Imagine that someone that you made plans with changed things on you at the last minute. Do you sigh heavily in frustration but go along with the new plan, refuse to change from your original plan, or yell at them about how inconsiderate they are of your time? How you respond shows how well or poorly you control your emotions.
Anger is a natural human emotion, so having feelings of anger is not a problem. When anger affects your well-being or those around you, it can be a sign that your outward expressions of anger have become a problem.
5 Signs You Have An Anger Problem
1. Your anger concerns you
If you have concerns over how often you get angry, the inability to keep control over your anger, how long you stay angry or your behavior that corresponds to the anger, it’s a sign that you have an anger problem. Your feelings about your emotions are a significant clue to your anger being something that you need to take control of before it gets worse.
In one study, anger predicted substance use for women, and impulsivity was more strongly associated with delinquency for males. Lack of control over strong emotions can lead to other out of control behavior.
2. Your anger causes feelings of fear in others
If you are prone to overreacting when you are angry, it is possible that others have been avoiding you. You can see signs of fear on others by observing their body language. When you do finally see them, their body language might seem defensive, for example, their arms are crossed over their chest and they stand with one foot turned toward the door. They may avoid eye contact or seem to apologize excessively.
On the other hand, if you have an anger problem, it is unlikely that you would notice how your behavior affects others. You may have become blind to the impact that your actions have had on those closest to you. If you think that your anger may be affecting your relationships, it is a sign that it may be a problem.
3. You have anxiety about how you will react or feel depressed afterwards
You may have started to notice that you can’t predict how you will respond when someone tells you something that you don’t want to hear. If you are worried that you will overreact at any given moment when you interact with someone, it is likely that you have an anger problem.
You may also feel depressed about your actions after a bout of anger. If your emotions swing to sadness, you are more prone to harm yourself with other out of control behavior such as self-medication with alcohol or drugs. Seek the help of a licensed counselor to work through your emotional distress if it is concerning to you.
4. It takes you more than an hour to calm down
Everyone gets upset but if you have trouble releasing your angry feelings, it could be a good reason to be concerned. It can be unhealthy for you to have these feelings over a long period of time.
When you get angry, your blood pressure increases and your heart rate speeds up. You might sweat and you have a rush of adrenaline. A prolonged period of heightened arousal from anger is similar to the effects of stress on your body.
After a bout of anger, your physiological stress levels should return to normal within a fairly short amount of time. You should be able to feel calm and relaxed again within 30 minutes following the angry episode.
You should also be able to move your thoughts on to focusing on a solution to whatever upset you. If you are having trouble with either your physiological anger response or your mental thoughts returning to a calm state, it is a sign that you have an anger problem.
5. You have violent thoughts or actions
Throwing things, kicking or overturning furniture, slamming doors, or other violent actions are signs of a problem. Violence toward objects can become violence toward others. Seek help before you cause harm to another person.
Similarly, violent thoughts about causing harm to others are concerning. If you have thoughts about hurting people, it can be frightening to confront those thoughts. You can text the Crisis Text Line at 741741 if you are experiencing an emotional crisis and need help. You can also look up a licensed counselor in your area here to work through your feelings of anger.
Cognitive-Behavior Therapy has been shown to help reduce anger for 76% of those who tried the therapy. The therapy uses techniques of relaxation and restructuring thoughts and focusing on solving problems as well as learning to prepare for stressful situations.
Help for an Anger Problem
How we respond to being upset is something that we learn as children by watching those around us. We can unlearn those behaviors and learn to replace acting out with more productive actions instead. A trained therapist is the best option for you if you have unsuccessfully tried to make changes on your own.
On your own you can try the following coping strategies:
* Acknowledge your anger and give voice to it by saying ‘I’m really upset right now.’
* Breathe deeply for at least a minute. Try to feel your pulse and slow it down by slowly breathing. If someone is with you, say ‘Give me a minute to try to calm down, please.’
* Try to calmly state your thoughts and feelings. Whether you’re alone or not, say what is causing you to feel this way. You might say ‘The traffic is really stressing me out and I need to be at the office in 15 minutes.’
* Identify what you can control and focus on that. For example, you might say ‘Although traffic is out of my control, I can turn on some relaxing music and enjoy myself while I wait this out.’
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* Change your expectations for next time. For example, next time you can expect that it will take you an hour drive with traffic rather than hoping for a 30 minute commute