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Devils Lake Journal - Devils Lake, ND
  • HealthStyle: Understanding anger

  • Everybody gets angry sometimes, but it can create problems if it is too frequent or too intense. Sometimes it just seems to sneak up on you. Much of your ongoing anger could be an accumulation of situations over time that seem unfair or unacceptable. You did not yell or fight. That does not mean that you managed you anger....
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  • Everybody gets angry sometimes, but it can create problems if it is too frequent or too intense. Sometimes it just seems to sneak up on you. Much of your ongoing anger could be an accumulation of situations over time that seem unfair or unacceptable. You did not yell or fight. That does not mean that you managed you anger. You may have stored it.  These minor but frequent annoyances can accumulate until you explode over some minor matter later.
    Not only does it help to be aware of our anger but also understand the source. People often say that situations made them mad. They suggest that anger is controlled by someone else. In fact your anger comes from you. Sure, there are some things that make most people angry, but  anger begins with a situation that triggers your self-talk. When something happens you may say, "People should not treat me that way. He should not act like that. She disrespected me." This is one of the common triggers of anger. You expect people to act in certain ways and get angry when they do not. You may use a lot of shoulds in your self-talk. You declare how people should act and the right to be upset if they do not. You could become even more indignant and angry as you repeat this conversation with yourself in your head. The second common trigger is that you may take the annoying and inconsiderate behavior of others personally. It feels as if they did it to you. You are personalizing the anger. In many cases you do not even know the person that offended or irritated you in some way. It just feels personal. This is especially true if you feel attacked or afraid of being injured such as in a near car accident.
    Managing anger means thinking instead of reacting. It does not mean to simply control our external reactions. It also means reducing the frequency and intensity of our anger feelings. You may need to challenge some basic assumptions that you have about life and learn to develop greater frustration tolerance. It does not mean accepting all bad behavior. You may need to practice assertiveness by standing up for yourself at times and calmly stating your position and what you are willing to do. Below are some anger prevention and management ideas you can use:
    • Practice relaxation strategies routinely to lower your arousal level.
    • Be aware of your inflammatory self-talk and change it to calming self-talk.
    • Be conscious of your anger triggers and learn to avoid them or respond more appropriately.
    • Do physical exercise to channel these strong feelings in positive ways.
    • Try to problem-solve and change the situations that you can control.
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  • Learn to use assertiveness training when it is appropriate.
  • Learn to accept what you cannot change.
    David Gannon, Ph.D., Psychological and Family Consultants, Canton, Ohio.