Last week we looked at some techniques for managing anger in a more productive and healthy way. To restate: nearly everyone gets frustrated and angry at times. Life can be demanding and stressful; it is human to react to these stressors. We learned some simple techniques to better manage our angry feelings. But, what if the anger is chronic and close to the surface all the time? What if the anger is so severe that it erupts into rage? The suggestions in the last post can be helpful, and it is a good idea to try them, even with chronic anger and rage. These tools can help us gain some insight into our own emotional world. However, it is generally useful to seek some professional help to sort out the feelings buried in the rage, in addition to utilizing other tools.

Chronic, severe anger or rage are rarely just one emotion. Most often, rage is an outward manifestation of several emotions, one possibly stronger than the others. A caring professional or trusted spiritual leader, etc. can help sort out what is at the base of rage. This can be a long, difficult process, so be patient and kind with yourself, if you can. Another helpful tool for managing chronic anger/rage is joining an anger-management group, talking with others with similar experiences can offer support and insight into your own thoughts and feelings. Many groups also teach techniques.

Unmanaged rage can damage relationships, careers, and even cause legal difficulties. It also damages our health: long time chronic anger can create serious health risks. Chronic anger has been linked to high blood pressure, heart problems, skin problems, and headaches to name only a few. It can also change cognitive ability and behavior patterns over time. Chronic anger/rage is also linked to violent crime, abuse, and other violent behaviors. If you feel out of control, please talk to someone immediately. Suppressed chronic anger or rage will eventually manifest itself. If no one is available, remove yourself from the situation, if you can. Brisk exercise (whatever that looks like for you) may defuse the worst of it, then utilize whatever tools are helpful to you. Being proactive with managing your emotional states can be empowering.

Next time we will look at some ways to cope with the holiday season. For today, breathe, exercise, take a break and do some research of your own!

Written by Lori Brandt