The best Anger management resources for mental health

Anger has a tremendous effect on your mental health. That much is obvious. It distorts our thinking, drags us into depression, keeps us constantly boiling inside and constantly keeps us in a state of war.

From there, it spreads out to disrupt our outside life – our studies, work, friends, romances, family relationships. It even hurts us physically – many extremely dangerous conditions such as cancer and high blood pressure are linked to anger.

First of all, we have to understand what anger is. Anger is not wrong in any way. Yes, I believe we can transcend it, but to make ourselves wrong for being angry will only hurt us more.

What is anger

Anger is a protection system – it allows others, and us, to know when something is wrong. This is especially true in older times – if physical action is needed, anger is what lets us fight if we have to, for our own protection. This is also the reason why anger sometimes gives us a feeling of power – and this is why it is so addictive.

But in this day and age, reacting with aggression, violence, or shouting is uncalled for. It is often a sign of emotional weakness and immaturity. (Although sometimes you have to tell someone to back off.)

Most people know that reacting without emotional control is weak, and so they try to keep their cool. They do in the wrong way, however, and they end up repressing their anger – which leads to all the ills we mentioned above.

Anger management resources are vital in differentiating between the right and wrong ways in controlling anger: You could lose more than just your mental health.

To make things easier, I’ll differentiate between two types of anger: Repressed, and “Fresh”. They are dealt with in different ways.

Repressed anger

For repressed anger, here’s a quick summary of how to release it: Let it all hang out, but not on the person or event that makes you angry. Find somewhere you can be alone.

Then, simply give your anger a voice. Scream out whatever has been tearing you up – everything that you’ve wanted to say. Scream until you become the scream. This is the most important ingredient. Take some safe physical action at the same time. For people who like punching, punch the pillow. For those who feel better twisting, find a thick towel and twist it with all your might.

Again, screaming and shouting is important. Don’t hold it back for fear of scaring your neighbours. When I dealt with my anger, I went for long drives alone at night, and screamed at the driving wheel. It worked wonders.

Fresh anger

The next kind of anger is “fresh” anger. While it is a very complex subject, here is a bit of information that helps.

Fresh anger is triggered by thought. It could be a reaction to a current event or person, it could be anxiety over the future, or it could be a painful past memory. These thoughts could come so fast that you don’t catch it, and so you go straight into an anger response.

These emotional responses then strengthen and further distort your thoughts, and so it begins a vicious cycle. To stop fresh anger, many anger management resources recommend replacing these angry thoughts with positive thoughts “It’s not that bad,” or “calm down”. I personally found it hard to switch thoughts when you are seeing red.

I suggest taking a page from meditation and clearing the mind. When you clear the mind you stop the thoughts, and the anger dies soon afterwards with nothing to feed it.

The fastest way to stop the thoughts is to watch your breath. This is also a meditation technique. Feel the breath. What does it feel like as the air passes through your nose? What does it feel like as it goes into your lungs, and as it comes back up? By occupying your mind in such a way, it cannot think any angry thoughts – it cannot do more than two things at once.

Great Resources

Of course, these are just very basic overviews on anger management. There are some great resources, but it can be a while to sift through the rubbish.

Here are some of the works that I recommend:

A New Earth or The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle: His spiritual works don’t cover just anger but every thing that could disturb your peace and happiness.

The Australian Psychological Society has a strictly psychological approach: They have a small free online guide at:
http://www.psychology.org.au/publications/tip_sheets/12.5_12.asp

Lastly, I’d like to congratulate you on taking steps, looking for anger management resources, and looking after your mental health. A lot of people don’t even recognise that they have a problem. As a result their mental health deteriorates until it – or their lives -hit rock bottom.