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Men's Health

Anger Control for Men

Why we get angry — And why uncontrolled anger is a serious health threat
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Controlling your anger

But Spielberger doesn’t want anger to be demonized. It’s not evil. “Anger is a natural, human emotion,” Spielberger says. “There’s nothing abnormal about it.”

He points out that when it’s correctly channeled, anger can be constructive. It can drive people to speak out and solve problems. It’s the impulse behind much great literature and music. The white hot anger of the righteous has often been a powerful, positive force in our world. But the problem is that for every man who uses his anger constructively, there are a dozen brawling knuckleheads who waste their lives making appearances in the local paper’s police blotter.

Since anger is natural, what are we supposed to do with it?

Spielberger says that there are two wrong things to do with it. One is to think that it’s healthy and normal to have uncontrolled anger released in an explosive rage. Some guys just assume that screaming at people, throwing things, and punching walls is cathartic and will make them feel better. In fact, getting into a rage can just ramp up your reaction — making you even less in control of your anger.

Here’s the other wrong thing: to push down the bile and keep smiling. Some men think that any expression of anger is unhealthy or antisocial and should be suppressed.

Studies show that both approaches — noisily expressing your anger or soundlessly burying it — are equally harmful and may pose the same health risks, Spielberger says. But if neither corking up your anger nor blowing your stack is a healthy option, what’s an angry man to do?

There is another option. Let anger out, but control it, Spielberger says. The first step is to become self-aware. Don't let yourself fly into a rage. Instead, be conscious of your anger. It’s the only way to figure out exactly what is making you angry.

Once you can identify the real problem, you can try to solve it rationally instead of getting pointlessly furious. If you’re angry with someone, talk about it in an assertive — but not aggressive — way. If a certain situation predictably sparks uncontrolled anger, learn how to prepare for it. Better yet, learn how to avoid the situation altogether in the future, if possible. The advantage to channeling your anger in this way is that you get a concrete benefit: You’re actually trying to deal with the problem rather than just yelling about it, and you’re more likely to get the result you desire.

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