Sound Solutions #4
“We’ve all been placed in situations with family members, friends, or coworkers where we’ve shared our experiences and given advice only to have it fall on deaf ears. From my personal and professional life, I’ve learned that most people don’t heed “sound advice.” As a matter of fact, they aren’t even looking for us to tell them something. They just want talk and be heard. Therefore, my role in this quarterly comes with the following caveat: you are the expert and the authority on your situation. I am a conduit to help YOU uncover the answers that you already possess. The goal here is to promote richer dialogue. So, I wouldn’t define my responses as advice per se, rather respectful curiosity to assist with the process of personal discovery and more informed decision-making.” ~NIKKI, CSW
AM I ANGRY?
I have recently been told that I have anger management issues. However, I find myself to be a very patient person. I do get really angry sometimes, and when I do, I may slam a door or yell into a pillow or yell at the person I am upset with. But I’ve always felt like this was normal when people get angry. People get frustrated. How should I know if I have an anger management issue or not? Are there markers one should look out for? What are some healthier ways to deal my anger? ~Asha Blake, Marietta, GA
A major challenge for individuals with anger management issues are cognitions or negative thoughts, which cause a person to attribute unrealistic evaluations or judgments of a given circumstance. For example, sometimes people find themselves in a stressful condition or interaction with someone, and may feel out of control. Instead of expressing vulnerability or primary emotions such as sadness or fear, for instance, they express anger traits. Additionally, various negative and inaccurate thoughts about a situation or self tend to cause them to escalate and lash out verbally or physically.
Arousal control techniques really help when feeling angry, upset, or frustrated. People who have a low threshold for arousal control are not able to manage the presentation of anger, but they can learn to have more awareness and assume greater power over self. In order to partake in arousal control, a person has to retrain their level of body arousal. First, you should recognize your early triggers on cognitive and somatic levels. Then, try self-soothing techniques such as controlled breathing, meditation, or any relaxation method that will help you cool down. There are several reputable online resources for relaxation techniques. Next, challenge your thinking. Ask yourself questions like ‘Am I overacting?’ or search for other possible explanations. Furthermore, practicing assertiveness and expressing empathy are other important skills to have. Finally, explore the underlying causes of your anger or what brought you to a boiling point. These few considerations will help you on your journey to healthily manage anger.
Remember that everything we do takes time, so give yourself the space to practice all of the above steps. It’s a process, not an event!
In order to determine if you have an ‘anger management issue,’ I recommend that you contact a clinician. This person can provide you with an accurate assessment.
People can learn how to express vulnerability and anger. Once you acknowledge and take responsibility for emotions, you can begin to practice assessing situations more practically utilizing problem-solving skills and demonstrating healthy assertiveness.