Understanding what causes anger and aggression, and some self-help tips and advice in helping you control your own anger.
WHAT IS ANGER?
Anger is a normal, healthy, natural emotion evolved as a way of surviving and protecting yourself from what is considered a wrong-doing. But anger can be a problem if it not kept under control and can cause serious problems in your life, in your relationships, and can be very damaging to the people around you.
Anger is not a simple, solitary trait; is it often complex and involves a dynamic and complex range of expressions and emotions. Anger and aggression is often a learned behaviour too; for example we have observed the aggressive behaviours of our parents when growing up, or aggression within our peer group, or violence within society, or violence in the workplace, and then copying this behaviour. Feelings of anger and lashing out either physically or verbally can be linked to many different causes including stress, depression, anxiety, addictions, and other mental health issues.
We all get angry when we see an injustice, and arises depending upon how we interpret and react to certain situations. People interpret situations differently; a situation that makes one person feel very angry may not make someone else feel any anger at all. Everyone has their own triggers for what makes them angry, but some common ones include:
We can also feel irritated by other people’s beliefs, opinions and actions, and hence anger can affect our ability to communicate effectively - making us more likely to say or do unreasonable or irrational things. How a person interprets and reacts to a certain situation can depend on lots of factors including:
Whether your anger is about something that happened in the past, or something that's happening in the present, thinking about how and why you interpret and react to situations can help you learn how to cope with, and control your anger. For example if you have not been able to express your anger in the past with a particular experience including physical or emotional abuse, trauma or bullying, you might still be coping with those angry feelings now. Or, if you're dealing with a lot of problems in your life at present that seem overwhelming, you might find yourself feeling angry at things and people more easily than usual. Anger can also be a part of grief; if you've lost someone important to you, it can be hugely difficult to cope with all the conflicting things you might be feeling.
SELF-HELP TIPS TO CONTROLLING YOUR OWN ANGER
Everyone has a responsibility to control their anger and there are a number of things you can do to help with this. Firstly recognise your anger signs and then try to realise what is causing you to feel angry and/or what are the trigger mechanisms, and then put them into two categories; a) those that can be immediately dealt with (for example someone's behaviour) and b) those that will take longer to control (for example the current situation you are in). Once you have identified and categorised what is causing your anger, you can then work at changing your behaviour and/or environment.
Other things that you can do to help control your anger are: