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Angry – Now What?


It’s happened again. You were sure the last time was the last. Yet here you are again,

ruminating and filled with guilt over your actions and words. You blew up. Your anger got the best of you…again. Now what? Maybe you’ve even received an ultimatum from your job,family, or significant other. Fix it, or else.


The first thought is often, “How do I get rid of my anger.” You do not get rid of it;

instead, you learn to manage it. Anger is healthy and helpful when it serves its purpose, such as when life or limb is threatened. Anger signals you to fight the predator off, thus successfully making you a survivor. The issue isn’t that you get angry. The issue is that there is too much anger, and you have not learned how to express it effectively.


Ineffective Expressions of Anger

Hitting Something - Folk wisdom says to hit a pillow or punching bag. This may feel

good, but it is unhelpful and quietly creates a harmful habit. This moment of release

conditions your brain to associate relief with the aggressive act of hitting.

The next time

you are angry, your brain with give you a nudge to “hit something.” Someday it may not

just be an object.


Get it Out – Folk wisdom says, “Get it out.” Yes, validly, if you sit, soak, and sour, you

will blow up, but we will talk about how NOT to do that momentarily. Likewise, yelling

aggressively at the source of your anger will not be helpful, as, in the latter example, it

will cause more harm than good.


Be True to Me, Speak My Mind – Folk wisdom says, “Be true to yourself, and let them

know.” This is harmful because our brains are not rational when we are angry. We cannot

reason or think clearly; anything we say is aimed to hurt the hearer like a bullet. DO NOT

speak (or type, ahem, social media) your mind when you are angry. You will regret it the

moment your anger subsides.


Anger Management 101

The purpose of anger management is to learn to deal with anger healthily – not extinguish

it.

Become Self-Aware – Self-awareness means seeing your anger before it takes over and

controls you.

Catch it Quickly – Wait too long, then you can do little to stop the flood of red from

taking over your rational brain. But if you learn to catch your anger, you can control it.

Learn Your Warning Signs – As with any other part of being a human, everyone’s

warnings are different. A therapist is a great resource to help you on this journey of

noticing your signs. If you prefer to wait it out, begin practicing journaling your

emotions and feelings in your body when you are stressed.

Practical Tips for Managing

Take a Time Out – This seems elementary, but taking a moment to walk away can help

tremendously. Then, you can come back to the discussion or person. This will help

prevent deep emotional or maybe even physical wounds.

Deep Breathing – Slowly breathe in for a paced count of four. Hold that breath for a

paced count of four. Then let it out for the same. Pause for another four counts and begin

again until your anger feels manageable.

STOP - Stop, think, and then act. Just those few seconds can often be enough to change a response.


How Can We Help?


You appreciate all the above but want to take further steps to ensure success. How can we help? The Forging Place in Van Buren and Greenwood has excellent, experienced therapists who

can help you start your journey. In addition, Eric Fergeson, LPC, LMFT at The Forging Place Van Buren, has extensive experience in anger management. You can call the office staff today at (479) 310-9096 or email them at reception@theforgingplace.com.



Leaves on a Stream Exercise
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References


American Psychological Association. (2022, August 9). Control anger before it controls you.


American Psychological Association. Retrieved April 19, 2023, from

https://www.apa.org/topics/anger/control 


Therapist Aid. (2016, April 29). Anger management (guide). Therapist Aid. Retrieved April 19, 2023, from https://www.therapistaid.com/therapy-guide/anger-management

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