When clients come to see me for anger management issues, many of them tell me that they can lose their temper very quickly.
One minute they are fine and the next minute they have lost it. Other people can also be taken by surprise, at how quickly they can change, as well.
Like many issues, unless you become aware of what happens when you get angry, it can be very difficult to exert any control over how your respond to situations, where you typically become angry.
Therefore, I usually ask my clients to start noticing what happens just before they lose their temper. I also ask them to talk about this with their partners or friends who have witnessed them becoming angry, as the feedback of others can be useful.
To make this a bit easier, and add some structure, I ask clients to think about what happens to them in four different areas.
These four areas are as follows:
When any of us get angry, our body responds. It’s the old fight or flight response. Some of the changes that might happen include rapid heartbeat, becoming sweaty, muscles becoming tense, and the release of chemicals like adrenalin. You face may become red and you might look as though you are pumped up.
Try to think of what happens in your body when you get angry.
Usually when we become angry, our thoughts or perceptions have a part to play. So, if someone has cut you up on the motorway, you might be thinking, “Who the *!*% do they think they are?”, for example. And you may have thoughts about wanting to set them straight or teach them a lesson. There are usually thoughts of righteous indignation or that someone has done something to deliberately thwart you.
What types of thoughts do you typically have when you become angry?
People vary in how they behave when they become angry. Some people raise their voices, or shout, swear, say insulting things, start pointing their fingers, throw and break furniture, punch doors and walls, stare, and generally look aggressive. At worst, people will become aggressive towards others and assault them.
How do you behave when you become angry?
Again, how people feel when they become angry varies from person to person. So some people might feel annoyed, irritated, and pissed off. Some might feel full of rage and that they want to murder someone. However, sometimes anger is called a secondary emotion. We may respond to a situation with anger but deeper down it is a different story. We may feel a sense of having been shamed, or hurt, or feel sad or afraid.
Apart from how you actually feel when you become angry, what do you think is going on under the surface?
Taking time to think about these four areas can really help you to become much more aware of what happens when you become angry and help you to handle your anger better.
Instead of anger being an automatic response, you can look for the signs and perhaps start doing something that helps you to break the pattern. This can be a major step in helping with your anger management.
Looking for help with anger management in the Glasgow area?
Call Neil on 07970 860 711 to set up your initial appointment.