By: Ari Novick, Ph.D., LMFT
Anger is one emotion we all have. For some of us anger is the primary way we express our needs when we get upset. What is interesting about anger is that it is usually a response to some other emotion we are having. Really give it some thought. Think about the last time you were really upset. Were you upset because someone hurt your feelings? Perhaps it was because you felt blamed or were minimized? Anger is usually a secondary response on the “emotional food chain”. There is usually some other emotion that precedes it. Learning to understand our true feelings that get masked by anger is the first way to understand how we can express our anger more effectively.
Taking a class in anger management can be really helpful. Anger management classes are not just for people that broke the law and get sent by the courts. Anger management classes are used by corporations, managers, law offices, school personal, families and volunteer. Most good anger management classes teach skills that many of us just don’t learn in school or in life. You will learn better ways of communicating so that your true feelings and needs get expressed.
Most anger management classes teach skills in assertiveness. Learning to be assertive will help get your feeling, needs, and mood expressed in the most appropriate way. When we speak assertively, we do it in a reasonable tone, we don’t use profanity, we make good eye contact, and we feel good about ourselves. The opposite of being assertive is being aggressive, passive-aggressive or just passive.
You will also learn ways to reduce stress. When we reduce stress we feel better. We also help increase our life expectancy because high levels of stress over prolong period of time can have damaging effects to our bodies (and our minds). Anger management classes will often teach you the skills you need to identify and mange stress in ways you never thought possible.
Most anger management classes also teach skills in increasing our empathy. When we increase our empathy we are better able understand the feelings other people might be experiencing. Becoming more empathic gives us the ability to not get as frustrated with others and have better insight into our own feelings. Many anger management classes teach these skills. They are valuable because they help us become better working with others as well as having stronger more rewarding relationships.
Other important areas to look for when taking a anger management class include skills in forgiveness, improving self-talk and optimism, learning to respond instead of react, and improving judgment and impulse control. These important skills should be taught in an quality anger management program.
The bottom line is, don’t wait to have anger ruin a valued relationship. Anger is an emotion that can be understood. Bad behavior can be unlearned and replaced with more positive and appropriate actions. The more you can understand about your own anger the faster you will be able to do something about it. Most people let anger control their lives. In many cases anger has ruined lives by destroying relationships and dissolving partnerships. Learning skills in an anger management class could change your life for the better. Enroll in a class and try it out. Getting the help you need could save you more than realize.
About the Author:
Dr. Ari Novick is the founder of AJ Novick Group, a leading provider of anger management classes and training. He is the co-author of two popular client workbooks in anger management and is an adjunct faculty member at Pepperdine University. Visit www.ajnovickgroup.com for more information on their live programs and www.angerclassonline.com for their online anger management classes.