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Anger Management: Know What Provokes Anger

In order to develop good anger management techniques, you must first understand what provokes anger, and the body’s natural response to anger.  Anger is precipitated by the body’s natural chemical responses to increased physical arousal, emotions, and accompanying behaviors, that result when a person feels threatened, or perceives a threat or loss. The threat does not necessarily have to be a threat of personal, physical harm.  It can be a threat to their self-esteem, when they believe their feelings are challenged or discounted by another.

The body naturally responds to any perceived threat by producing adrenalin to prepare for “fight or flight.” How a particular person responds to these threats is due, in large, to how they have been conditioned as a child or learned later in life, whether with good anger management techniques or negative ones.  Many abuse victims are conditioned to respond violently, and learn verbal, mental, or physically abusive behaviors from others, and never develop positive anger management techniques.  Every person has triggers that set off their anger.

Here are the most common reasons people become angry:

  • Threats or perceived threats to their body or property.
  • A threat to their values (disagreeing with something someone is doing, such as kicking a dog, or not following the rules).
  • When someone insists they do something they don’t want to do.
  • When someone hurts or betrays them, and they feel a loss of trust.
  • When they attempt to escape guilty feelings over something they do not want to feel or admit to themselves.
  • When they believe their feelings are discounted, and their sense of self esteem is compromised.
  • When expectations are not met (realistic, or unrealistic expectations) and they don’t get their way

Recognizing what provokes your anger, or what pushes your buttons, is the first step toward implementing good anger management techniques.

Try to recognize signs that you are getting angry, such as:

  • Heart Pounding
  • Sweating, especially sweaty palms.
  • Tunnel vision
  • Fist or jaw clenching
  • Buzzing sound in your ears
  • Headache or dizziness

When you are able to recognize the symptoms of your anger when they begin, you are much more likely to walk away.  Once the initial adrenaline rush of anger passes, you are much more likely to react with proactive, good anger management techniques, such as discussion, or simply distancing yourself from the people or events you know will provoke your anger.

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