EVERYONE SHOULD KNOW
In most cases, counting to ten really does work. A brief pause gives us just enough time to regain a sense of proportion, remember not to take things personally or even (gulp!) acknowledge that we’re not always right. But for some people, it’s not enough.
“Most of the clients I have are successful business people who use anger to intimidate others,” says Mike Fisher of the British Association of Anger Management. “Eventually it gets out of hand, and colleagues and family tell them they have to change.
“Around 20 per cent of my clients, by contrast, are angry because they’re not successful—but feel they should be. They often internalise their anger and become depressed.”
So it’s not just the victims of our rage who suffer: feeling constantly angry is bad for us too. One in five relationships breaks down because of problems with anger; angry men are three times likelier to have heart disease than those who are rarely riled.
To reduce anger levels, Fisher suggests monitoring stress and prioritising our own needs when we feel under pressure. “It’s not selfish, it’s self-preservation,” he says. Avoid using aggressive language— swearing for sure—but also blaming others, interrupting and shouting.
“Instead of ‘why don’t you/you never/you should’, say ‘I feel hurt or angry’,” says Fisher.
“It’s important to admit how you feel, so don’t pretend everything’s fine when it’s not. And if that’s not enough, walk away before you do something you’ll regret.”
For details of courses and free online workshops, go to www.angermanage.co.uk.