4 Key Anger Myths You Should Know

Anger Management - Dr Stan HymanThe idea of anger management is tossed around these days in political conversations or discussions about celebrities who have crossed a social or relational line.

However, managing anger well is more than a good idea or a recommendation for the other guy. It is an important life skill that prevents frustrating interactions and unwise decision-making.

It’s vital that you see your anger in a productive way and trust yourself to be angry responsibly without doing permanent damage. The first step? Look at what you believe about anger and how those beliefs affect the way you express anger or suppress it.

Consider the following anger myths and how they may be getting in your way:

Anger Myth #1. Venting releases anger productively.

Often, it’s best not to expel your anger indiscriminately. Deep breaths and a cooler head are an angry person’s best friends. Expressing your anger all over the object of your ire might just cause more problems for you if you’re not careful.

Holding back is not necessarily a bad thing. Consider humor or a brief break as entirely appropriate answers to rising anger. Allow the tempo of the argument or problem to slow down. You won’t be harmed and your point won’t be lost by simply employing a bit of timely retreat.

Give yourself a chance to pay attention to what’s happening internally. Being habitually mindful and aware of your own feelings and responses are effective ways to manage anger before it can sneak up or take over.

It’s okay to dial back the ranting to check in with yourself and see if anger subsides.

Anger Myth #2. Anger is always bad.

If you believe that anger is intrinsically bad, evil, or unacceptable, time spent examining your perceptions about anger will be important for healthy expression.

Perhaps your background or your relationships with loved ones created the sense that there is no room for healthy anger in your life. Maybe you feel like anger is always the precursor to unhappiness, loss, or rejection.

Allowed to persist, this myth perpetuates a tendency to deal with anger by ignoring it altogether, suppressing it, or resisting close relationships to avoid it. After a while, not only is healthy communication lost, but so are emotional awareness and  honest communication.

Anger Myth #3 Anger is a character flaw or inherited trait.

No matter how much you feel like anger or volatility is “just the way you are,” your temper is not coded in your DNA. Your anger responses are learned, not innate. With help, you can learn to deprogram your mind.

Change happens by understanding yourself and using that clarity to incorporate new communication tools when situations are heated. Accepting the help of a therapist is a good way to learn and practice new anger management techniques.

Anger Myth #4. Anger is impossible to control.

This myth paves the way for aggression and allows anger too much leeway. Anger can, and must be, managed well for the sake of emotional and physical safety.

You always get to choose your reaction to any given situation. Especially when you find yourself particularly passionate, indignant, or upset.

You can arrest the escalation of anger and aggressive action by

  • managing the situation with more assertive calm than aggressive control
  • considering your beliefs from another angle
  • challenging your inner dialogue
  • working with your therapist regularly

anger management becomes second nature.

If your anger worries you, be encouraged that anger management is a discipline you can learn. When you are more adept at controlling anger, you will find that you get better at being in tune with more of your underlying emotions.

If you suspect that feeling unheard or misunderstood fuels your anger, reach out for help. Getting that need met could ease your hard feelings and help you move forward more positively.

In time, you can achieve a calmer, less reactive life.

If you feel stuck in unproductive anger, let me help.

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Dr. Stan Hyman is a licensed psychotherapist, Clinical Sexologist and life coach practicing privately in Miami, Florida. During his 25 years as a counselor, he has helped hundreds of people create healthier more satisfying lives. His prior careers as both a teacher and successful entrepreneur undoubtedly continue to inform a therapeutic style that is described as both focused and collaborative. Dr. Hyman works to help men and women effectively balance their lives and the needs of family, friends and self. His clients are counseled to overcome anger, anxiety, depression, trauma, compulsive behaviors,substance abuse, and sexual problems in a safe and supportive environment. In addition to clinical and coaching practice, Stan offers seminars and workshops on stress management, relationship building, and improving communication skills for interested relationship and business partners.

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