Anger can be controlled, see it as the enemy and you can begin to defeat it!

The cost of losing your temper

Losing your temper can cost you your life.

This might seem a tad dramatic, but losing your life isn’t just about pushing up daisies, it’s about losing out on relationships, career opportunities, schooling and more. If you are a person who suffers from angry outbursts or loses their temper often you know how destructive this is to your life as well as to the lives around you.

You want to control your temper and keep your anger in-check but you don’t know how. This is why anger is such a vicious cycle as the sheer frustration and helplessness many feel about not being in control of their anger and not knowing when they might lash out is itself a reason to be angry!

Why do we get angry?

There are so many reasons why we become angry, frustrated, and impatient not least:

  • A Life event
  • An unexpected bill
  • An injustice
  • A dispute, falling out at work, home
  • Betrayal
  • Disobedience from children
  • Noise
  • Lack of sleep
  • Inadequate diet
  • Withdrawal from addiction (caffeine, cigarettes, drugs)
  • Feeling unwell, run-down, stressed
  • Unsatisfactory living conditions

The list is endless.

Why do we experience anger?

Anger stems from a natural need to protect oneself or ones property. Back in the day when villages were being pillaged or we were required to defend ourselves against animal predator’s anger had its purpose. When we feel angry we tend to feel stronger and our senses are heightened, we are literally super sensitive.

If we don’t feel angry when threatened we won’t benefit from the chemical changes that allow out bodies to be stronger, faster and more resistant to pain. When we become angry our heart rate and blood pressure go up, and we produce higher amounts of the energy producing hormones adrenaline, and noradrenaline.

However in today’s modern world there are few occasions when anger can be productive and yet we still experience it. We may even experience it more often due to a general lack of exercise as physical activity helps to keep anger at bay. The process of being physical reverses the chemical processes that are initiated when we start to feel angry and helps return us, body and mind back to a normal, calm state.

What is pent up anger?

Some people experience pent up anger which concerns angry feelings they’ve stored from long ago or recent events and for whatever reason they have neglected to address them. Pent up anger can spill out in other ways (other than temper outbursts) which are clear indicators that the person is not happy. For example they might complain a lot, be overly critical, judgmental, unkind and so on. In these cases it is wise that they talk to a GP/counsellor to get the root cause of the pent up anger and work out ways to diffuse it.

Do we learn angry behaviour?

Some people do seem naturally quicker to anger than others but it can also be a learned behaviour. If children see parents and adults dealing with negative situations with their fists and through verbal aggression, it is possible they’ll copy that behaviour.

Also we have triggers, memories of things gone by and when something similar to those events occurs again, we go straight to where we were then. If that place happened to be feeling angry, defensive and ready for a fight then that is the state we return to. Facing those past situations when we’re in a calmer state can help to ensure we don’t revisit them when the situation presents itself again.

Why should we control our anger?

Whether at work home or play there are few areas when it is safe or appropriate to lose our temper. It is considered anti-social, hostile and unproductive and so in order to accommodate our now anti-anger culture we must try to control, curtail and subdue anger in order to live harmoniously and safely amongst our fellow man.

Here are some tips on anger prevention.

  1. Know yourself
  2. Count to ten
  3. Breathe
  4. Re-think
  5. Leave it
  6. Come back to it when calm

If you know what makes you angry, devise a coping strategy NOW with regard to what you will do when faced with that situation. Will you avoid the situation, walk away, asks the other person to leave, count to ten…perhaps you need to do a mental exercise.

Breathing exercises as well as ‘thought replacement’ can be helpful in these situations. As you count to ten, breathe slowly and deliberately and try to force the ‘angry words’ you’re repeating to yourself in your head out and replace them with calmer, subduing words.

“This isn’t important, this can wait, I can cope with this, I won’t place such importance on this matter…” etc.

It might be that the situation making you angry needs dealing with promptly. But be aware you can never deal with something 100% effectively while you’re angry so taking a few moments to become calm is all that is needed to allow you to continue to deal with the situation. Only this time your response will be productive and will gain better results.

Be tough on yourself and stop making excuses for your bad mood!

If you know lack of sleep adds to your angrier problems, make a concerted effort to sleep more.

If you know alcohol is a trigger, don’t drink alcohol. Again don’t use alcohol as an excuse for violent abusive behaviour. If you know this is how alcohol makes you behave do not drink it. If you are unable to say no to alcohol visit your GP for advice on how to quit.

If PMS/PMT is a problem, speak to your GP/Doctor/Herbalist about available supplements and treatments and ensure you control your hormone levels as much as possible with appropriate diet. Make a note in your diary as to when pms/pmt is likely to arise and if necessary plan events around it so you’re not having a predictably bad day when you go on holiday, out with friends etc.

Control your anger and don’t let it control you!