What can I do to handle my anger?

Anger is normal. It actually is a healthy emotion, when it is dealt with and channeled properly. Uncontrolled anger can severely impact your health and destroy your relationships, so it is essential to get a handle on your anger before it is too late.

To better handle your anger, you need to have strong self-regulation skills. Self-regulation is the ability to process your emotions with ease and is controlled by the frontal lobe of the brain. If your frontal lobe is struggling, you will too. To best manage your anger, you need to have your brain assessed for frontal lobe function and then have it regulated directly at the source, your brain.

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What is the best non-medication treatment for anger?

Neurofeedback Therapy is Best Level support endorsed by the American Psychological Association to help calm feelings of anger that are caused by anxiety. Neurofeedback is also FDA regulated for stress reduction. Neurofeedback teaches your brain to come out of anger mode and reside in a calm and focused mode that inherently feels more relaxed all of the time. It is a long proven, drug-free treatment that used neuroscience and technology for neuromodulation of dysfunctional brain patterns that cause anger. Patients report high level outcomes and enjoy the experience of Neurofeedback Therapy, especially when they do not want to use drugs or engage in excessive talk therapy.

During Neurofeedback Therapy, the patient’s brain is connected to a sophisticated computer system that reads their brain pattern and then modulates it to a better performance mode creating feelings of a calmer mind and body. When your brain is neurologically regulated, anger subside triggers do not impact you as much as they would in the past.

What causes anger and short temper?

Our brains are the supercomputers of our bodies controlling all of our physical and mental states, including anger. The brain has an operating mode known as “fight or flight”. In caveman’s time, this mode would help him run from tigers and hunt for prey. In today’s day and age, research proves that we are put into “mini-fight or flight” hundreds of times per day, whether that be in traffic when someone cuts you off or at dinner when your spouse corrects your every move. This can cause constant feelings of a short temper or anger. Our brains need to be able to cope with this constant ongoing mini-version of a stress response. The best way to do this is to keep your brain from going into, and then getting stuck in, the fight or flight response mode.

Signs of anger problems

How do you know if your, or your partner’s anger is a problem? Many times it is a partner who is trying to help out a loved one with low self-awareness. Quantitative Electroencephalogram (qEEG) Brain Mapping technology is a sophisticated way of telling if a person’s anger is out of his control. The qEEG Brain Map shows you if the brain is stuck in fight or flight, anger, mode. If so, the brain needs to be neuro-modulated so that the individual has greater self-regulation skills that allow for better anger management.

Other signs of anger management problems include:

  • Criticizing, belittling, and putting other people down.
  • Lack of patience, being frequently and consistently impatient.
  • Irritability and short temper.
  • Blaming everyone and everything else.
  • People avoid you.
  •  People walk on egg shells around you.
  • Your family and loved ones are afraid to talk to you.
  • Others think of you as Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.
  • When you get angry you explode or withdraw.

You should ask someone you love to help you contemplate these signs together to see if it is time to get help to regulate your brain and get your behaviors under control.

When is it time to get help for my anger?

If you feel angry, frustrated, and annoyed most of the time, it is time for help. If your partner, kids, or loved ones are telling you that it is time for help, they are probably right. Because of low self-awareness, you may not even know that your behavior is upsetting those around you and is ruining your relationships. The feelings of frustration and unrest that you feel can be a result of an underlying brain dysfunction and they can be improved quickly and dramatically with treatment.

How can I control my anger?

Below is list of strategies to help you to keep your anger in check. But you need to know this first. If your brain is stuck in fight or flight mode, you may not be able to use this list to your advantage. Neurological dysregulation that causes anger makes it so that you can’t use these strategies well. If you have tried these techniques before without success, it is time to get help.

  1. Think before you speak & take a time out – When emotions are high and you are ramped up, it’s easy to say something you’ll regret later on. Take a time out so that you can think before you speak. Literally, tell the person you are speaking to that you need a minute to calm down. Collect your thoughts and say them with as much calm as you can muster up.
  2. Once you’re calm, express your anger – You need to express anger to release it, but there are healthy ways to do so. State your concerns and frustrations clearly in an assertive but non-confrontational way. Be direct but without hurting others or trying to control them.
  3. Listen – Actually listen to the other person. Communicate our thoughts in sound bites. Say a little, then wait for a response. Not only does it keep conversation going toward resolution, it gives you time to calm down and stay calmer throughout the situation. If you find you are talking over the other person and are escalating the situation, time to walk away.
  4. Use “I” Statements – So many times when we are angry, we accuse and blame using “you did this” and “you did that”. Instead, use “I”. “I feel insecure when” or “I don’t like it when”. Talk about how the situation is affecting you, not what the other person has done.
  5. Identify possible solutions – Instead of focusing on the problem, focus on the solution. Identify your triggers and identify fixes. If your kids have messy rooms, close the doors. If Sunday dinner stresses everyone out, have Sunday brunch when your family is fresh.
  6. Know when it is time to get help – If your brain is stuck in anger mode, it needs a push out. Remind yourself that anger will not do anything positive for you, it will only make things worse. Don’t keep trying and failing, get help so that you can succeed.

 How is anger impacting my health?

Research shows that the improper expression of anger and especially the suppression of anger can lead to long term health problems that can be devastating.

Brain patterns associate with pent up anger have been related to anxiety and depression, digestive issues, chronic pain, headaches, heart problems, and high blood pressure. Other brain patterns are associated with poor judgment and impulse control leading to substance abuse, alcoholism, violent behavior and crime.

Evidence shows that anger and hostility is linked with heart disease, high blood pressure, peptic ulcers and stroke. Neurologically regulating your brain has been shown to improve other health symptoms associated with anger control issues such as less pain and headaches, improved digestion, better sleep, decreased substance abuse, and overall feeling of a calmer internal state that increases productivity and relationships.

If you or your loved one suffer from anger issues, call Leigh Brain & Spine at (919) 401-9933 for a FREE consultation with Dr. Trish Leigh in Chapel Hill – Durham. She can explain to you what is at the root of your anger and how you can control it.

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Leigh Brain and Spine is proud to have earned the distinction as a Certified Brain Health Coach Center and is a proud member of the Amen Clinics referral network.