of the moment, give yourself a time-out and get some physical exercise. Go for a walk in the fresh air, breath deeply, go to the gym, hit the golf course and calm down before continuing the conversation. As you know, your initial response can often be hurtful and destructive.

2. Try journaling. Writing your feelings down and rereading them can be cathartic and help you see things more clearly.

3. Put yourself in the other person’s shoes. If you are stuck in the mode that the other person is evil and trying to hurt you, things will never get resolved. Try to take a look at the situation with empathy from their point of view.

4. Talk to yourself in a positive way. Ruminating about how horrible everyone and everything is just keeps you in that angry, negative mode. Change the way you look at the world by focusing on the positive aspects of the situation. “It’s actually good that I didn’t get this promotion right now because I need to focus on finishing up my college degree so I can ultimately get a better paying job.”

Starting the new year out by learning how to control your anger will help you to lower your stress levels and develop a happier, less complicated more fulfilled life.

Ideas For Avoiding Family Arguments Over the Holidays

The large family gathering over Thanksgiving is an American tradition that can be a fun, cozy and relaxing day to see relatives and friends and appreciate all we have. However, it can also be a day of dread for those who know they are going to be forced together with people that they have underlying grievances with. It might be differing political views, an outstanding debt or just the way you are choosing to live your life that turns the conversation from the pleasantries of recent good movie releases, to a huge argument about personal issues. If you are hosting a large event and know that there are potential angry flair-ups just waiting to happen, there are a couple things you can do to help avoid the situation.

1. Lay the groundwork ahead of time. When you talk to guests about what they can bring, explain that you would like to have a nice day and would appreciate if they don’t bring up controversial issues. Explain that you are putting a lot of work into this and you want to be able to enjoy the day. It’s just not the time or place to bring up disagreements.

2. If someone says something that provokes your anger during the day, count to twenty or remove yourself from the scene and take a quick walk around the block before responding. This will give you time to simmer down and come up with something level headed to say or even better, let the moment pass for now.

3. If a topic comes up during the meal that you know is potentially explosive, speak up and ask your guests to shelve it for another time and place, not at your Thanksgiving table.  Redirect the conversation to upcoming vacation plans, recent achievements or positive health news.

4. Laughter is the best medicine. If someone brings up a topic that completely annoys you or is critical of you, instead of getting mad, turn it into a joke. Let your Aunt Bertha explain how global warming is a myth created by the Democrats and laugh about it instead of turning it into a confrontation.

5. Try to limit the amount of alcohol served. If you know that there’s one cousin that drinks too much scotch every year and says inappropriate things, maybe serve some wine with dinner and call it a day. If he gives you a hard time, explain that you don’t want a repeat of last year and leave it at that. He’ll either have to go along with the boundaries you’ve set in your home, or leave.

6. Have games planned to entertain guests while you are cooking or for after the meal. When your guests get bored from spending the day inside, tension can arise. Making board games, video games, a football game on TV or appropriate family friendly movies available gives everyone something else to focus on.

7. Hand out jobs to those milling around to put them to work. When people get bored, they can start to cause trouble. Give someone the job of basting the turkey, someone to set the table, and another to be in charge of filling water glasses. Provide fun paper and colored pens for the kids to make up cute place cards or have them write notes about what they are thankful for to share with the group during dinner.

Take These Positive Steps When Angry In the Workplace

Angry feelings at work can get the best of any of us, even the generally laid back and easygoing personality. Many of us spend our days in an office environment that can be stressful, and cause us to have to rely on other people that may not live up to expectations. New management, budget cuts, layoffs, and hours of overtime can make it really difficult to maintain your calm, at precisely the time you need it most. Unmanaged anger can be one of the most destructive emotions to have at work because it creates a negative, disrespectful and unproductive atmosphere and your co-workers might actually become afraid of you. I can recall a story from one of our clients about a supervisor who would turn red in the face and would throw file folders of work back at his employees if he didn’t like the results. Papers would fly everywhere and the employee would be left to pick up the mess and try to gain some composure before filing back to his or her workspace. However, when the company was sold to a larger conglomerate, this supervisor was one of the first to go. He didn’t get his behavior under control and the HR department had recorded numerous complaints against him as both an employee and a supervisor.

