Managing Anger

Managing Anger

The last year has been a challenging experience.  I often hear from new clients that they are surprised to find themselves struggling with new and destructive feelings of anger or short-temperedness where previously they had regarded themselves as calm and in control.  Most are relieved to hear that there is a simple explanation and, more importantly, that we can do something about it.

Anger was one of the primitive responses the caveman had available to him to help him to survive.  Its purpose was quite simply to give him extra strength and energy to deal with an immediate threat – such as fighting off a saber-toothed tiger.

Nowadays we rarely face a threat so immediate and life threatening, but that anger response is still there.  We still feel it in response to a perceived threat, but the threats that we face in our modern day lives are somewhat different…..uncertainty over jobs or finances, worry about health or our children’s education….these things (and many others) are difficult and unpleasant but not instantly life-threatening in the same way as an encounter with a large and toothy wild animal.

Which means that our anger response is not being “burnt off” in a focused and physical effort as it would have been all those thousand years ago.  It hangs around and re-surfaces in ways we don’t expect, and often focused on the wrong target – our loved ones, other people around us, sometimes even ourselves.

So what can we do about it?  Anger can be an overwhelming emotion and difficult to control in the moment.

Solution focused therapy offers a positive and gentle way to gain control of our negative thought patterns and build our resilience to restrictions and uncertainty, helping to ensure that anger doesn’t get a chance to take hold in the first place.