Managing Your Anger

Employee who would beneift from workplace counselling for reducing stressManaging your anger can feel like trying to slam the brakes when you’ve already hit 100 km/h on the highway. In the moment, we often don’t want to stop. We want to release all of the negative emotions that have built up and be told that we’re justified in doing so. However, when angry outbursts become habit, the consequences are significant. You may find that you’re losing relationships, getting in trouble at work, losing control when you drink or even harming yourself. Meanwhile, the anger that you feel is only getting worse. Choosing to manage your anger does not mean invalidating your reason for feeling angry. Instead, it means choosing to find a way to regulate and communicate your emotions so that you can heal and be heard. If you feel like you’re struggling to manage anger on your own, counselling is an important place to start.

Understanding anger

How you react when you’re angry is about a lot more than just what you’re angry at in the moment. It speaks to how you feel about anger as an emotion, what experiences you’ve had with anger in the past (including family relationships) and what other emotions you’re currently dealing with. Your counsellor will explore these areas to best assist you with managing your anger.

Feelings about Anger

Some people are uncomfortable with the feeling of anger, so they push it down until they find themselves exploding later. Others feel shame expressing sadness or insecurity, so they voice it as anger because that’s ‘easier.’ Understanding the direct link between your views on anger and the way that you express yourself is key in building anger management skills.

Anger in important relationships

Another important piece of the puzzle is exploring how anger was demonstrated in your family or significant relationships growing up. Anger is by nature, a healthy emotion which drives you to action. However, anger becomes unhealthy when used in an aggressive or passive-aggressive manner. Together with your counsellor, you will build insight regarding your experiences with healthy vs. unhealthy anger. This helps you to better understand that distinction within yourself.

Emotions under the surface

Finally, anger can be a sign that you are struggling with other emotions. Grief, stress, overwhelm, anxiety and low self-esteem can all lead to irritability or anger when unresolved.  If you work on your anger without addressing the circumstances leading to those other emotions, you are putting a band aid over a deep cut. Your counsellor will take a holistic approach to ensure that anger management strategies are comprehensive and long-term.

Strategies and getting started

Young woman attending an adult counselling session with one of our therapists.There is a huge difference between communicating assertively and communicating aggressively. Assertive communication involves respect, expression of feeling and consideration of multiple perspectives. Aggressive communication involves blaming, criticizing and seeking to control an argument. Your counsellor will provide you with strategies to recognise when you’re starting to get angry and then manage your emotions without escalating the situation. Next, they will give you tools for how to communicate and express your emotions within conflict. As you develop insight and learn to recognise your triggers, you will not only find control but also greater satisfaction in communicating with others.

If you’re struggling to manage your anger and you would like to make a change, book in with one of our experienced counsellors today.