We all experience anger to varying degrees, and for many people they are able to manage their reaction in a way that doesn’t damage relationships or their environment.
Like all emotions, it’s normal to feel angry, but if you find that you feel angry often or find you often react disproportionately, you could a wider problem with anger going on.
What is Behind Anger?
Anger is often blamed on external factors – “Look how you made me react!”, “It’s not my fault that this happened!”, or feelings of lack of control (“I can’t help it”).
When we explore further however, we know that different people respond differently and so it can be seen that anger is more often caused by our individual thoughts about what is happening or has happened.
Biological and physiological changes arise alongside anger, such as an increased heart rate, a surge of adrenaline and increased blood pressure.
These all contribute to feelings of “fight” (as in from the “fight or flight” response) and often lead to angry outbursts as a way of ascertaining control, or protecting ourselves.
Quite often, anger is a learned response, or difficulties with tolerating frustration. It can also come about as a result of feelings of lack of control or lacking effective communication skills.
Aggression vs Assertiveness
Since our brains are hard-wired to help us survive, anger can be thought of as a useful way of defending ourselves from perceived threats.
In order to evaluate whether there is genuine threat however, it is important to use our conscious mind to determine whether there is genuine threat going on, or whether we are responding catastrophically, in that moment.
We may feel like responding assertively, but if we find that others are scared of us, or things are becoming damaged (including relationships), it is worth reflecting on whether your behaviour is assertive, or actually being aggressive.
One common way that anger gets expressed is through passive aggressive behaviours, frequently expressing cynical perspectives and becoming hyper-critical.
If you decided that your behaviour is more aggressive, rather than assertive you might want to practice assertive communication. This involves expressing what your needs are and how you need them to be met, without shouting, threatening or upsetting others.
It is important to express anger (though the way it is expressed is important) because if left to boil up, it can become internalised and lead to problems such as depression.
If this is the case, the resulting depression can lead to further feelings of lack of control, as well as hopelessness and withdrawal.
As our mental health affects our physical health, it is important to find a healthy outlet for anger as the physical effects of being constantly frustrated or angry can have impact on our blood pressure, tension, and lead to difficulties with physical health including making any pain or existing problems worse.
CBT for Anger Problems
Ultimately, you cannot control other people and we sometimes can’t control what is happening to us, but you can learn to manage and control your response to anger.
Our CBT therapists in Newcastle Upon Tyne specialise in anger difficulties and can help you learn strategies to manage your anger effectively, whether face to face at our psychology clinic in Gosforth, or via online counselling or therapy.
Our CBT and specialist anger management counselling is proven to help people develop healthier responses to their emotions (including frustration and anger), and for learning to deal with anger.
Contact us for Anger Management Counselling
If you would like to see one of our Anger Management Specialists, or one of our anger-management focused CBT therapists in Newcastle Upon Tyne, send us a message using the box below or call us on 07966645198 to speak to a member of the team today.
Dr Stuart Sadler
Lead Clinical Psychologist