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Healthy and Unhealthy Anger Management Published: Sunday, April 13, 2008 By: Dr. Manuel Ángel (Coco) Morales

Daily, we hear the expressions of “blowing your stack”, “letting off steam”, “letting someone have it”, “being totally ticked”.  Anger is often described with these negative phrases.  Indeed, anger is a fact of life.  Let us clarify the meaning of this emotion.  It is a strong feeling of irritation and displeasure, leading to rage, fury, wrath, resentment and hostility.  It is experienced much more frequently than most people and organizations would like to admit.  When people begrudge, or disdain others, when they are annoyed, repulsed, irritated, frustrated, offended or cross, they are experiencing some form of anger.

RESEARCH SHOWS THAT MOST PEOPLE EXPERIENCE THE ANGER EMOTION AT LEAST EIGHT TO TEN TIMES A DAY. 

Depression, anxiety, fear, and grief drain the human body of emotional and physical energy.  Anger, in the other hand, releases energy into the nervous system and makes the person ready for action.  It is a personal choice whether to use that burst of energy in constructive or abusive ways.

When people allow anger to command them, it becomes unhealthy anger.  Unhealthy anger expresses itself in a desire for revenge and can easily distort our perspective, blocking the ability to love, and limits our capacity to think clearly.  At this point, people are more likely to spend their anger energy in destructive actions like emotional, verbal, physical, abuse and sometimes culminating in violence. 

On the other hand, healthy or quality anger depends on the help and guidance of the Holy Spirit.  It allows people to confront evil, righting wrong, and changing things for the good.  Healthy anger management can provide greater focus, intensity, creativity and productivity.  I have experienced this condition, helping me to write better, speak, lecture well and with much inspiration, because my whole temperament is quickened and my understanding is sharpened.

In order to confront and manage unhealthy anger you need a plan.  So I recommend people to take time to pray and think while preparing to cope with such situations.  These are some of the core steps: 1) Be aware of anger-you need to identify what makes your vulnerable to anger, how your body responds and what physical and psychological manifestations you adopt when enraged. 2) Accept responsibility for anger, don’t blame others, and be alert that you choose your own temper. 3) Identify the source of anger.  Be clear that anger is a response to a primary emotion such as hurt, frustration or fear.  For many anger is a defense mechanism against being hurt.  Frustration occurs when expectations are not met or people cannot meet their personal goals. 4) Choose how to invest anger energy.  While we cannot always control when we will experience anger, we can choose how we will express it.  With God’s help we can find ways to be creative for dealing with anger.  We can allow anger to destroy   us, or we can harness anger energy into healthy and quality responses.  It is a matter of choice.

 


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