Relaxation News by Laurie H. Miller, C.C.H.

Controlling Anger

Issue 28 – February 2007

Laurie’s Notes

Dear Clients,

relaxationI chose a subject for this newsletter that most people do not like to talk about.

We all experience anger however, there is a big difference between discharging anger and expressing anger. I think it is important to know the difference.

When I was a kid and got mad, I’d stomp up the hall into my bedroom, slam the door and brood. Talking about my anger or feelings was not part of my young experience. Over the years it has changed through self understanding, new skills, education, and experience, which I gladly share with you.

Get in control of your anger and 2007 will be a year of peace, prosperity, fun and happiness for you!

Take care, Laurie


Before it controls you!

Anger is an emotional state that varies in intensity from mild irritation to intense fury and rage. It is accompanied by physiological and biological changes in the body. Anger can be caused by both external and internal events. It can be triggered by a specific person, event, or caused by worrying or brooding about your personal problems. Memories of past traumatic events can trigger angry feelings.

The instinctive, natural way to express anger is to respond aggressively. It is a natural adaptive response to threats and inspires powerful feelings, and can be hurtful and destructive.

People deal with anger with three main approaches: expressing, suppressing, and calming.

Expressing your angry feelings in an assertive manner is the healthiest way. You make clear what your needs are and how you need them met without hurting others or yourself. You say what you feel in a calm clear manner.

Suppressed anger happens when you hold your anger in, stop thinking about it, and focus on something positive. The danger of this response is that if it isn’t allowed outward expression, your anger can turn inward on yourself. It may cause illness, like hypertension or depression. Other problems of suppressed anger are passive-aggressive behavior (getting back at people indirectly), and cynical and critical behavior. Chronically irritable and grumpy people often suppress their anger.

Calming down inside means not just controlling your outward behavior, but also controlling your internal response. You take steps to lower your heart rate, calm yourself down, and let the feelings subside. The use of hypnosis, meditation and exercise work well.

Please note: When I work with someone with anger problems, I work on expression along with calming down. Because the mind does not differentiate between real or imagined, releasing anger internally (inside the mind) defuses it externally. The source of the anger often neutralizes and becomes less of a trigger, leaving you more in control.

Relaxation: Deep breathing, relaxing imagery or slow yoga can help calm down angry feelings. These methods relax you, enabling you to express your feelings more calmly.

Cognitive Restructuring: This means changing the way you think. When you are angry your thinking can get very exaggerated and overly dramatic. Replace these thoughts with more rational ones. For example: replace “it’s terrible, it’s awful, everything is ruined” with “it’s frustrating and understandable that I’m upset, but it is not the end of the world and anger will not fix it or make me feel better. “

Problem Solving: Anger and frustration are sometimes caused by very real and inescapable problems. Remember anger is a natural response to difficulties. How you handle and face the problem (not the solution) dissolves angry feelings.

Humor: Silly humor can help defuse rage. It can help you get a more balanced perspective and unknot a tense situation. Use a silly imagery like seeing the person you are mad at exactly the way you think of them, i.e., a “dirt bag”.

Changing Your Environment: Give yourself a break. Take a walk, use alternatives. Get away from the irritant for awhile.



Kathe Caldwell, April Sears, Collette Ford, Ashly Wiseman, Betsy Hewitt, Ian Figelman, Scott Peebles MFCC, Kent Wilkin, Wendy Sawyer, Dr. Chris Barney, Karen McKenzie, Michael Demoratz PhD., Sandy Salisbury, Sharon Chiaromonte and Lori Ruben.

Many of the above people have sent me more than one client! Thank You.