What causes anger and how to deal with it
Anger is an aroused state in which the mind's attention is focussed on a potential threat and the body responds by getting ready to run or fight. Adrenaline and other stress hormones run round the body, heart rate and blood pressure rise, breathing gets deeper and faster, blood is diverted from the organs to the muscles, and the whole organism gets ready for action. At the same time, thinking becomes more primitive and modern intelligence, a significant part of what makes us human, disappears. It is a primal, energised state, similar in many ways to sexual arousal, so it can be quite addictive.
Why combat anger?
Many angry people will die before their time, of cardio-vascular complications brought on by the continuing periods of high physical arousal. Life may be dangerous and unpleasant, for themselves, their relatives and friends and the people they meet. The rising levels of angry behaviour in society are making whole communities more stressful, intimidating and depressing places to be.
What can be done?
The first step is to find out what is causing the angry behaviour. Anger doesn't just happen, it is a response to something in the the environment. So, what is triggering it? Is it related to previous traumatic events that need to be de-traumatised? If not, what elements in the angry person's life need to be re-interpreted? The Human Givens therapist will do this, and use guided imagery to help the angry person learn how to manage emotional states once they begin, rehearsing staying calm in situations which previously caused angry outbursts. The patient will also be taught how to become generally calmer.
How can people become calmer overall?
Anyone, not just those who are reacting angrily to their environment, will benefit from learning how to reduce their general emotional arousal level. People who regularly relax, for example, tend to have fewer illnesses and a longer and happier life. And there are other things that almost anyone can do which will have a profound effect on mood and well-being generally, reducing stress by attending to unmet emotional needs.
Emotional needs and stress
Reducing or cutting out over-stimulation from television, DVDs, computer games, drugs, and other unbalancing elements of the modern lifestyle will help; learning calming techniques and new ways of responding to stressful situations is very useful; but the main improvement will come from meeting the essential emotional needs in the patient's life. For a fuller explanation see 'what are the Human Givens?'
To find out whether the way you live is making you angry, nervous or sad, why not take the ENA questionnaire — it could change your life.
If you or someone you know suffers from anger outbursts or excessive rage, there are many things that people can do to help themselves. Useful information can be found in the best-selling book Release from Anger: Practical help for controlling unreasonable rage and CD, Effective Anger Management, by Joe Griffin and Ivan Tyrrell.
Explore our articles and interviews
Brett Culham describes the outcome of his research to validate the needs-based human givens approach to psychological health.
The final version of the Emotional Needs Scale resulting from Brett Culham's research into emotional needs.
If people are suffering emotional distress there will always be unmet emotional needs, this is how the Human Givens approach works.
Sheila Barratt-Smith tells Denise Winn that the images and language used to describe birth can determine whether a woman experiences pain — or euphoria.
Why the human givens approach is important for psychotherapy.
Angela Austin describes how the human givens approach has informed her work to create an emotionally safe place where children with autism can learn.
Teacher trainer Andy Vass shows how knowledge and application of the human givens approach could help hard-pressed teachers reduce stress and improve the climate in class.
Therapy in all its forms can be confusingly capricious and unpredictable. We should not try to deny this, but learn to accept it, says Larry Dossey MD.
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In the light of current global events, several people have asled us to make Ivan Tyrrell's fascinating free webinar available once more – you can now watch it online, read on for details...
Understanding extremism in the Syrian conflict through the prism of 'Human Givens' - Thursday 16th March 2017 in Cheltenham