We all get angry, it’s a normal emotion. However, some of us handle our anger better than others. To manage anger, acknowledge that you have a problem, keep a hostility log, and build a support network based on trust.
An emotional condition that has different intensities from irritation to rage. Same as all other sensations, it comes with psychological and physiological changes. Anger is a fight and flight response to anxiety. What happens? The level of your noradrenalin, adrenaline increases, and energy hormones, resulting in high blood pressure and heart rate. It can be caused by both internal and external events.
Techniques to interrupt anger: listen, empathise, be assertive with others, and learn to stay calm.
STOP what you are doing do not let the situation dictate how you respond. So you regain control of the situation and how you act, talk to the person in a calm voice in regard to how their behaviour and /or attitude has affected you and that a change needs to occur.
Q&A: How well do you manage your anger?
(Write 2-3 paragraphs)
Among the most important triggers of self-regulation failure, what makes us lose control and give into our impulses, is anger. Anger releases cortisol, long term elevated cortisol levels have a detrimental effect on both our physical and mental health, resulting in impaired learning. As cortisol interferes with the ability to think and process information.
Anger produces the fight/flight response and the production of adrenaline, with blood being redirected away from the brain, reducing our ability to think.
When something irritates you and no one else.
Q&A: How can the same event cause such different reactions?
(Write 2-3 paragraphs)
Q&A: How do you make sure that your reaction is the calm one, instead of the angry one?
(Write 2-3 paragraphs)
The imperfections in other people that trigger us the most are the imperfections we do not like in ourselves.
Because they are mostly repressed, studying our anger towards these people can help us come clean with who we actually are.
It was Carl Jung who said it first: “Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves”.
Everyone is our mirror.
When you are judgmental of somebody else, you are actually judgmental of yourself.
If someone pushes your buttons, it may be because they represent something that you despise or fear about yourself.
As we encounter new people and interact with them, we unravel our own weaknesses and strengths.
Their flaws reflect ours and allow us to accept them.
Do you see indifference? Or senselessness? Perhaps it is stubbornness that gets you the most? Whatever it is, the imperfection that makes you angry at another human being is the imperfection that prevents you from being your best, happiest, and most fulfilled self.
Angry, hostile and destructive behaviour is a primary response to frustration. It is intended to gain mastery over a situation.
Interpersonal relationships and productive work suffer or are impaired. Anger may be displaced to patients and others.
Nurse leaders and managers need to recognise aggressive and passive behaviours among staff, teach and display assertive behaviour, and encourage problem solving.
Assist staff to understand themselves, triggers, develop trust and promote harmony. Encourage staff to express themselves without fear of reprisals. Be sincere, firm and fair to all staff, you need to be consistent.
Job responsibilities and expectations, goals should be clear, and staff rewarded with positive feedback, and or negative feedback that is timely.
The goal of anger management is not to eliminate anger completely: that isn’t possible, since it’s a natural human emotion. Rather, the objective is to control and direct anger so that it doesn’t control you or damage an important relationship or situation.
In Anger Management: Channelling Anger into Performance, there are three key elements to these:
- Understanding what causes your anger.
- Reducing your angry reactions.
- Controlling your anger when you experience it.
Q&A: Do you get angry easily, without really understanding why?
(Write 2-3 paragraphs)
One of the most effective approaches for managing anger is to identify the sources of the anger you experience. Once you know what makes you angry, you can develop strategies for dealing with it.
When you are in the middle of a bad situation, it’s hard to think logically and rationally, so understanding what causes your anger can help you plan how to deal with it.
- Keep a diary/journal or log to write down the times, people, and situations that make you angry.
- Look for trends, or triggers that make you angry often.
Ask yourself why these things make you angry.
Q&A: Do you feel that goals are frustrating you, or that something important to you is being threatened?
If yes, when?
(Write 2-3 paragraphs)
Q&A: I feel that I’m able to control my anger
Q&A: After I’ve been angry, I think about what I could/should have done to control my anger
While you probably won’t eliminate anger completely, you can certainly reduce the frequency and extent/timeframe of your anger. The less angry you are in general, the more control you’ll have over your emotions. Since much of our anger can come from frustration and stress, if you work on ways to ease and reduce these causes of frustration and stress, you’ll reduce the amount of anger in your life.
Use Problem Solving Skills
A great way to reduce stress is to improve your problem-solving skills. We sometimes feel that everything we do needs to be correct and turn out well, and this can be frustrating when things don’t turn out as they should. Instead of expecting yourself always to be right, commit to doing your best. That way you can be proud of your effort even if the result isn’t what you want.
Also, accept that when something doesn’t work out, sometimes you just need to relax and not let things bother you. We may think that we should have an answer for everything, but the truth is, we don’t!
Q&A: When I encounter a problem, I identify the “right” solution myself and get it implemented as fast as possible.
Q&A: When something frustrating happens, I know it’s not the end of the world.
Q&A: When I’m angry, I find alternatives and give myself enough time to make a good choice to solve my problems.
Keep an anger log, this can be kept daily to commence with as a trend/trigger identifier, even keep a journal so that you can write down the scenario and your response, and overtime you can see your growth, change and development.
|What made you Angry? Source of anger (Trigger)||How did you Respond?||Was your response justified?||What changes can I make?|
Reflect on triggers that made you angry, your response and the changes that you can and will make, now. Tune into the physical effects that are occurring when you are angry; implement deep breathing techniques, go for a walk, smell flowers, think of something positive.
