Anger is a natural emotional state and is designed to help us stay alive. Anger sends signals to all parts of our body to help us fight. It energizes us and prepares us for action. Often, the perceived need to protect one-self comes from what amounts to psychological attacks from others.
Use Anger Wisely
When we feel energized by anger, it is smart for us to ask ourselves how we put his energy to its most productive use. As with the use of other forms of energy such as electricity, we want to use it efficiently, not wastefully.
Anger is Secondary
One of the most helpful things to remember about anger is that it is a secondary emotion. A primary feeling is what is felt immediately before we feel angry. We always feel something else first, even if we don’t notice it. We might feel afraid, attacked, offended, disrespected, forced, trapped, interrogated, or pressured. If any of these feelings are intense enough, they can lead to anger before we realize what we really felt!
Identify the Primary Emotion
An important point to remember about secondary feelings such as anger is that they do not identify the unmet emotional need. When all you can say is “I feel angry,” neither you nor any one else knows what would help you feel better. An amazingly simple, but effective, technique is to always identify the primary emotion.
Situations that Cause Anger Can Be Avoided
Here is an example. Assume someone wants us to do something we prefer not to do. At first we feel a little pressured but not enough to get angry. When they keep pushing us, we begin to get irritated. If they continue, we become “angry”.
Communicate Your Feelings
An effective way to avoid getting angry in many cases is simply to express your feeling before it has elevated to the point of anger. This helps keep the brain in balance and out of the more volatile mode where it has downshifted to a more primitive and physiological response.
George Anderson, MSW, BCD, CAMF, CEAP
Diplomate, American Association of Anger Management Providers
Anderson & Anderson®, The Trusted Name in Anger Management