The Best Way to EXPRESS Your Anger

When it comes to anger, health and psychology experts agree: Better out than in. Expressing anger in healthy ways can be a challenge; but keeping your emotions bottled up is likely to lead to an explosion down the road. What happens when we get angry, and how do we let it go?

Anger is a physical and psychological response to fear, stress, confusion, anxiety, or some other negative situation that puts us on guard. It’s part of our natural warning system that something’s wrong. It’s normal and completely healthy; that is, unless it’s expressed in destructive ways or not vented at all.

What happens when we get angry? A new study from the University of Valencia analyzed changes in the brain’s cardiovascular, hormona,l and asymmetric activation response to anger. The results of this study were published in the journal Hormones and Behavior, and reveal that anger provokes profound changes in a person’s state of mind. When one gets angry, the heart rate, arterial tension, and testosterone production increases, cortisol (the stress hormone) decreases, and the left hemisphere of the brain becomes more stimulated.

In the short term, these responses help us react to anger by fighting, fleeing, or freezing up so we can get out of trouble. Over time, however, stress hormones can take their toll on our health.

Separate studies reveal that anger expression is generally accepted in men, but considered unacceptable in women. That’s because women are frequently raised to be more passive, less emotionally volatile and aren’t trained to express anger. Both men and women frequently find themselves at a loss for what to do when they get angry.

Without appropriate tools and skills, they may resort to substance abuse, violence, verbal abuse, or other negative and destructive behaviors to let a little heat off their temper. Or, they may shove those angry feelings down and wait until they express themselves with anxiety, depression or health problems linked to chronic stress.
What are healthy ways to express anger?

Just say it.
When confronted with an anger-imaking situation, use your words. Appropriate communication is key to anger management.
Say, “I’m feeling angry right now.”
Then, follow up with a simple statement about what you’re angry about.
Don’t call names, make accusations, or say things you’ll regret later.
If one particular person or situation repeatedly causes you to feel angry, explore resolutions with your human resources manager, a therapist, or mediator.

Walk away.
If you feel like you’re about to blow your top, take a fast walk. Walking:
Creates physical space between you and whatever made you made you mad
Provides physical stress release and energy
Gives you time to think things through.
Don’t run away though. Walk back when you’re calm and address the situation.

Take a deep breath.
Deep breathing:
Calms jangled nerves quickly,
Provides a moment of clarity
Sends a message to the person you’re angry at that says, “I’m trying to stay calm, but…”
Regular meditation, yoga or other stress management/mindfulness techniques help you stay in the moment so you can deal with problems effectively as they arise.

Seek help.
Some situations are more than any one person can handle. Ask for help when something is getting out of control.
Talk to a friend, family member, coworker, or therapist.
If anger is becoming your all-purpose emotion, make an appointment with your doctor. You may be experiencing depression or anxiety.


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