Is anger bad?
Would you be surprised if I told you feeling angry is not necessarily a, “bad” thing? Anger is an emotion, and is similar to other emotions such as happiness, sadness, or fearfulness. It is beneficial to avoid labeling emotions as either “good” or “bad”. By acknowledging and accepting emotions you can begin to start to control your emotions versus allowing emotions to control you. In this post I will focus on the emotions followed by anger, specifically how various unhelpful ways of responding to anger can become “bad habits”.
What’s happening when you are angry?
Self talk or the internal dialogue that we have in response to a trigger is a key element in our response to anger. Think about the last time that you got very upset, did you think about similar situations in the past? Did you think about how unfair the situation was? Many people who struggle with anger have thoughts that trigger anger. The feelings of pain or hurt then create the perfect storm to intensify anger. We do and say things that we normally wouldn’t and we repeat of normal patten of how we respond to anger.
How to change your anger
In order to break the bad habits associated with anger such as yelling, avoidance, or damaging property, we need to slow down the thought process associated with anger. When a person can think rationally they allow themselves the choice to think and behave appropriately. In counseling, I teach people the skills to dispute unhelpful thoughts and replace unhelpful thoughts with reality based thoughts that leave them feeling more in control. I also teach people distress tolerance skills so people no longer feel fearful of their anger.
Anger: What’s Next
The next time you find yourself aware feeling angry, try pausing and labeling your emotion. Take a step back from your anger and notice its intensity and strength. Take care of yourself and acknowledge your increasing racing thoughts and take action. Make decision to slow down your thoughts. Decide not to act out of discomfort or impulsiveness. Relax, self-soothe then take the opportunity to recognize and possibly challenge your trigger thoughts. Go forward with a conscious awareness of how your thoughts can either intensify your anger or give you a false since of control.
If you would like further guidance or information regarding managing anger, please call or email our office to set up an appointment.