The Difference Between Anger and Anger Management
Anger and anger management are two very different things. One is an emotion. The other is a tactic or strategy. There is a productive and effective way to manage anger but when anger gets the better of us, we often do things we regret. It doesn’t have to be that way.
What is anger?
Anger is both an emotion and a body response to a threat. Perhaps a simpler way to think about it is that it is a signal. Anger tells us when we’re in danger. It’s an instinctual mechanism that protects us from harm. This is a very old tool the body developed ages ago. Without it, humankind would have been swallowed up by the lions and tigers and bears of the world. Anger, adrenaline and all the other physical changes that we experience when we face danger, all make it possible for us to survive an encounter with a predator in the wild. In this way anger is our friend and protector.
In today’s world, however, we are not commonly face to face with a deadly threat like a wild beast. The difficult thing is that our brain cannot always distinguish between a deadly threat and an emotionally devastating situation. This is where we make mistakes. Our bodies go into instinct mode and we get ourselves in trouble.
Is anger good or bad?
As an emotion, there is nothing good or bad about anger. We are allowed to get angry sometimes. It is healthy and normal for us to experience the full range of human emotions. The trouble comes when we feel anger and then feel the need to do something about it. Not all emotions require action. Some things are meant to be felt and then let pass away from our lives without any impact. We feel many emotions every day. Acting on every one of them would create unnecessary complications in our lives. Since anger has evolved as a tool to save us from danger, in some ways I believe that anger is a gift. At the same time, if we act unreasonably in response to our anger it can cause unrest in our lives.
In short, I believe anger is neither good or bad. It’s just an emotion and it’s normal. But what we do with our anger can definitely bring positive or negative consequences to our lives.
What is anger management?
Anger management is simply a process of controlling the anger experience. Many of us feel extreme anger too often, but it doesn’t have to reach an extreme. If you are experiencing anger too often, for too long, and too intensely, anger management is a form of training that helps rein those extremes in to more normal levels.
When people say they have an anger management problem I feel like our society is failing us. Really outrageous expressions of anger come down to training. If you often throw tantrums, my experience as an Anger Management Class leader shows me there are three popular reasons:
1. because you never learned a better way to manage your anger
2. because you haven’t yet experienced the most awful consequences of anger
3. because you have a desperate need to express yourself and you haven’t found a constructive way to be heard.
There are other reasons too but these ones are very common.
How can anger management help you?
Anger management through a class, coach or therapy can help you find your true source of anger, discover a new way to channel that anger and bring to life the real consequences that can come from anger if you’re not careful. The most important thing to remember is that you are capable of much more than you know. If you think you can’t leave your pattern of angry behaviour behind, you are wrong. I’ve seen tough people become empowered by controlling their anger instead of letting it control them. If you’re reading this it’s likely because you are tired of being controlled by your anger. I’m here to tell you that you can put your anger behind you.
Learn about our Anger Management Classes here.