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A distinction should be made here between anger and rage. Anger is a healthy emotion and we need it for setting limits and taking care of ourselves in stressful and frustrating situations. Anger demonstrates our boundaries and people generally respect those limits provided that they are reasonable. Rage is a different animal from anger. When a man or woman is in a state of rage, their rational brain has been hijacked and consumed by the emotion at hand and they are at the mercy of their reflexes, with minimal or no access to rational thought and reason.

The rage reaction provides an adrenaline rush that gives an immediate elevated sense of power in a situation whereby the person feels that they have no power. In the rage state they go to a power zone that lights them up. They appear crazy to the observer, but to themselves, they feel elevated and above the problem. When the adrenaline settles down, there are some feelings of guilt at first, but it is usually short lived and superseded by the powerful feeling they experienced. Each time the reaction is triggered, it becomes easier to be ignited the next time. As the reaction repeats itself the tolerance for frustration in general is lowered.  

Anger is sometimes used to ward off or avoid depression. There are people so afraid of depression that when they feel it approaching, they quickly revert to anger in reflex fashion. They will claim that they never get depressed. Their claims are probably valid since one can’t be in touch with anger and depression at the same time. They are on opposite ends of the same emotional pole. Many people abuse anger in this way, and by doing so they abuse people around them. Often they attempt to control and rule their loved ones by intimidation and threats.

Unfortunately, most people with anger problems solicit help with managing their anger only after they have been threatened with a serious health problem,  personal threat, or consequence. Often they seek help resulting from an ultimatum that they either get a grip or lose something or someone they value, such as their job, spouse, or family.

People who do not have anger problems recognize that they have options and are likely to make rational choices in frustrating situations. People who do have anger problems can learn what their options are and practice more appropriate ones. One option worth considering here is to walk away, remove one’s self from the perception of the stressor or stressful event, get some air and allow the adrenaline to settle down. By doing so one has better access to rational thinking and solutions to dealing with the problem. There are other options and different ones work better for different people. Individuals with an anger problem should make a list of action alternatives and put them into practice. They work. Cognitive insight and emotional management training should also be considered.  (Click for more PSM anger management info.)

Source: Personalized Stress Management: A Manual for Everyday Life and Work
© CCSpublication

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