Managing Anger

Everyone experiences negative emotions such as anger, hurt, and feelings of betrayal, but most people have a difficult time expressing negative feelings--pariticularly anger--to others. Learning to manage this emotion can be rewarding. In some cases anger is a primary response to a negative situation; in others it may mask other feelings that you find even more difficult to tolerate, such as shame.

In the latter case, learning to express anger constructively will help you uncover other important emotions as well. Freeing anger will allow you to feel more energized. You may have trouble showing anger in appropriate ways because our society does not encourage such expressions.

Suppressing anger is ultimately destructive to your well-being--it can even make you physically sick. Due to the connection between mind and body, disease and anger go hand in hand. Truly happy people have far fewer diseases than unhappy people. Therefore, you need to think about the ways that your anger affects you physically. One way or another, you must learn to validate your anger and express it properly.

Think of something that angers you. Write it down. Does this anger motivate you to change the situation in a constructive way? If you are suppressing your anger, think of an appropriate way to express it instead. What first step can you take? Use the following questions as guidelines to help you work through your thoughts.

Why do you get angry? You may experience anger for a variety of reasons. Some examples include:

How does your anger manifest itself? Rage and aggression; repression, suppression, and sublimation; disease; passive-aggressive behavior? Have you found healthy ways to espress hurt and anger?

From this point on, resolve to deal with your anger in healthy ways that will lead to positive changes. Here's how you can start this process of self-expression. Be honest with yourself. Seek support. Direct your anger. Think first. Act, don't react. Give up perfectionism. Learn new responses. Take charge of your life.

By mastering the powerful energy of anger and putting it to work for you, you can achieve almost anything you want in life--including better health, both mentally and physically.

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