Understanding the Psychology behind Anger Management

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"Understanding the Psychology behind Anger Management"
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It doesn't have to be that way! You know the feeling, when it all builds up and gets to much and you explode in a fury of flying fists, or a torrent of verbal abuse or even letting the burning anger out in the most vicious and lonely way in a quiet corner.

A person who does do this, who explodes with rage and who feeds on expressing rage in reaction to strong emotions such fear or shame, may be termed a rageaholic. These people are addicted to this rage the same as any other addict is addicted to their actions or the causes of them. Rageaholics can be addicted to neuro-chemical reaction in brain which may make them surpass any building up anger, causing them to live on a knife edge until they snap and let it out in one nasty explosion, giving their brain that next vital fix. The loss of control for these people is addictive and the more often they allow themselves to be angry and rage, the more they will need to continue doing so.

Psychology and evolved so that these people can see registered psychologists to learn techniques to control there anger, the same as all other addicts and can with help control their addiction if they wish to enough.

These people have become the stereotypes of people we label as needing 'anger management'. This however is not the case, we have all been in situations were we have felt our blood boil and have had to calm ourselves down and stop this anger escaping. Consider you are a footballer, playing on a yellow card, with the crowd chanting insults, or at work your boss has just shot down your latest proposal, calling your work a joke that's worth less that what's on the bottom of his shoe! How do you control your anger then?

We have all at some point let our anger out though, all be it through may vastly different ways and it doesn't have to be like that. The psychology of anger management is ever changing, developing new strategies behind anger management that can be uses by the everyday person in any job or situation, not just for the rageaholic's among us. The first step you need to take towards control your anger is to realise that you are angry and that this is normal. Unless you do this you will never be able to implement any routine designed to release your anger. You may then take simple steps, such as breathing more deeply and thinking positive thoughts. As simple as these are they can be effective at stopping you for realising this anger in an inappropriate way, both because they take your mind partially off the immediate problem and because of the physiological changes that they promote.

Techniques such as progressive muscular relaxation can also be used to release anger, tension and relax the overworking mind. Progressive relaxation techniques were first developed by Edmund Jacobson (1938), and initially involves the user to follow instructions designed to relax all muscles in your body. The instructions guide you through each of the 12 muscle groups, instructing you to tense the muscle group for approximately 5-7 seconds and then relax it for 20-30 seconds, with the whole session taking between 15-20 minuets. With practice it is possible to follow the progressive muscular relaxation procedure without tensing the muscles, learning just to relax each muscle in turn. As muscles tense with anger this is an effective way of releasing this stress, anger and anxiety from the body leaving you relaxed and calm.

In many instances it is simply not practical to spend this long to make your mind and body at peace. It is not recommended to sit at your office desk for an extra quarter of an hour completing this programme, to the visible eye doing nothing, when your boss is already on the war path for you, and a footballer certainly cant do this in the middle of a game! In these instances a quicker method such as the neck and shoulder check could be completed on the move. This would involve in turn relaxing just the neck and shoulder muscles. It has been shown that these areas can carry the excess tension when a person is anxious or angry, so when they are relaxed, the relaxation can spread thought the body, also helping to relax the mind.

Other psychological techniques such as imagery could be used in this way. Imagery involves taking time out to let your mind picture yourself in your favourite and most relaxing place, with the people you feel good around. It is important that you imagine every aspect of your desired situation, and stimulate each of your senses to make this work. If you wished you could think of yourself at the beach, picturing the sea in front of you, hearing the sound of the waves crashing and the seagulls squaring overhead as they circle on the hunt of a new tourist to pester for food. Feeling the sand warming the souls of your feet as your feet sink into it, and tasting the salt in the sea air. Imagine yourself smelling the fresh burgers being cooked in the portable caf behind you, the one in which coffees always cost one pound too much. When done properly this should be enough to lower your heartbeat, relax your muscles and release pent up anger in even the most hardened of people.

Although everybody has there own way of controlling their anger techniques for controlling anger, psychology has provided many more to help you improve your ability. The ones mentioned here are just a few, others include simple things like wearing an elastic band around your wrist and flicking it as you feel you become angry, teaching yourself to associate pain with anger and hopefully dulling your tendency to react in this way to uncontrollable situations. Even self-hypnosis for those with more time can be used to control anger, but any psychologist could help you identify more methods, as can the Internet and any of the many anger management books. If mental techniques are not for you, could always just go to the gym and lift some insanely heavy weight above your head, as this seems to be the most common and accepted anger releasing method in today's society.

More about this author: Mark Thomas

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