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Mind Matters | Anger issues

Mind Matters | Anger issues

I am a 26-year-old student with anger issues. I have no control whatsoever over my anger. Minor inconveniences irritate me and on a bad day, this irritation morphs into a full-blown violent episode: I bang doors and throw stuff. Sometimes, I don’t remember what I did in a fit of rage. I feel extremely guilty after my outburst, but I cannot help myself. How can I prevent something like this from happening in the future when I cannot even remember what I did? My behavior is pushing my friends and well-wishers away. Please help. —An annoyed fellow

Answered by Alisha Humagain, Psychological Counselor, Happy Minds 

Anger is a built-in part of the body’s “fight, flight, or freeze” system, which helps protect us from threats or dangers. Everyone occasionally feels angry, which is common. But if you are unable to control your anger, it can create issues in your relationship with family and peers.

It is important to know that anger and aggression are different things. Anger is an emotion but aggression is related to how a person behaves. Not everyone with anger will show aggression, and not everyone who acts aggressively is angry.

Everyone experiences anger, but there are ways to control it so that it doesn’t spiral out of control. Being aware of the changes in your body, emotions, and behaviors caused by anger can help you decide how you want to react to a situation before you act. Walking away or even pausing for a minute before saying something or reacting can help you get a hold of yourself. 

When you feel like you’re starting to get mad, start counting to 10 slowly. It will help you reduce the intensity of the anger. Releasing tension from your body also helps you calm down. To release tension, drop your shoulders, unclench your jaws, and stretch your body. 

When you are angry it is also common to jump to conclusions. If you find yourself in an argument with someone, take some time to listen and pause before responding. You also have to remember that sometimes when our emotions are running high a situation might seem much worse than it really is. Writing down all your negative thoughts and feelings in a journal can also help you release the anger you might be holding inside. You can also look for other distractions such as listening to music, taking a walk, or even just taking a shower. Diverting your negative thoughts will help you realize that the thing making you angry is not a big deal. 

You can also try using relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing and progressive muscle relaxation to mitigate anger. If you are unable to control your aggressive tendencies even after trying these strategies, it is best to seek professional help. And remember, addressing the problem is the first step towards healing.