Anger Management Education, founded in 1994, provided education and psychotherapy to individuals to help make sense of and manage anger in their everyday lives (Anger Management 1). Anger remains a healthy emotion when expressed appropriately, although devastating effects may still exist. Anger lies at the root of many personal and social problems, such as child abuse, domestic and community violence, physical and verbal abuse. Anger also affects our physical health, by contributing to headaches, migraines, severe gastrointestinal symptoms, hypertension, and coronary artery disease. Many of us do not have the knowledge or abilities required to express our anger as a healthy emotion. As a result, some of us store and suppress our anger, while others may express it, but in negative and unhealthy ways.
Doctors knew for a long time that adults who dealt with anger poorly, stand a higher chance to develop heart disease and high blood pressure problems (Leopold 2). About 20 percent of us express angry personalities, 20 percent fairly easygoing, and the remaining 60 percent of the population fall somewhere in the middle (Foltz-Gray 132). Harvard researchers found that those with higher levels of anger stood at an increased risk of heart attack (133). In a study published in Health Psychology in 1999, heart-attack patients in Canada who received anger management training made significant reduction in blood pressure levels and needed less follow up care compared with the control group (134). According to Jerry Deftenbacher, “some people really are more hotheaded’ than other’s are, they get angry more easily and more intensely than the average person does” (Controlling Anger 2). Research also found that family background tends to play an important role. Typically, easily angered people come from disruptive and chaotic families, not skilled in emotional communications (2). Psychologists found that “letting it rip” with anger actually escalates frustration and aggression and does nothing to help you resolve the situation (2). Anger is often described as “an emotional state that varies in intensity from mild irritation to intense fury and rage” (1).
These days we’re taught to express anxiety, depression, or other emotions but not to express actual anger (Controlling Anger 2). Newborn children showing signs of irritability and touchiness clearly exhibit angry emotions. The child’s genetic makeup, theoretically, contributes to these characteristics (2). Pain, fatigue, poor sleep, emotional stress, alcohol and drug use, and mood disorders, all sociacultural problems, lower your threshold for angry feelings and behavior (Scheingold 1). Anger can destroy relationships too. When we live in close contact with someone, our personalities, priorities, interests, and ways of doing things tend to clash (Anger Management Techniques 1). Facial expressions, tone of voice, body postures and gestures not only communicate information about the emotion someone experiences, they also influence others behaviors and can make that person even more frustrated and upset (Bernstein 377). Angry people tend to distrust other people’s motives. Sometimes our anger, highly appropriate and protective, helps us to assert boundaries with others. At other times our anger, out of proportion to the event or experience, triggers an outburst of negative emotions (Saltarelli 1).
Healthy and unhealthy ways exist to express your angry feelings; anger management professionals say a few key techniques make a big difference (Leopold 2). People use a variety of both conscious and unconscious processes to deal with their angry feelings. The three approaches include: expressing, suppressing, and calming. Expressing your angry feelings in an assertive- non aggressive manner is the healthiest way to express anger (Controlling Anger 1). Others try suppressing anger and then converting and redirecting it; this happens when you hold in your anger, stop thinking about it and focus on something positive (1). Unexpressed anger can lead to pathological expressions of anger, such as passive-aggressive behavior or a personality that seems perpetually cynical and hostile (2). One treatment approach, Novaco’s anger control model, aims to change an individual’s cognitions or self talk and addresses the affective component of family conflict (Stern 3). Psychotherapists specializing in anger management, teach you relaxation techniques like yoga, meditation and deep breathing, and offer ways to view provoking situations in a calmer light (Foltz-Gray 135). Experts say that you may not always have a choice about how you feel, but you do have a choice about how you choose to react (Leopold 2).
Anger surrounds us everyday whether at work, school, or enjoying some free time alone. Hollywood producers know that all Americans can identify with these feelings. “Anger Management”, a movie starring Adam Sandler and Jack Nicholson, clearly portray both the ups and downs of someone with an angry personality (Corliss 73). The common theme in anger management programs is to control inappropriate or socially unacceptable behavior. Feeling frustrated or misunderstood is a normal reaction when experiencing anger. Getting too angry, too often can negatively harm your health. People easily angered generally have what some psychologists call a low tolerance for frustration, meaning simply that they feel they should not have to experience frustration, inconvenience, or annoyance of any kind (Leopold 2). Using anger management tools enhances your self-esteem. The basic process of dealing with angry feelings includes accepting our anger, finding the true source of the problem, learning how to express our feelings about that source in healthy, respectful ways, and then enjoying the freedom that follows (Saltarelli 2).