ASIDES: Managing Your Anger

by Patti on April 21, 2008


It’s been said that anger is a response to situations that are not to our liking. Anger is common in nursing homes, and is very common among CNA’s who feel overwhelmed with their work loads. Anger is a choice we make when dealing with people and circumstances we don’t like. Remember that.

Are you letting anger rule your life??

Anger comes out in three ways:
Outward expressions of anger include yelling, screaming or violence, and even less threatening approaches like sarcasm.

Inward expressions include feelings like seething, biting your tongue, or suppressing angry feelings.

The third way to express anger is control and channel it into more acceptable methods of expression.

Who hasn’t experienced any or all of the above feelings and thoughts? I have.

Pre-Anger Episodes are often Physically Felt
That momentary flash of feeling hot, or the quick upset stomach or headache… That feeling like you’ve just been hit. Normal feelings we feel right before the emotional reaction of anger is thought of. These are normal and if we feel them know that a period of anger could pop up very soon.

Anger is a choice! Always remember that.
No one can really “make us mad;” we allow others to make us angry. So if we are choosing anger, then we also have the ability to choose another response. Taking responsibility for choosing to express anger in unhealthy ways is an important step in learning to make other choices.

Know what SETS you off!
At work this might include learning that a peer has called out (for the 7th time in three weeks); the nurse requests another set of VS (at two minutes before quit time); you work through your break because of staffing issues…and so on. Keep mental notes of your triggers for a couple weeks or better, keep written notes. Log it all and look for patterns. You’ll learn a lot.

Figure out alternatives To How YOU react to YOUR ANGER…
Once you know what will set off your anger modes, think about ways to divert the anger reaction. For some this might be deep breathing; for others it might include a quick walk away from the situation; I know an aide who simply smiles every time she feels herself growing angry. She tells me the act of smiling removes the emotion of anger instantly. Other people say thinking about their children or friends or some other non work situation helps. Find what works for you and learn to USE it to check your anger.

The benefits of managing anger are very good: You feel better about yourself and have more confidence; your co workers will respect you MUCH more and will often model you’re behavior and skill; people will like to be around you…since you’re the calm and cool and collected person! Who wants to be around bitter, miserable and hot headed people all the time?

You will also physically feel better- it takes a lot out of us to be angry. Anger and stress go hand in hand- both of these can lead to physical problems. No one wants this. Drop the anger response and see what else you can do in those situations. You’ll be a better person if you do.

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