Is It Really Worth Getting Angry About?

Anger problems have less to do with what happens to you than how you interpret and think about what happened.

Posted by Avail Content
1 year ago

You may think that external things—the insensitive actions of other people, for example, or frustrating situations—are what cause your anger. But anger problems have less to do with what happens to you than how you interpret and think about what happened.

If you’ve decided that the situation is worth getting angry about and there’s something you can do to make it better, the key is to express your feelings in a healthy way. When communicated respectfully and channeled effectively, anger can be a tremendous source of energy and inspiration for change.

  • Pinpoint what you’re really angry about. If you find your irritation and anger rapidly rising, ask yourself, “What am I really angry about?” Identifying the real source of frustration will help you communicate your anger better, take constructive action and work towards a resolution.
  • Make the relationship your priority. Maintaining and strengthening the relationship, rather than “winning” the argument, should always be your first priority. Be respectful of the other person and their viewpoint.
  • Focus on the present. Once you are in the heat of arguing, it’s easy to start throwing past grievances into the mix. Rather than looking to the past and assigning blame, focus on what you can do in the present to solve the problem.
  • Choose your battles. Conflicts can be draining, so it’s important to consider whether the issue is really worth your time and energy. If you pick your battles rather than fight over every little thing, others will take you more seriously when you are upset.

Common negative thinking patterns that trigger and fuel anger include:

  • Overgeneralizing. For example, “You ALWAYS interrupt me. You NEVER consider my needs. EVERYONE disrespects me. I NEVER get the credit I deserve.”
  • Obsessing on “shoulds” and “musts.” Having a rigid view of the way things should or must be and getting angry when reality doesn’t line up with this vision.
  • Mind reading and jumping to conclusions. Assuming you “know” what someone else is thinking or feeling—that they intentionally upset you, ignored your wishes or disrespected you.
  • Collecting straws. Looking for things to get upset about, usually while overlooking or blowing past anything positive. Letting these small irritations build and build until you reach the “final straw” and explode, often over something relatively minor.
  • Blaming. When anything bad happens or something goes wrong, it’s always someone else’s fault. You blame others for the things that happen to you rather than taking responsibility for your own life.

Quick tips for cooling down

  • Focus on the physical sensations of anger. While it may seem counterintuitive, tuning into the way your body feels when you’re angry often lessens the emotional intensity of your anger.
  • Take some deep breaths. Deep, slow breathing helps counteract rising tension. The key is to breathe deeply from the abdomen, getting as much fresh air as possible into your lungs.
  • Exercise. A brisk walk around the block is a great idea. It releases pent-up energy so you can approach the situation with a cooler head.
  • Use your senses. Take advantage of the relaxing power of your sense of sight, smell, hearing, touch, and taste. You might try listening to music or picturing yourself in a favorite place.
  • Stretch or massage areas of tension. Roll your shoulders if you are tensing them, for example, or gently massage your neck and scalp.
  • Slowly count to ten. Focus on the counting to let your rational mind catch up with your feelings. If you still feel out of control by the time you reach ten, start counting again.

If the situation is worth getting angry about….

If you’ve decided that the situation is worth getting angry about and there’s something you can do to make it better, the key is to express your feelings in a healthy way. When communicated respectfully and channeled effectively, anger can be a tremendous source of energy and inspiration for change.

  • Pinpoint what you’re really angry about. If you find your irritation and anger rapidly rising, ask yourself, “What am I really angry about?” Identifying the real source of frustration will help you communicate your anger better, take constructive action and work towards a resolution.
  • Make the relationship your priority. Maintaining and strengthening the relationship, rather than “winning” the argument, should always be your first priority. Be respectful of the other person and their viewpoint.
  • Focus on the present. Once you are in the heat of arguing, it’s easy to start throwing past grievances into the mix. Rather than looking to the past and assigning blame, focus on what you can do in the present to solve the problem.
  • Choose your battles. Conflicts can be draining, so it’s important to consider whether the issue is really worth your time and energy. If you pick your battles rather than fight over every little thing, others will take you more seriously when you are upset.
  • Be willing to forgive. Resolving conflict is impossible if you’re unwilling or unable to forgive. Resolution lies in releasing the urge to punish, which can never compensate for our losses and only adds to our injury by further depleting and draining our lives.
  • Know when to let something go. If you can’t come to an agreement, agree to disagree. It takes two people to keep an argument going. If a conflict is going nowhere, you can choose to disengage and move on.
References:
  • A Strategy for controlling your anger. American Psychological Association. Retrieved October 4, 2018 from: http://www.apa.org/helpcenter/controlling-anger.aspx.
  • Controlling anger before it controls you. Retrieved October 4, 2018 from: American Psychological Association. http://www.apa.org/topics/anger/control.aspx.
  • Fabian P, et al. (2016). Does exercise reduce aggressive feelings? An experiment examining the influence of movement type and social task conditions on testiness and anger reduction. Perceptual and Motor Skills. 122:971.
  • Mehta M, et al., eds. (2015). Anger management. In: A Practical Approach to Cognitive Behaviour Therapy for Adolescents. New Delhi, India: Springer India.
  • Pish S, et al. (2016). Anger management program participants gain behavioral changes in interpersonal relationships. Journal of Extension. 55. Retrieved October 3, 2018 from: https://joe.org/joe/2016october/a3.php.

