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Are You Mad Yet?

Anger is a powerful emotional process that affects all of us at different times and for different reasons. Anger, as with all emotions, comes from within. It is a normal reaction we have to something or someone, not something that is forced upon us. We must learn to express our anger in appropriate ways.

The process of getting angry begins when we encounter an "anger stimulus." Little things, like stubbing a toe or dropping a fork at a fancy restaurant, can be a stimulus that causes us to be angry. Some people become angered by being told what to do, or being left out of a conversation. Discrimination on the basis of race, sex, beliefs or ability, and physical or psychological abuses are serious issues that may cause an anger reaction.

The cause or source of our anger will determine how we experience the anger process. Little things may not create a strong reaction of anger. However, a series of little things on a stressful day may cause us to get mad enough to fight back verbally or physically. Usually, the more important the issue, the more intense our anger response will be.

It is important for each of us to note sources of our individual anger, no matter how big or small they seem to us. An anger stimulus for one person may not generate an anger response for others. In addition, our reactions may change over time as we grow, develop, and learn through experiences in our lives.

Make a note how angry you get. Ask yourself, "Am I just a little ticked or am I really angry?" This question must be asked quickly when you experience an anger stimulus. Realizing the degree of your anger will help you to understand your possible responses. With practice, everyone can accurately assess their anger responses. The words we use to describe our anger, like annoyed or furious, can be clues. If you can understand your responses to anger, then you can learn to work with your behavior in healthy ways by choosing an appropriate response.

You also should think about the situation after the anger passed. Consider the source, the process, the degree, and the result of anger to determine at what point you are likely to loose your cool.

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