Male, Macho and Mad

There’s been much talk of men and anger. Are men angrier than women or do they just have a more blatant way of showing their anger? Is it healthier to just get the anger out?

We know that men often learn to express their anger differently than women. Women have a tendency to turn angry feelings inward and men are more likely to outwardly display anger with words or actions.

Anger has gotten a bad rap, but it is a normal and healthy emotion. Anger is energy. It’s O.K. to be angry about certain things and it can be helpful. When anger is channeled and controlled, it can be a catalyst for much positive change. When anger is felt intensely it can affect your judgment and cause you to do or say things you may later feel sorry for. It’s not the emotion that’s bad, but what you do with it.

Here are some suggestions for controlling anger:

1. Recognize that you have it. 

Pay attention to your body. What happens when you are angry? Do you feel your heart beating? Are you talking louder? Are you holding your breath? What caused the anger? Were you disappointed, or irritated? Recognizing anger is the first step to controlling it. To help you recognize anger try writing down things that happen that “tick you off”. These are called triggers. Then write your reaction to what made you angry. You may be surprised at how revealing this can be. Sometimes just writing down the triggers will help you to feel better.

2. Cool off.

It’s easy to lose perspective on things when you’re really angry. Your judgment could be affected and you could do something you regret. Try some of these ways to cool down before you react. Leave the situation. Don’t go back until you’re calmer. Work it off. Go to the gym, walk or jog to get rid of angry energy. Let it out. Cry. Call a friend. Write it down. Relax. breathe. Take a shower. Listen to music.

3. Figure it out.

Look at what needs to change and what your options are. Anger sometimes covers up other feelings such as sadness, fear, shame, anxiety, or depression.

4.Talk about it.

Use “I” statements. “I felt angry when I didn’t get to finish what I was saying.” Tell the other person what you need. “I want to spend more time with you. Let’s make a list of what we can do together.” Compromise. Listen to the other person’s point of view.

Anger is a powerful feeling. You can learn to use it to help you make positive changes and deal with problems.

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