NYC Psychotherapist Blog

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Thursday, July 30, 2009

Anger Management: How to Control Your Anger

Anger is a normal emotion, just like any other emotion. Everyone feels anger at one point or another. Feeling anger is not a problem. Problems arise when you don't know how to express your anger and you either bottle it up so that it causes health-related problems or when you explode or express anger in ways that are not appropriate --like yelling, getting sarcastic, belittling others and, the most problematic of all--getting physically aggressive due to your anger.

The Consequences of Uncontrolled Anger:
Losing your temper can have serious consequences in your personal relationships as well as at work. Many relationships have ended because one or both partners cannot control their anger. Many employees have been passed up for promotions or even lost their jobs because they have problems with anger management. Problems with anger can also be detrimental to your own physical health. High blood pressure, heart attacks, depression, anxiety, and other physical ailments can all be linked to problems with anger management.

Anger Management:  How to Control Your Anger
How to Control Your Anger:
It's important to recognize the physical cues that you feel when you're starting to get angry so that you can take steps to calm yourself or, at the very least, remove yourself from the situation before you react in a way that will be harmful to yourself or harmful to others.

What are the physical cues that you might get? Here are some of the physical cues to pay attention to so you recognize if your anger is starting to get out of control: your face is flush, your fists are clenched, your jaw is clinched, your throat is tight, your breathing has changed--either more shallow or breathing heavier, your heart is beating fast, your arms are trembling, your head hurts, etc. Everyone is different so you might feel some of these physical changes or you might feel other physical changes. The important thing is to recognize the physical manifestations of anger before you act.

Recognizing the physical cues before you act gives you time and space to think before you act or, at the very least, to remove yourself from the situation before you do or say something that you and others might regret. You can go for a walk, splash water on your face, take a deep breath and count to 10 slowly, or call a friend. If you can't leave the situation--let's say that you're with your boss and it would not be feasible for you to excuse yourself to leave--you can always just stop and breath for a moment. Breathing relaxes your body.

Be proactive: If you know you have problems managing your anger, take steps proactively to manage your stress and anger on a regular basis: Work out at the gym at a level that is medically appropriate for you; go for brisk a walk during the day; express your emotions creatively either in writing, music, dance or in other creative ways; make sure you get enough sleep and eat nutritious meals; take time to relax; learn to meditate and find other ways to manage your stress.

You're Not Alone:
In recent surveys, more than 25% of people have expressed concern about their own problems with anger management or about the anger of those close to them. It is a common problem.

If you've been unable to manage your anger, especially if you have gotten physically violent, you need to get professional help. Many people with anger management problems have learned to be proactive to control their tempers. The first step is to admit that you have a problem and ask for help. You can attend a local anger management program in your area or you can seek the advice of a licensed psychotherapist.

I am a licensed psychotherapist, hypnotherapist, EMDR therapist, marriage counselor and coach in NYC. I have helped many clients to overcome their problems with managing their emotions.

To find out more about me, visit my website: Josephine Ferraro, LCSW - NYC Psychotherapist

To set up a consultation, feel free to call me at (212) 726-1006.

photo credit: dhammza via photopin cc

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