Anger. Say it with me, anger; it is a real, natural emotion that can get a bad wrap. Each of us have the decision as to how we choose to cope with it when it arises. When left unaddressed, anger issues can fester becoming almost cancerous. It can beat the heck out of you from the inside out. Its impact on the mind and body can be visibly evident. How intense is that? The implications of anger are far and wide, but rewiring and readjusting is possible. Know the signs of anger and how to get healthy. Let’s do this!
Anger can be a wonderful thing when it comes to being passionate about disrespect to our beliefs, convictions. When we face injustice we get angry. Handled in a civil, articulate manner anger can convey passions that enlighten and empower. It can be a beautiful means to motivate others. Then, there is the irrational, emotionally impulsive anger that leaves room for physical or emotional infliction. This is the form of anger we are going to delve into.
Why do we get angry?
That’s a good question. Each of us has triggers. A trigger may be certain individuals, situations, circumstances or a million other things that can evoke a sense of irritation or displeasure. It may be connected to past experiences or their present emotional state.
But it is the toxic, kick your butt form of anger that is of concern. When we permit disagreements, negative interactions, unsettled hatred to simmer and fester something is bound to happen. It’s inevitable. It’s like when we boil a pot of water, put the lid on, crank the temperature to its highest setting and walk away. Come back in forty minutes. Now take the lid off. More than likely you’re going to get a face full of steam and possibly splattered with some scalding hot water. That suckers hot. Somebody gets burned. It’s the same for us when we let negative, simmering, unsettled emotions fester.
But here’s the deal: each of us has the decision and the ability to control our anger. We choose our outcome every single day. When we are accustomed to reacting, both physically and emotionally, it can become part of our ‘hard wiring’ and reacting any way else may feel unnatural.
The blame game….
There’s also many who have been raised in a household where toxic expression of anger was the norm. Screaming is communicating. Punching holes in the wall made it clear the discussion was over. Seething words spewed out of mouthes when disagreements occurred. Not the healthiest examples of healthy functioning, but here’s the deal: we all have to make a conscious decision at some point as to how we are going to react. There’s no more room to blame mom or dad at a certain age. It may be ‘in the blood,’ but that’s a lame cop out. Stand up, make a decision and go forward.
As parents or role models to teens it’s time to evaluate how we personally deal with anger. I encourage you not to be a hypocrite. There’s little merit in asking your teen to readjust their reactions and emotions when your sails need adjusting. But what can be conveyed is taking ownership of your own struggles. Admit it’s unhealthy. Put out there ways anger has impacted you over the years. You can work on things together. How cool is that?
Signs of anger and how to get healthy
- feeling like you have to walk on egg shells around the person all the time
- anger can appear out of nowhere, like flipping a light switch.
- has difficulty communicating without trying to provoke an argument or yelling.
- physical: pushing, punching, throwing, etc.
- short fuse, super impatient, self-control issues, impatient
- people avoid them
- blame game: not taking ownership
If two more more apply to you or your young person, it’s time to rock and roll. Nothing is irreversible unless we’re dead. There is always opportunity to move forward, grow and improve. But, it’s a choice. Where do we go from here? I’m super glad you asked!
Tips for tackling anger issues…..
- communicate: Part of the issue of unhealthy anger is due to lack of communication. It doesn’t have to be a weekly Oprah moment, but some form has to exist. Maybe it’s an outside counselor. It could be pairing up your young person with an adult mentor (older aunt, sibling, cousin, etc.).
- time-out: When they feel like they are about to say or do something irrational or potentially harmful they call for a time-out. They have an allotted time to chill in their room, in the front yard, etc. before resuming conversation or returning to whatever was taking place before stepping out.
- stress balls: A great way to release little spurts of anger is via stress balls. You can find them on Amazon or at Target or Walmart. When we begin to get angry nerves can twitch, hands can get fidgety and this is a great way to have something to squish that won’t lead to harming someone.
A little more out of the box….
- push-ups: When you wake up and before going to bed do as many push ups as you can (aim for 50). Do this daily. The key is to get endorphins flowing.
- punching bag: Get one. I recommend free standing bags. On a schedule use five times per week for a designated amount of time (go for 5 straight minutes). Be sure to use gloves.
- martial arts: Discipline combined with physical demand….boom! (Karate, Aikido, Karate, Kickboxing, wrestling, boxing, Taekwondo, Jiu Jitsu)
- life altering programs: get them plugged into a juniors rangers program (teen police camp training…very cool!), JROTC(jr. reserve officer training corps). There may be a JROTC military branch in your local high school.
- projects: get them plugged into a youth group, locate service projects (area churches, temples, hospitals, food pantries, etc. that have outreach programs).
Anger is real; how we handle it is a whole different story. Empower yourself and your loved ones that they can rock out without emotionally or physically hurting themselves or someone else. Every day brings a new opportunity for a new you and new chapters.
Peace, Love & Goodness!