How To Feel More In Control
By Erica Marriaga, MSW, LCSW
There has been an increase in aggression and anger, fueled by COVID-19, opposing viewpoints, and the world’s current state of affairs. There are many thoughts, emotions, and opinions circulating through social media and technology, creating a breeding ground for frustration and anger.
What Is Anger?
Let’s talk about anger!
Anger is a universal emotion. Regardless of age, gender, race, language spoken, country born, etc. we can all relate to one another when we experience anger. Based on facial expressions, tone of voice, and body posture, anger communicates information.
According to the American Psychological Association, “Anger is an emotion characterized by antagonism toward someone or something you feel has deliberately done you wrong.”
Anger is also a secondary emotion. Typically, there are underlying emotions, such as anxiety, fear, worry, hurt, or sadness. Because we tend to avoid the feelings that cause us to feel inferior or vulnerable in front of others, it is easier to express anger.
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What stuck out to you after watching this video? How are you able to tell that the character was angry? Was it the grimace on his face, or the screaming and yelling? What about when Riley slammed her hand on the table and used the word stupid? Do you think there might be any sadness or anxiety peaking through, even though anger stood out?
Although consequences of acting on your anger might be negative, anger can be a helpful emotion. It can allow the release of negative feelings while also communicating to yourself and others about your needs. The more you know about how you respond to anger, the easier it will be to notice it, and make changes to respond appropriately.
- Can manifest as a feeling or as a reaction to an internal or external trigger
- May cause us to say hurtful things to people we care about
- May give us the urge to cry, depending on your personality
- Can impact our physical health, such as increasing blood pressure
Anger Management Techniques
Check the facts to keep your cool
It is easy to become frustrated and angry when we are focused on a situation, person, or event that took place. Once emotions are included in our perception, it becomes more difficult to remain calm.
If this is a problem-area for you, try focusing on the facts of the matter. Changing beliefs and assumptions about a situation to fit the facts can help to change your emotional reactions.
Open communication to avoid misunderstandings
It is helpful to focus on your tone of voice, body language, and facial expressions. These are all nonverbal styles of communication. Use “I” statements to prevent the other person from feeling defensive.
Active listening allows you to hear what the other person is saying. You can repeat what you heard back to your conversation partner to be positive that there is no misinterpretation.
It is best to step away from the situation if it becomes unproductive and emotions are escalating rather than deescalating.
Use relaxation techniques to calm yourself down
Anger increases body temperature, leading to sweating, rapid heartbeat, and feeling flushed. These physical symptoms often persist after the situation that caused them has ended. Sometimes it is necessary to use a relaxation technique to calm your body so that your emotions can follow.
For some, writing in a journal or coloring can be a useful relaxation tool. For others, deep breathing, listening to calming music, or throwing ice allows a release of emotions. Intense exercise is also a method in which you can jog or do jumping jacks, for example, while pushing emotions out of the body.
Reach Out to a Counselor to Help Promote Well-Being
As always, if you find yourself struggling in these areas, do not hesitate to reach out for help. A licensed therapist or counselor can empower you to be your best self!
Erica Marriaga is a proud fur-mama of her one-eyed rescue dog, Toby and her new puppy Tucker. She loves to spend time with her husband and bond with her family, nieces, and nephews. Erica is passionate and enthusiastic about her role as a therapist. EWC has locations in Manalapan and Shrewsbury, NJ, and accepts a variety of insurances.
Check out Erica’s professional bio here!
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