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Anger and Aggression

'Anger management' is a term used to describe the skills you need to recognise that you, or someone else, is becoming angry and take appropriate action to deal with the situation in a positive way. Anger management does not mean internalising or suppressing anger. 

Anger is a perfectly normal human emotion and, when dealt with appropriately, can even be considered a healthy emotion.  We all feel angry from time to time, yet this feeling can lead us to say or do things that we later regret. Anger can reduce our inhibitions and make us act inappropriately.

Anger management concerns recognising the triggers for anger as early as possible and expressing these feelings and frustrations in a cool, calm and collected way.  

Anger Self-Management Techniques
It is important to recognise when you feel angry or experience feelings that may lead to anger.  You should not try to suppress your anger but instead try to understand it and act in a positive way to alleviate negative aspects of your anger.


Take Regular Exercise and Keep Fit
The hormones that we release when we are angry - mainly cortisol and adrenaline - are similar to those produced when we are stressed to help us to escape from danger.  The release of these hormones is an evolutionary trait, useful if you are trying to run away from a mammoth but maybe less important in modern life where, for most of us, such life-threatening situations do not occur regularly.

When you exercise regularly your body learns how to regulate your adrenaline and cortisol levels more effectively.  People who are physically fit have more optimum levels of endorphins; endorphins are hormones that make you feel good and therefore less likely to feel angry.

This is an important factor to combat many physical, mental and emotional problems, including anger.  When we sleep, the body and mind rest and rebuild damaged cells and neural pathways.  We all know that people often feel better after a good night’s sleep.  The optimum level of good quality sleep is about 7 hours a night, however everybody is different and you may need more or less than this.

 Plan ‘Difficult’ Conversations

If you are worried about having a conversation that may leave you feeling angry then try to take control of the situation.  Make notes beforehand, planning what you want to say in a calm and assertive way.  You are less likely to get side-tracked during your conversation if you can refer to your notes.


Solutions Are More Important Than Problems
It can be helpful to identify what made you angry in the first place. However, it is more important to focus on a way to resolve problems so that they don’t arise again in the future.


Express Yourself
Wait until you have calmed down from your anger and then express yourself in a calm and collected way. You need to be assertive without being aggressive.


Don't Hold Grudges
We all need to accept that everybody is different and that we cannot control the feelings, beliefs or behaviours of others.  Try to be realistic and accept that people are the way they are, not how we would like them to be.  Being resentful or holding a grudge against somebody will increase your anger and make it more difficult to control.


Pick Your Time
Avoid conversations that may make you angry when you are feeling tired, distracted or stressed.  We are more likely to feel and behave in an angry way when there are other worries on our minds.

It is easy to use inappropriate sarcasm when angry; resist the temptation to do this and instead work on introducing some good humour into potentially difficult conversations.  If you can introduce some humour then resentment will be reduced and your mood lifted – this is especially the case if you are able to laugh

Breathe Slowly and Relax
Try to reverse the physical symptoms of anger by practising some simple breathing exercises.  Breathing exercises can help you to relax and slow your heart rate to more normal levels. 

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