You can also reduce anger by improving your communication skills. When you relate well to other people, express your needs, and talk about issues that bother you, you can deal with potential anger proactively.
- Build empathy – When you understand another person’s perspective, it helps you analyse the situation objectively and understand your role in the conflict. Accept that you may not always know best.
- Learn to trust others – Assume the best in people, and don’t take their actions personally. That way, you’ll be less likely to get angry with them when something goes wrong. You’ll also be less likely to attribute the problem to spiteful intent on their part.To build trust, be honest with people. Explain your actions or decisions when you need to, and always keep your word. If you do this consistently, people will learn that they can trust you. They’ll also follow your lead, and you’ll learn that you can trust them in return.
- Listen – Actively listen, to obtain information, understand and to learn so that you can; consider what the other person has to say, and then think before you speak.
In many situations, the best way to deal with anger is to accept it, and then find ways to move forward. This can protect your relationships with people, and it allows you to acknowledge your feelings.
- Be assertive, not aggressive. By improving your assertiveness skills, you can reduce the frustration that you feel when your needs aren’t being met. When you know how to ask for what you want, you’ll generally feel more in control, and less likely to say things that you’ll later regret.
It takes a lot of concentration and determination to actively listen; a lot of work is required to break bad habits.
There are five key techniques you can use to develop your active listening skills:
- Pay attention, meet away from computers and phone so that you are involved and focused on the conversation.
- Show that you are listening with nonverbal and verbal verification.
- Provide feedback.
- Defer judgment.
- Respond appropriately.
Let the other person know that you are listening to what they are saying. By becoming a better listener, you can improve your productivity, as well as your ability to influence, persuade and negotiate. What is more, you will avoid conflict and misunderstandings. All of these are necessary for workplace success.
If you are finding it particularly difficult to concentrate on what someone is saying, try repeating their words mentally as they say them, this will reinforce the message and help you to stay focused.
Give the speaker your undivided attention and acknowledge the message. Recognise that non-verbal communication also “speaks” loudly.
- Look at the speaker directly.
- Put aside distracting thoughts.
- Don’t mentally prepare a rebuttal!
- Avoid being distracted by environmental factors. For example, side conversations.
- Listen to the speaker’s body language.
Show That You’re Listening
Use your own body language and gestures to show that you are engaged.
- Nod occasionally.
- Smile and use other facial expressions.
- Make sure that your posture is open and interested.
- Encourage the speaker to continue with small verbal comments like yes, sure.
Our personal views, assumptions, judgements, and beliefs can distort what we hear. As a listener, your role is to understand what is being said. This may require you to reflect on what is being said and to ask questions.
Recall communication where you were listening, try the below.
Reflect on what has been said by paraphrasing. “What I am hearing is…,” and “Sounds like you are saying…,” are great ways to reflect back to the person speaking.
- Ask questions to clarify certain points. “What do you mean when you say….” “Is this what you mean?”
- Summarise the speaker’s comments at the end of the communication or if you require clarification.
If you find yourself responding emotionally to what someone said, say so. And ask for more information: “I may not be understanding you correctly, and I find myself taking what you said personally. What I thought you just said is …. And paraphrase. Is that what you meant?”
Interrupting is a waste of time. It frustrates the speaker and limits full understanding of the message.
- Allow the speaker to finish each point before asking questions.
- Don’t interrupt with counter arguments.
Active listening is designed to encourage respect and understanding. You are gaining information and perspective. You add nothing by attacking the speaker or otherwise putting them down.
Remember, the word is “assertive,” not “aggressive.” When you’re assertive, you focus on balance. You’re honest about what you want, and you respect the needs of others.
If you’re angry, it’s often difficult to express yourself clearly. Learn to assert yourself and let other people know your expectations, boundaries, and issues. When you do, you’ll find that you develop self-confidence, gain respect, and improve your relationships.
- Be open and honest in your response.
- Be respectful of others and let them communicate.
- Treat the other person in a way that you would like to be treated.
Knowledge and Understanding
Is a powerful by product of emotional health and resilience as it gives us the capacity to see situations objectively and then respond calmly and logically without allowing anger to corrupt our observation, judgement and conduct or the way we treat others.
Focus on the physical sensations of anger. While it may seem counterintuitive, tuning into the way your body feels when you’re angry often lessens the emotional intensity of your anger.
Take some deep breaths. Deep, slow breathing helps counteract rising tension. The key is to breathe deeply from the abdomen, getting as much fresh air as possible into your lungs.
Get moving. A brisk walk is a great idea. Physical activity releases pent-up energy so you can approach the situation with a cooler head.
Use your senses. You can use sight, smell, hearing, touch, and taste to quickly relieve stress and cool down. You might try listening to a favourite piece of music, looking at a treasured photo, savouring a cup of tea.
To select a resilient mindset please go to the Resilience CPD Module and develop a resilience plan.
Chris, A.(2018) 7 Ways on how to manage anger. Accessed 15 November 2019.
Lieberman,D. (2017) Never Get Angry Again. St Martin’s Press New York.
Mr Purrington December 14 2019. Carl Jung: “Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves” in context. Accessed 16 April 2020.
Tomey, A. 2004. Guide to Nursing Management and Leadership. Eighth edition.
Williams, R. (2018) Anger Management 12 Strategies for Controlling Aggression. Accessed 15 November 2019.