by Counseling and Wellness Center of PittsburghFebruary 28, 2021 anger, anger management, anger management counseling0 comments
Do you remember the last time you felt angry? Perhaps you were peeved that your kid left a sliver of milk in the jug and didn’t add it to the grocery list. Maybe a truck cut you off at the freeway entrance, and you muttered obscenities. Or maybe it’s hard to look back at the last time, because you punched a hole in the wall.
We All Get Angry
Though sometimes unpleasant, anger comprises a natural part of the human emotional experience. However, chronic and intense anger may take a toll on your body, mind, and relationships. Depending on the seriousness, this could range from a stress headache to a cardiac event.
Anger tends to surface in our relationships where we spend the most time. You may lash out at loved ones and feel regret. If this becomes a pattern, it can wound long-term relationships.
Unchecked anger that becomes physical aggression may evoke larger social, legal, and even criminal consequences.
If you find yourself struggling with this emotion, remember that eliminating anger from life is not an option. But you can learn to reduce persistent, intense anger.
Abundant Anger Management
Square one: anger management resources are widely available in this day and age. Think you don’t have the time or money? Positive effects have been noted from just a handful of interventions.
Common techniques include mindfulness, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), and non-violent communication. Some help diffuse intense feelings when they arise. Others equip you to work around or through situations that anger you.
Most interventions teach life skills that are simply good to have. Keep reading to learn what you have to gain.
Mindfulness: the Power of the Present
Mindfulness and relaxation techniques teach calm observation, which can help you self-soothe when tense. This can be useful whether you’re tolerating an annoying coworker or coaching yourself through airplane turbulence.
On top of anger reduction, mindfulness enhances enjoyment of day to day life. When you feel anchored in the present, it opens the door to deeper connection with yourself and others.
Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy: Flip Your Perspective
Cognitive reframing offers another multi-tool for life. To reframe, take a step back and examine your reaction to situations that provoke strong emotion.
For example, what thoughts fill your mind when you feel angry at your spouse for not emptying the dishwasher? “They don’t value my time. I do all the chores…” What if your spouse didn’t empty the dishwasher, because they were busy cooking dinner for you? Do you feel different about that full dishwasher now?
It’s natural to see that reframing could serve many emotions and circumstances, not just anger. You may find yourself reframing all sorts of assumptions that once weighed you down.
Non-Violent Communication: Get to the Root
Remember that anger may be telling you an important message about your needs. The hidden need might be personal (“I need more time to recharge”), but it could also draw you to a larger cause. Anger-fueled protests that call for justice are a classic example.
Whatever the message, non-violent communication teaches you to focus on the need beneath the emotion. Suddenly, you may find anger isn’t a roadblock anymore. Instead of choosing aggression and rumination, you energetically solve problems.
Take the First Step
With these benefits in mind, can you visualize yourself getting a handle on your anger?
Professional counseling can make a huge difference in the speed and health of your recovery. Reach out to find a therapist who’s a good fit. Get the support you need on the journey to freedom from chronic anger. If not now, when?
by Counseling and Wellness Center of PittsburghMay 27, 2020 anger management counseling, greensburg counseling0 comments
Managing Displaced Anger During Difficult Times
It has been said that anger is a secondary emotion, triggered by preceding fear, rejection, hurt feelings, humiliation, and sadness. With the current pandemic, restrictions on our daily activities, the uncertainties of our futures and our medical and financial wellbeing, it is no wonder people have been on edge. This disruption has been significant and abrupt. Suddenly, we no longer have the same level of stability in our lives and the need for structure, safety, and predictability has been jeopardized. Everyone has experienced some form of loss, and many are grieving.
Lately, while watching morning news, we hear the retellings of incidents involving explosive anger where someone has violated another physically or verbally. Often, we are seeing these acts in public arenas, on display for anyone to witness, which is telling that we are not coping well as a society. So, what is happening? Has the world gone crazy? Are these the preludes to a hostile, post-apocalyptic dystopia? Likely, no. It’s more probable that people are misplacing or “displacing” their frustrations. Displaced anger or aggression occurs when one is unable to express anger towards the source of provocation so instead, the individual acts out towards others. Often, we are not able to direct our anger toward the actual cause of our fears and frustrations. For example, it would be of no use to air our grievances to the virus itself and we are also unlikely to get our desired response from people who have direct influence over our day to day struggles. So, then many of us are left fearful, anxious, grieving, and frustrated with no say or control over what happens next.
While it’s easy to focus our attention on our lack of control, doing so will only increase these feelings of frustration and helplessness. Despite current limitations, there is still much we have influence on in our lives today. We can choose what type of activities we engage in throughout the day, our diet, exercise, and our sleep hygiene regimen. We have influence over our thoughts and mindset, whether we focus on the negative or we see the positive in situations. We can control what we are watching on television and social media or listening to on the radio or podcasts, all of which impact our outlook and perspective. Those choices effect how we feel and in turn how we cope with our stress.
Even the most Zen of us will displace our anger onto innocent bystanders from time to time. After all, we are human. In these moments, when you feel yourself becoming easily agitated or triggered, take a second, breathe, and identify the real cause of your anger by asking yourself, “What’s really bothering me? Does this make sense?” and even, “Does my emotional reaction match the situation?” Note that if it is something you cannot change, there are still things about the situation or in your life that you do have influence over. Exercise positive self-care practices such as physical activity, being outdoors, reading, listening to music, eating a healthy diet, guided meditations, deep breathing and other stress reducing techniques. These can be thought of as preventative activities to increase your threshold for stress and strengthen emotional resiliency. Be mindful of when you have reached your limit and need to seek additional help or support. Lastly, always remember to T.H.I.N.K. before you speak. Is it true? Is it helpful? Is it inspiring? Is it necessary? Is it kind? Choose to be kind.
Andrea Kellman, MS, LPC who provides therapy, marriage, and family counseling services in our Greensburg counseling center.Learn More