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Anger is good and bad!

Anger is the feeling we experience when events in our world are not going according to our plans or rules.

Many of us have a have strong idea of how things, events and people should be - and when it doesn’t work out as expected we feel frustrated or try to change people.

Not all anger is unhealthy. Sometimes it is quite appropriate - it can be our final defence against allowing other people to manipulate or dominate us.

And it can motivate us to take action against injustice. Anger is healthy when it is not ongoing but is usefully channelled into appropriate action.

When it is expressed in the right way, anger helps us to release tensions, both emotionally and physically.

In the 1700s, a British physician called John Hunter had a very bad temper and, not surprisingly, suffered from angina pectoris.

He was quoted as saying: "My life is at the mercy of any scoundrel who chooses to put me in a passion".

This was prophetic. At a meeting of the board of St. Georges Hospital he became involved in a heated argument, walked out, and dropped dead.

It has been recognised anger contributes to a number of physical illnesses, especially heart disease as in John Hunter's case.

And it also has other, more immediate, unpleasant effects:

  • Anger consumes huge amounts of mental and physical energy

  • It takes from our enjoyment of life

  • It interferes with constructive and useful thinking

  • Anger clouds our judgement

  • It threatens our relationships and career prospects

  • Anger undermines our self esteem and, in extremes

  • Anger can so obsesses us that it crowds most other thoughts from our minds.

We can feel quite justified in our anger; if everyone followed your rules and ideas it would be a better place after all. You may feel you have every right to be annoyed with the stupidity or thoughtlessness of others - with their refusal to recognise that your way is the best way!

The world will always be chaotic; the world is peopled by lots of people with different rules, values and behaviours.

They will continue to drive their cars differently to us - and to have different views about what is or is not respectful behaviour, punctuality, tidiness and honesty.

Understanding the 'mechanics' of your anger is the first step in mastering this mood. These mechanics are quite simple. You have a version of how things 'should' be and you continuously compare reality with your version - and feel angry when reality gets it wrong!

As part of this process you have mental list of triggers that you test reality against and when reality gets it 'wrong' you feel angry.

What to do about anger?

Some experts say you should 'express' your anger rather than bottle it up. They point out that suppressing anger can lead to heart disease.

Other experts say that expressing anger makes things worse because it exacerbates the difficult situation and can have unpleasant consequences for your relationships, your career, and even your personal freedom.

The choice appears to be get it off your chest and you won't get ill - but you may end up lonely or in prison. Or suppress your anger and you will be more popular - but you may get ill!

Fortunately there is a third option. The best way of dealing with anger habit is to stop it occurring in the first place.

Get to know which triggers that evoke your angry feelings and systematically defusing each of these.

As you do this recognise how these triggers have controlled you, because they do - you encounter the trigger and off you go - on automatic pilot, out of control, ruled by your emotions.

Developing your awareness in this way and on a regular basis will gradually defuse your tendency to fly off the handle. It will also defuse the tendency to justify your anger.

At a more basic level, healthy and stress-free lifestyle contributes to a more balanced mind; one that is better equipped to deal with the rollercoaster of emotions we often have to deal with on a daily basis. When the body is relaxed and balanced, there are more feel-good hormones swishing around the body. So when something challenging happens, you are more likely to deal with the situation better.

If constant or chronic anger is causing problems in your life, get in touch with Jarvis Hypnotherapy. There are a number of techniques for anger management, which can be learnt in a very short time.

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