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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.

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