Anger is a natural emotion. However, as a teen, it might be difficult to cope with anger. Perhaps you simply haven’t yet learned the best ways to deal with anger so that it doesn’t hurt anyone, including yourself.
Male and female adolescents might express anger differently and have different relationships to this intense emotion. Of course, this isn’t true for all teens, but typically society teaches males to express their anger outwardly while females learn to keep anger to themselves, expressing it only when it feels safe to do so.
People, situations, and even past experiences can cause anger to grow inside. Teens who struggle with anger management issues often simply lack the tools to appropriately express their anger. For instance, anger can be channeled towards a challenging project. Anger is a powerful emotion and the energy behind it can be used towards a good cause. Another choice is to move beyond anger, to acknowledge that it exists but not to let it get the best of you. Now this doesn’t mean to repress anger; that can lead to depression and self harm.
Certainly, without healthy ways of effectively managing the power behind anger, it can quickly escalate to aggression and even dangerous behavior. In fact, the result of one’s inability to control anger can lead to damaging one’s relationships at home, school, and work. In extreme cases, failing to appropriately manage anger can lead to domestic violence and child abuse, workplace violence, and divorce. There are many scenes in films and television shows that demonstrate how anger can get the best of people and ruin relationships.
Some of the most effective ways to manage anger include:
- Develop effective coping skills
- Develop control over angry responses
- Increase frustration tolerance
- Improve problem-solving strategies
- Replace aggressive behavior with assertive behavior
These skills can be learned in therapy, from a community anger management class, or through private instruction. It’s important to know that anger, if not managed or expressed, can lead to psychological concern. Anger turned inward can lead to self-harm and suicidal thoughts. Anger expressed outward in an unhealthy way can lead to violence, bullying, and unhealthy relationships.
However, the first step is developing the ability to know what you’re feeling when you’re feeling it. That might mean taking more breaks to be with yourself, using relaxation techniques, and communicating how you feel to someone you trust before letting that emotion influence your behavior.
The skills just mentioned are hard to do. For instance, let’s say you feel stuck in situations that are not under your control. You’re required to do things you don’t want to do or attend events that you don’t want to participate in, such as those at school or required by your family. You might want to cast your anger towards your parents or teachers or school administrators. First, know what you’re feeling. Although it might be obvious that you’re feeling anger, acknowledging it can give you the one or two seconds you need to decide what to do with it. If you’re tendency is to shove it inward, perhaps this time you can express it in an appropriate way. If you’re tendency is to yell and shout, perhaps this time you can channel it by being assertive rather than aggressive.
No matter the source of anger in your life, it’s important to learn how to cope with it so that it doesn’t get the better of you. In fact, anger is a powerful emotion and can cause psychological ailments. If you can find a way to express your anger safely or channel your anger towards your success, you’ll be using anger in a healthy way. You’ll be effectively coping with your anger rather than letting it make dents in your life. And it’s a skill you’ll need throughout your adulthood.