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Anger Can Be Healthy

What? C’mon, it’s healthy? Historically speaking, anger is an adaptive response to threats, so it’s no wonder that we might respond with strong feelings and behaviors. Anger can motivate us and, when properly managed, we can make the positive changes we seek in our lives.

Anger is an emotional state that is reflected in mental, physical, and spiritual ways. Our response to our feelings of anger impacts our day, our relationships, our work, view of ourselves, and view of the world around us.

Sometimes, inaccurate perceptions of the world or particular circumstances make us angry, and without proper tools for recognizing our triggers or understanding all of our choices, anger can be quite unhealthy. The good news is that we get to choose. But how?

Understanding where your particular anger comes from and how it manifests is a key ingredient in knowing how to change its hold on you.

How Anger Affects You

Biologically, anger can elevate your heart rate, increase hormones like adrenaline and cortisol, and cause bodily tension. Prolonged exposure to these elements can have a negative effect on your body and shorten your lifespan.

We knowingly do things that place us at risk when we get to a place of anger so intense we simply don’t have the capacity to think rationally.

Anger can be suppressed, but often has negative consequences when it is turned inward. This type of anger may cause hypertension and depression.

Another form of anger is unexpressed anger, which can also lead to physical, psychological, and spiritual problems. Unexpressed anger can manifest in somatic ways such as impacting your immune response and make you more cynical or hostile in your relationship to others and the world.

The Biology of Anger

In the brain, the amygdala, is the part of the brain that deals with emotion. The amygdala wants to do something when there is a trigger event and a response can be less than a second. At the same time, blood flow is increasing to the frontal lobe, specifically the part of the brain over the left eye. This area controls reasoning and is likely what is keeping you from throwing something across the room. These areas generally balance each other out quickly. According to some research, the neurological response to anger lasts less than two seconds. This is why one of the most common solutions to cooling down is to count to ten before acting out your anger.

If triggers to your anger are constantly being activated in you, then this type of response can start to cause damage to your physical, mental, and spiritual health. Chronically angry people may not have the mechanism to turn off these effects.

They may not produce acetylcholine, a hormone that tempers the more severe effects of adrenaline. Their nervous system is constantly working overtime and can eventually become overexerted, leading to a weakened immune system, weakened heart, and stiffer arteries.

There's potential for liver and kidney damage, as well as high cholesterol due to chronically high levels of hormones like adrenaline and cortisol.

Anger is often accompanied by underlying issues, such as depression, anxiety, and trauma.

Anger's physical side effects explain why you frequently see studies about the damage that this emotion can do to our bodies. In one study of almost 13,000 subjects, individuals with the highest levels of anger had twice the risk of coronary artery disease and three times the risk of heart attack, as compared to the subjects with the lowest levels of anger (Kam, 2007).

Taking Flight By Managing Anger Appropriately

To put it in perspective, and to be more literal of the “fight or flight” response, we are the pilots of our bodies. Anger is often an emotion that can mislead us or steer us off course. Anger itself is simply an emotion that is guided by what we feed it or respond to, sometimes referred to as our own “baggage.” If you are consistently feeling angry, then you are flying your own “plane” from the cargo bay. Seems ridiculous right?

Ever heard or said the phrase, “I was so angry, I couldn’t see straight”? Well, allowing anger to be the pilot is a lot like that. Taking flight with anger impairs our ability to see things clearly, rationally, and can impede us from getting to our goal destination. Learning how to manage anger can help us navigate our work relationships, our view of the world, and our understanding of ourselves.

When we fly for the first time it can be scary (similar to when we see the damaging effects of our anger). However, we become less fearful of the sounds on an airplane the more we fly because we learn through our experience that we are relatively safe. Managing anger through practice of new skills (appropriate communication, assertion, recognizing emotions connected to anger) can help us land safely in almost any type of weather we encounter.

Does Your Anger Get In the Way?

Have you found that inappropriate expressions of your anger have affected your work or relationships or both?

