Anger is one of the basic human emotions, as elemental as sadness, happiness, anxiety, and disgust. Anger could invoke feelings of animosity, resentment, or hate, which can be directed against certain personal, groups, objects, entities, behaviors, concepts, or ideas. These emotions are tied to basic survival and were honed over the long course of human history. Anger is related to the “fight, flight, or freeze” response of the sympathetic nervous system; it prepares humans to fight.
But fighting doesn’t necessarily mean hiting on someone; it might motivate communities to fight injustice by changing laws or enforcing new behavioral norms. Of course, anger too easily or frequently mobilized can undermine relationships and it is deleterious to bodies in the long term. Prolonged release of the stress hormones that accompany anger can destroy neurons in areas of the brain associated with judgment and short-term memory, and it can weaken the immune system.
Anger therapy? What is That?
Anger therapy is a psycho-therapeutic program for anger control and prevention. Many therapeutic strategies are available to help you overcome with anger issues, but the most popular is cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), a brief treatment that has proven to be the most highly effective anger management therapy. Through CBT sessions with a therapist, patients will often undergo:
Healthy distress tolerance training
Restructuring of dysfunctional thoughts
Skill building to translate anger to assertiveness
Emotion regulation and empathy training
Benefits of Anger Therapy
People learn to help themselves stay calm and handle tense situations in a constructive and positive way through anger therapy. These skills can help them avoid anger suppression, which can lead to depression, hypertension, and anxiety. Other benefits include better:
Often anger is caused by miscommunications that result in misunderstandings. Learning how to open up communication makes dialogue easier and more controlled.
Many people who have anger related issues stay away from their loved ones or are asked to stay away because they can hurt people with their strong emotions — the ones we love are our nearest, easiest victims. Learning to control your anger will help put others at ease about outbursts and better able to focus on your relationship.
Anger makes us incapable of grasping the situation in an unbiased way and makes us prone to making mistakes in sound reasoning. Anger management helps an individual channel anger better so his or her control and temper are not lost, allowing the individual to analyze situations more objectively.
Understanding of empathy
A big part of therapy is learning empathy for others, which helps one party understand the other better, decreasing chances of further conflict or disputes.
Anger Therapy at Home
While working with an anger therapist has long-term benefits, you’re learning specific behavioral skills and ways of thinking so you can cope with anger more easily.
If you need of being calmed down when not in the presence of a professional, there are things you can do. Follow these easy tips for a quick cool down.
While anger can quickly skew judgment and logic, do your best to stay focused. Remind yourself that the world is not out to get you – this is the irrational anger talking. Remember to do this each time you start feeling heated, and you’ll start realizing you’re getting a more balanced perspective.
Listen before reacting. Take time to think carefully about how you want to reply. It’s OK if you need to step away to cool down first.
Practice taking controlled, slow breaths that you picture coming up from your belly rather than your chest.
Anger is a healthy emotion. Whether or not it’s of concern depends on its severity. If you have difficulty controlling your emotion or your anger comes out in unhealthy ways that could hurt others as well as hurt yourself, it’s time to take control of it. Left alone, it can negatively affect your relationships and professional career. If you think you will benefit from therapy, talk to a therapist today and get started on a path to a calmer lifestyle.