CALMING THE ANGRY PERSONALITY

Anger can be a good thing. It's a way of expressing negative feelings and motivating solutions to problems. But uncontrolled anger can be highly destructive. Psychologist Charissa Bloomberg chats about the angry personality and offers tips on how to overcome anger. 
Incidents of meltdowns, road rage and abuse frequently hit the press, many with devastating outcomes. If you struggle with anger issues, it might be time to do some soul searching and see if there are any positive changes you can make. Perhaps you get occasional road rage or you find yourself cursing at the news channel on telelvision, but if you have frequent and on-going rage issues, you may have something psychologists term 'the angry personality'. This person will get angry at the smallest issue, without needing too much to provoke them.  An angry parent will have a lasting impact on their family, especially on the kids. Children model parents behaviour and shouting and screaming can become the norm for them. This makes interpersonal relationships difficult.  FACTS ABOUT ANGER When we lose our temper, we are losing control. It's like a small child having a tantrum. This is called 'loss of Impulse control'. We all have impulses and we have the power to control the impulse, whether it is to eat, take drugs or get angry. We need to take into account that when we get angry the body gets ready for flight or flight. The hypothalamus stimulates the pituitary glands to release a range of hormones like adrenaline and cortisol. The heart beats faster, blood pressure rises, the breath quickens, body temperature is raised and energy is released to help the crisis. When the anger or issue is over, the body has to 'come down' and normalise.  If an individual loses their temper too often, over time this can lead to 'burn out' or what is known as 'Adrenal fatigue'. Burn out Symptoms: The early stages of burnout involve headaches, neck aches, aching limbs, dry mouth, continuous fatigue, constant irritability, stomach aches, dizziness, aching limbs. did you know? The acronym HALT is a self-care tool used to help control emotions. HALT is a reminder to always make sure you are never Hungry, Angry, Lonely or Tired. These conditions are triggers that can create heightened emotions. The acronym suggests stopping to check you have planned your life in a way that takes care of these needs and in doing so, safe-guards your state of mind.  SUPPLEMENTING ANGER Make sure you aren't deficient in vitamins and minerals. If you are deficient in calcium and magnesium you may react more readily to anger triggers. Calcium and magnesium can help with certain sleep difficulties and can also help calm emotions.  7 TIPS TO CALM ANGER    1. Know that you can choose how you feel. Events only elicit anger if we allow them to. It's our choice as to how we interpret a situation. Be prepared, it's in the few seconds before we lose control, when we tell ourselves how bad it is and give ourselves permission to 'lose it'. 2. Try and change the thoughts that lead up to anger. Remember thoughts lead to emotions, which leads to actions. It all starts with the thought. Do this by reframing situations ' try chatting through any triggers you have with a trusted close friend to get perspective.  3. Watch your levels of tension and know yourself well. Keep triggers at bay by avoiding situations that create anger in you. Loss of impulse control is part of emotional intelligence. You can up your level of emotional intelligence by learning how to manage yours and others' emotions and knowing the impact our words and emotions have on others. 4. Get enough sleep, nutrition, exercise and practice self care. Keep your ego in check. 5. Learn to communicate assertively without getting aggressive. You can choose words that honour the person you are talking to even if you are communicating something hard. Find the delicate balance between being too passive and too aggressive.  6. Start working with positive self statements. This could include statements like: 'I am in control', 'I choose not to give my power away to an angry outburst.' 'I will conquer this'. 7. Remember you have a choice. If someone is angry towards you, you can choose how to react. Letting go is not a sign of weakness. Remaining calm and empathising with the person's angry feeling is an almost sure way to dispel their anger. Because anger fuels anger, if you return the angry feeling with anger it will amplify and escalate.  8. Take responsibility for your actions towards others. When reacting with anger, it's difficult to reverse the situation, even if you apologise.  9. Realise that you may not know what someone else is going through and harsh words can do much more damage than you think especially to someone who is emotionally fragile. We often personalise things without realising that someone else may be acting irrationally and we don't have to take it personally.  10. Know yourself well and your capacity for stress. Avoid putting yourself in situations you know are going to push you over the edge. If you lose control too often, book a few sessions with a counsellor or life coach. Be aware that if anger isn't worked through or released in a positive way; it turns inward to self destruction. This is evidenced in behaviour like road rage, taking drugs, drinking, ending relationships for no reason, and having a poor self image. Charissa Bloomberg is a psychologist specialising in Anger Management and can be contacted on 082 737 8988 or [email protected] www.hiddendimensions.co.za

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