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Is It Really Worth Getting Angry About?

Last updated 1 year ago

You may think that external things—the insensitive actions of other people, for example, or frustrating situations—are what cause your anger. But anger problems have less to do with what happens to you than how you interpret and think about what happened.

If you’ve decided that the situation is worth getting angry about and there’s something you can do to make it better, the key is to express your feelings in a healthy way. When communicated respectfully and channeled effectively, anger can be a tremendous source of energy and inspiration for change.

  • Pinpoint what you’re really angry about. If you find your irritation and anger rapidly rising, ask yourself, “What am I really angry about?” Identifying the real source of frustration will help you communicate your anger better, take constructive action and work towards a resolution.
  • Make the relationship your priority. Maintaining and strengthening the relationship, rather than “winning” the argument, should always be your first priority. Be respectful of the other person and their viewpoint.
  • Focus on the present. Once you are in the heat of arguing, it’s easy to start throwing past grievances into the mix. Rather than looking to the past and assigning blame, focus on what you can do in the present to solve the problem.
  • Choose your battles. Conflicts can be draining, so it’s important to consider whether the issue is really worth your time and energy. If you pick your battles rather than fight over every little thing, others will take you more seriously when you are upset.

Common negative thinking patterns that trigger and fuel anger include:

  • Overgeneralizing. For example, “You ALWAYS interrupt me. You NEVER consider my needs. EVERYONE disrespects me. I NEVER get the credit I deserve.”
  • Obsessing on “shoulds” and “musts.” Having a rigid view of the way things should or must be and getting angry when reality doesn’t line up with this vision.
  • Mind reading and jumping to conclusions. Assuming you “know” what someone else is thinking or feeling—that they intentionally upset you, ignored your wishes or disrespected you.
  • Collecting straws. Looking for things to get upset about, usually while overlooking or blowing past anything positive. Letting these small irritations build and build until you reach the “final straw” and explode, often over something relatively minor.
  • Blaming. When anything bad happens or something goes wrong, it’s always someone else’s fault. You blame others for the things that happen to you rather than taking responsibility for your own life.

Quick tips for cooling down

  • Focus on the physical sensations of anger. While it may seem counterintuitive, tuning into the way your body feels when you’re angry often lessens the emotional intensity of your anger.
  • Take some deep breaths. Deep, slow breathing helps counteract rising tension. The key is to breathe deeply from the abdomen, getting as much fresh air as possible into your lungs.
  • Exercise. A brisk walk around the block is a great idea. It releases pent-up energy so you can approach the situation with a cooler head.
  • Use your senses. Take advantage of the relaxing power of your sense of sight, smell, hearing, touch, and taste. You might try listening to music or picturing yourself in a favorite place.
  • Stretch or massage areas of tension. Roll your shoulders if you are tensing them, for example, or gently massage your neck and scalp.
  • Slowly count to ten. Focus on the counting to let your rational mind catch up with your feelings. If you still feel out of control by the time you reach ten, start counting again.

If the situation is worth getting angry about….

If you’ve decided that the situation is worth getting angry about and there’s something you can do to make it better, the key is to express your feelings in a healthy way. When communicated respectfully and channeled effectively, anger can be a tremendous source of energy and inspiration for change.

  • Pinpoint what you’re really angry about. If you find your irritation and anger rapidly rising, ask yourself, “What am I really angry about?” Identifying the real source of frustration will help you communicate your anger better, take constructive action and work towards a resolution.
  • Make the relationship your priority. Maintaining and strengthening the relationship, rather than “winning” the argument, should always be your first priority. Be respectful of the other person and their viewpoint.
  • Focus on the present. Once you are in the heat of arguing, it’s easy to start throwing past grievances into the mix. Rather than looking to the past and assigning blame, focus on what you can do in the present to solve the problem.
  • Choose your battles. Conflicts can be draining, so it’s important to consider whether the issue is really worth your time and energy. If you pick your battles rather than fight over every little thing, others will take you more seriously when you are upset.
  • Be willing to forgive. Resolving conflict is impossible if you’re unwilling or unable to forgive. Resolution lies in releasing the urge to punish, which can never compensate for our losses and only adds to our injury by further depleting and draining our lives.
  • Know when to let something go. If you can’t come to an agreement, agree to disagree. It takes two people to keep an argument going. If a conflict is going nowhere, you can choose to disengage and move on.
References:
  • A Strategy for controlling your anger. American Psychological Association. Retrieved October 4, 2018 from: http://www.apa.org/helpcenter/controlling-anger.aspx.
  • Controlling anger before it controls you. Retrieved October 4, 2018 from: American Psychological Association. http://www.apa.org/topics/anger/control.aspx.
  • Fabian P, et al. (2016). Does exercise reduce aggressive feelings? An experiment examining the influence of movement type and social task conditions on testiness and anger reduction. Perceptual and Motor Skills. 122:971.
  • Mehta M, et al., eds. (2015). Anger management. In: A Practical Approach to Cognitive Behaviour Therapy for Adolescents. New Delhi, India: Springer India.
  • Pish S, et al. (2016). Anger management program participants gain behavioral changes in interpersonal relationships. Journal of Extension. 55. Retrieved October 3, 2018 from: https://joe.org/joe/2016october/a3.php.