According to research, some of the most common negative emotions at work are aggravation and anger. If you find yourself having trouble managing this anger, instead of blaming circumstances around you, it’s time to learn how to problem solve, manage your stress, effectively communicate with your co-workers and most importantly take responsibility for your behavior! Learning these new skills can be life changing and save your job.

To accomplish this task, there are some key things that successful people do when they start to feel the heat coming on. Initially it’s important to get away from the moment by taking a walk, breathing deeply to relax, getting some fresh air and giving yourself time to calm down before responding. Some people find it helpful to picture themselves when they are crazily yelling, turning red in the face, sweating or throwing things to remind themselves how ridiculous it looks to others. People won’t really listen to you while you are in this state anyway. Once they’ve physically calmed down, they think about the event or person that caused it to try and understand what could have been done differently. They allow themselves to feel the disappointment, frustration and anger but don’t get stuck in it. Successful people regroup and move forward by looking for a more positive take on things or a list of possible solutions.

For example, a person auditions for a movie role that he really wants to be in. He works hard and practices for weeks and weeks and thinks he has it wired, but another person gets the part. Instead of thinking that he doesn’t have enough talent or that he blew it, he thinks that the practice has improved his skills for the next role he tries out for, or about how grateful he is to have his current job until the next opportunity arises. He doesn’t act like a victim and give up, but reframes the situation to think about how this experience will benefit him in the future in some way. If you feel like this type of response is completely foreign to you and your anger is blocking your success in life, anger management training can help you regain control of the path you are on.

Are You Suppressing Your Angry Emotions?

Anger is an emotional response that we feel in a variety of ways, generally stemming from fear, hurt, insult, embarrassment or disappointment. People respond to these unsettling angry feelings in many different ways. Some get annoyed but are able to work it out and move on with their day. Others might sulk quietly, internalizing their feelings while getting depressed about their life. Some might seek revenge or try to sabotage the person or thing that caused their anger. Still others react by shouting, lobbying mean spirited comments, or act out in actual violence. Finally, a common response to anger is to try to ignore it or deny it because actually dealing with it can be too exhausting, stressful or traumatic.

People who chronically suppress their anger usually do so because they grew up in an environment that taught that anger is a bad thing, or if they express it, they will receive some sort of unfair retaliation. Suppressing emotions can be okay once in a while but people who avoid or overlook these angry feelings all the time, tend to lack the effective communication skills so necessary in every aspect of life. This can translate into broken relationships, lack of promotions at work, divorce, and the overall build-up of cynicism and bitterness. The long term effects of keeping feelings bottled up inside generally result in high blood pressure, increased risk of diabetes and heart disease and lowered immunity. There is also an increased risk for drug and alcohol abuse to help avoid the problems instead of facing them head on.

Do you find yourself suppressing your emotions more than you should? Some of the telltale signs that you are using this strategy to try and cope with everyday life include:

1. You avoid talking about the emotions with anyone because you don’t want to feel bad.

2. You avoid the people, place or situation that brings up the angry feelings so you don’t have to think about it.

3. You abuse alcohol or drugs to distract you from dealing with the emotions.

4. You often feel victimized and not in control of your life.

5. You’ve been told you have a passive-aggressive personality.

Learning how to handle your anger is an important part of an easier, more successful life. In many counts, the anger is necessary to help protect you, but spending your days ignoring the feelings diminishes happiness and can ultimately result in a dramatic blow-up. Once you have determined this problem in your life, taking a good anger management class will teach you to identify triggers and then understand how to meet your needs without high levels of stress, tantrums, violence or suppression. Learning how to assert yourself in respectful, clear and effective ways is generally the key task that people who regularly suppress anger need to master.

In addition to gaining anger management skills, people who are well-balanced and better able to cope with the world around them by also keeping physically fit, staying in touch with loved ones and friends to maintain a support network, eating a balanced diet, focusing on the positive, having a hobby, helping others in need, and allowing themselves time to relax and rejuvenate.