Developing new skills to manage anger and channel them constructively
Are you angry?
Anger can be a very difficult emotion to feel and process, as it is often associated with aggression, which can make anger a difficult emotion for many people to feel and express. Nobody wants to wear the label of being an ‘angry’ person, yet avoiding and suppressing anger can lead to physical, mental, and physiological illness over time. Anger may be the manifestation of other emotions, like sadness or shame, or even the repercussion of undiagnosed mental health issues, like depression or anxiety.
Anger isn’t all bad, and when channeled in constructive ways, can be a motivating and productive emotion. However, unaddressed anger that causes you to combust, or lose your temper with people you care for or work with, can wreak havoc in your life. When left unchecked, your anger may estrange those who care the most about you, as well as disenfranchise employees, colleagues, friends, and family.
Controlling anger is more than a conscious effort, as anger impacts not only your emotions, but your bodily and mental health. Recognizing how and why your anger starts, and controlling your response are two vital skill sets in managing anger. Anger management counseling involves a mind-body level intervention, but to be successful it must also touch your relationships and how you live your life.
Anger is a natural feeling, and learning to tolerate and harness it is essential to health and personal wellbeing. However, working compassionately with this deep emotion can lead to growth in other areas of your life as well.
Dr. Wu integrates a mind-body learning approach to the therapeutic strategy of helping clients learn how to control anger.
How to Deal with Anger: Therapeutic Goals and Skills Development in Anger Management Counseling
Mindfulness-based therapy is particularly helpful at managing the strong reactivity- and defense-based nature of anger. Mindfulness can develop skills to focus your energy on slowing down, and the positive psychology inherent to mindfulness is also a powerful antidote to mismanaged anger.
Skills and goals that can be developed in therapy for dealing with anger include:
- Developing ways to manage and tolerate feelings and emotions, rather than be driven and controlled by your anger.
- Differentiating between constructive and destructive ways of managing and expressing anger.
- Working through pain and anger to learn the triggers and context that anger most often occurs.
- Learning to stop transferring and placing blame on others when you become angry.
- Learning cues to recognize the onset of anger to implement healthy coping strategies before anger can accelerate.
- Developing emotional intelligence via the impact of your anger on others.
- Using signs of anger arousal to expand awareness rather than reactivity.