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Anger cannot be controlled; only our response to anger can be controlled. Anger is an automatic response of the nervous system when it feels threatened with loss of any kind like loss of respect, loss of love, or loss of safety. The brain floods the body with stress hormones prompting the body to fight or flee the threatening situation. It is extremely important to learn to give yourself time to stop, reflect on why you feel angry, and what results you want to come out of the situation before you speak or act. Counting to ten or more depending on the severity and walking away from the situation until your emotions subside and you can think rationally are ways to give yourself time to sort things out.

Hint: Fear, anxiety, grief, and shame are often the primary emotions, not anger.

Anger may give you a false sense of power. Expressing anger by yelling, fighting, assaults and self-harm do not influence others to respect you or listen to your point of view. Instead it will destroy relationships and in extreme cases cause you to lose your family, job, and freedom. Real power is taking time to acknowledge anger, figure out the underlying problem causing the anger and let anger inspire you to take steps toward positive action to correct the problem.

Anger Health Problems
• headaches
• digestive problems
• insomnia
• depression
• high blood pressure
• heart attack
• stroke

Ignoring anger and bottling up the feelings not only does not address the problem but may cause many serious health problems affecting your quality of life and may lead to your sudden death just as much as letting anger spin out of control.

Anger Management Skills
It is important to accept anger as a natural response to perceived threats and loss. Learn to observe your thoughts calmly without judging or reacting. It may be helpful to keep a diary to understand when and why you get angry and work out possible solutions to the problems. Practice relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, meditation, listening to music, and any hobby or activity that allows you to have a sense of peace and timelessness. Research has proven that regular exercise like walking, running, dancing or yoga can reduce stress levels and improve your mood as well as your health. Treat yourself and others kindly and respectfully to reduce frequency of angry outbursts. Consider joining an anger management group to learn better communication and conflict resolution techniques. Next week we will explore some of anger’s underlying causes.