Men and Anger
What is Anger <H2>
As with all emotions anger something we all feel from time to time. Anger itself can help us to recognise when we might be under attack, alert us to when things are unfair or indicate to us if we might be being mistreated. This in turn helps us to defend ourselves in dangerous situations or respond assertively to unfairness and mistreatment.
As with all emotions we need to learn how to harness the strengths and avoid the pitfalls. This is particularly true for anger which can have profound negative consequences for the person themselves or for those around them. Particularly when it leads to acts of aggression and violence.
Aggression and violence is the expression of anger through our actions. Violence and aggression are rarely needed in the modern world and should only be seen in exceptional circumstances. For example, when our lives are in immediate risk.
When is anger a problem?
Anger may be a problem for your if you are feeling it frequently; if it feels out of control; if the feeling is more than is needed for the situation; if it leads to you or those around you being hurt emotionally or physically; or if it affects how you feel about yourself.
The intensity of the feeling will alert us to how at risk we believe we are and whether or not we believe we need to respond. When our anger is at its strongest we are more likely to react through our behaviour. This is when we can do things we might regret.
Getting very angry is rarely helpful and research has shown that when highly emotional it can get out of control. When people lose control of their anger they are often left feeling pretty bad about themselves which can perpetuate the problem. Anger is an emotion which is often located in men. Having angry feelings is not a bad thing. It’s what we do with them that’s important.
The impact of angry feelings on others
When people get angry those around them may also be feeling under threat. This can lead to people reacting in defensive ways or can lead to anger feelings in other. This is where conflict between people often happens, particularly if the other person is not in agreement.
Anger is a hot emotion and can be felt by others. It can be scary for people to experience and the impact on the other person might sometimes be missed.
For boys we can see this in the higher rates of conduct disorder, school expulsions and behavioural problems; whilst for men we see it in the criminal justice system, sport and in the pubs and bars.
The physical effect of anger
Anger Management for Men <H2>
For some people angry feelings may be their default reaction to a wide variety of situations. So what needs to be done to get out broaden the range of reactions and begin to find new ways of responding.
What can I do to help myself with anger and aggression?
- Learn how to use your feelings effectively without them being unfairly detrimental to others
- Try to understand what it is that makes you angry
- Consider whether the way you are feeling is proportionate to the situation.
- Remember that aggression and violence is only ever needed in exceptional and rare circumstances
- Consider alternative explanation for situations that might feel less personal
- Instead of criticising yourself or others, see the positives and give compliments.
- Recognise when you feel resentful and tell yourself to forgive.
- Focus on something good instead of the bad.
- When you feel anger arise, count to ten. Take a deep breath and calm yourself down.
- Distract yourself from whatever it is that got you wound up.
- Use relaxation strategies to help counter the physical and physiological symptoms of anger
- Avoid situations that always seem to trigger anger, until you feel in control of your impulsiveness to act out.
- Do not dwell on your thoughts and situations that caused you to feel angry. This is not helpful for managing angry feelings
- Stop drinking alcohol when you feel angry. Alcohol is like adding fuel to the fire.
- Reduce coffee intake, caffeine has the power to make you feel irritable.
- Learn to meditate, join a meditation club.
- Do the learning. Research and practice how to understand and manage your anger. This is a skill we learn not something that we are given.
- Remind yourself that you deserve to be happy – no matter how bad your previous life was.
- Improve communication and problem solving skills
- Do not continue to allow yourself to live with long-term critical beliefs about yourself
It may help to talk to a psychological therapist, someone who doesn’t know you and with whom you don’t have to keep up an appearance with. Psychological therapy is an effective intervention to help people manage anger and to help them make it work for them.
Men and Anger: Health Issues<h3>
Another good reason to work on reducing your anger is your health. More than 30 000 heart attacks a year occur because of anger. A psychologist at the University of South Florida, C. Spielberger, says: “The more intense the anger, the more likely the heart attack”. Other studies have shown that angry men are three times more at risk to develop premature cardiovascular disease, early heart attacks are six times more likely and chances of having a stroke is three times more.
Angry feelings from the past
Sometimes we may carry angry feelings with us from the past due to mistreatment of harm that came to us. The feeling can then be misplaced into current situations and those around us. This can have an impact on our current relationships or other things that are important to us.
Whilst this is totally understandable that people would be angry about bad things in the past. Carrying them with us in the present can get in the way of us living the lives we would like to or it may lead us to getting into trouble. If you carrying angry feelings from the past, talking therapies can be helpful.
The connection between Anger and Depression in Men <H2>
Anger and depression can turn into a vicious cycle that’s hard to break. Outbursts of anger can lead to feeling guilty, which can lead to depression. When depression becomes a long-term condition, dealing with emotions can become perpetually difficult, which increases the likelihood of anger outbursts.
Seeking professional help can be essential to break the pattern. Coming to terms with all our feelings including guilt, anger, fear, hurt, and shame is the key to heal old wounds and find the love we all so desperately crave.