Do you find yourself to be judgmental of others or chronically irritable? Or perhaps you have noticed increased incidents of illness or social withdrawal?

Does your anger cross the line from being a protective warning system to becoming harmful? Anger becomes harmful to us when it gets in the way of our daily functioning, our health, our work, and our relationships.

Often times, anger can be triggered by past trauma or negative experiences.

For both men and women, learning to effectively communicate the feelings that underlie anger is one way you can benefit from therapy. You can become appropriate and assertive without being aggressive. Accompanied with relaxation techniques, communicating how you feel in the anger can provide room to grow and inherently challenge the way you think.

Why Clients Have Found Success With Us

We understand the tenets of anger. We know that anger that is poorly managed can be counterproductive and unhealthy.

When anger is misdirected or overly aggressive, it can lead to poor decision making processes and affect your work, close relationships, and your overall mental, physical, and spiritual health.

We help you take on varying perspectives to your unique problems in an effort to open your mind to the possibility of change, whereby you make subtle, but significant changes to a healthier, better adjusted you.

What Sets Us Apart

Gain Powerful Strategies and Treatments for Your Mind, Your Body & Your Spirit

We use traditional Anger Management remedies and evidenced-based practices to give you a personal look at your anger and the elements that contribute to the negative impact it might be in your life. We utilize Cognitive-Behavioral techniques and systemic strategies to provide perspective on how you affect your immediate world with your anger and offer relaxation tools to get you to a place where you feel better prepared for whatever lay ahead.

We are uniquely trained in getting to the core of issues to help you transform your understanding of, not only anger, but emotions as a whole. Along with traditional approaches, we use neurofeedback.

Neurofeedback Works

How Does Neurofeedback Work to Decrease My Anger?

A responding Yes!!!

Neurofeedback is a powerful and effective tool that facilitates an inherent management of negative symptoms associated with anger.

Neurofeedback, or brain training, helps an individual regulate poorly-managed reactions, such as anger. Out-of-control anger is one of the emotions that is particularly responsive to this easy treatment.

With the help of neurofeedback, we strive to put the individual in charge of his or her anger instead of the anger being in charge of the individual. Using neurofeedback helps the therapist connect to you in a way that is present, helping you to see how your own brain functions and connecting to you on a level that is within your awareness and subtly changing the function of how you control your own emotions. In doing so, neurofeedback, along with traditional methods of reframing your perceptions of self and the world can limit the consequences of emotions being out of control.

What It Means to Change

To bring neurofeedback and anger management into focus, it is similar to the way a caterpillar becomes a butterfly. Caterpillars move unassumingly and are seen as the often unattractive counterpart to the more beautiful butterfly. With that said, caterpillars inevitably cocoon themselves for some time in order to transform into something they never knew possible. Going into therapy for anger management is quite similar and neurofeedback facilitates change on an inherent and subtle level.

We go into therapy hoping for some change, but ultimately uncertain of the outcome, and faith in our capacity for growth becomes its own motivation. Perhaps, we are all caterpillars slowly making our way through a life of relative uncertainty. However, for those willing to take a leap of faith whilst making strides toward a better self, the potential for us to become that much more can provide a great foundation for a renewed self and might even yield something for us more than what we imagined possible.

Think About It

What we have found in our many years of experience, and consistent with supporting research, is that helping people with anger management issues is correlated to better management of other symptoms associated with depression, anxiety, trauma, sleep issues, self esteem, and attention deficits.

As mentioned above, and likely in your own experience, anger brings about quick reactions. In scientific terms, our anger, which comes from the least evolved part of the brain, shuts down our executive functioning (decision-making processes) in the pre-frontal cortex. In other words, the brain goes into a tailspin and we don’t think rationally when anger comes into play. We think most rationally and clearly when we are calm and present.

So, helping the brain to relax and increase the brain’s ability to self-regulate with neurofeedback and utilizing cognitive tools to help you understand how you see the world in order to change negative perceptions is a recipe for living healthier lives that affect your mind, body, and spirit!

Anger Management Articles

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