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Anger Management: Overcoming Maladaptive Behavior Patterns

Anger Management: Overcoming Maladaptive Behavior Patterns

Anger is a natural human emotion. We may feel angry when stressed, triggered, or otherwise overwhelmed. Unfortunately, many people are not taught how to respond to anger when they experience it healthily. As a result, anger may leave you in a hostile emotional state, informing the development of maladaptive behavior patterns and associated consequences. If you struggle with anger, you are not alone. Learning to express anger healthily and overcome the problematic behaviors that unresolved anger may cause can be beneficial.

Tolerating Stress

Every person has a different tolerance for stressful situations. For example, you may know someone who responds well to major inconveniences. On the other hand, you likely know someone who becomes aggravated due to minor inconveniences, such as the check-out line at the grocery store being too long. Wherever you find yourself in your tolerance of stress and feelings of anger, it is important to have compassion for yourself. 

Everyone comes from unique life circumstances. Many people who struggle with anger and maladaptive behavior patterns experienced a variety of stressful circumstances in their life that have caused them to respond in such ways. This may be the same for you. You have likely adopted maladaptive behavior patterns to protect yourself from challenging circumstances and hardships.

Learning how to tolerate stress and feelings of anger effectively takes time. Doing so will require you to embrace change, which can be uncomfortable. However, by reading this, know that you are already taking steps to alter problematic feelings of anger in your life actively. 

Signs & Symptoms of Anger

Emotions can be hard to categorize. How would you know that anger is a problem if you don’t know what symptoms define it? The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) highlights several symptoms that you may experience as a result of anger:

  • Increased heart rate
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Muscle tightness
  • A significant release of adrenaline, giving you energy
  • Faster breathing and shortness of breath
  • Problems with digestion
  • Insomnia and other sleep issues

Health Risks of Anger

SAMHSA explains that anger can have many benefits, such as serving as a motivator for change in your life. However, when anger is not properly addressed and managed, it can lead to various health issues. Some of these health risks include, but are not limited to:

  • Heart disease
  • Long-term problems with digestion
  • High blood pressure
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Headaches
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Increased risk-taking behavior, such as alcohol and drug use

Addressing Maladaptive Behavior Patterns

Unresolved feelings of anger can inform all types of maladaptive behavior patterns. Additionally, a positive correlation exists between increased anxiety and maladaptive coping. Some examples of maladaptive coping strategies include self-harm, substance abuse, and binge eating. However, it is essential to recognize that any behavior can become maladaptive when it interferes with your physical, emotional, or social well-being. 

The first step in overcoming maladaptive behavior patterns associated with anger is identifying them. Reflect on a stressful situation that happened to you recently. Ask yourself the following questions: 

  • What triggered your anger? Was it the situation or the circumstances?
  • How did you respond?
  • What were the consequences of your actions?
  • How could you respond better in the future?

Reflect on these questions as you consider other triggering experiences in your life. If you become increasingly angry as you reflect on your past, reaching out for professional support can be helpful. There are virtual therapy options available at the touch of your fingertips! 

Overcome Anger and Maladaptive Behaviors With Mindfuli

Seeking professional help for emotional distress no longer requires walking into a treatment facility. With Mindfuli, you can receive social and emotional support through chat and real-time video. Rather than feeling alone in what you are experiencing, the staff at Mindfuli can guide you in overcoming maladaptive behavior patterns that may result from anger. 

In addition to seeking and utilizing professional help, there are many things you can do to foster positive anger management in your life. The National Library of Medicine recommends the following strategies for anger management:

  • Pay attention to the things that trigger your anger. This can help you plan for potential triggers and prepare for future reactions. 
  • Alter your thinking. When we are angry, we often view life in extremes. In a stressful situation, alter your thinking by avoiding all-or-nothing thinking. Instead, recognize your current situation is stressful and step back.
  • When in doubt, focus on your breath. When faced with conflict, we may feel our maladaptive behaviors are uncontrollable. However, when we feel powerless, we can focus on our breath. Practice slowed and controlled breathing as a form of relaxation and stress management. 
  • Strengthen your communication skills. It is common for us to get angry amidst social interactions. Still, it is essential to recognize that conflict is normal. Practice active listening rather than listening to respond. Learn new communication skills in therapy or online to react calmly to anger when it happens in your life. 

At Mindfuli, we understand how challenging it can be to healthily navigate anger and potentially maladaptive behaviors that may develop as a result. Learning how to identify feelings of anger when they surface in your life is a great place to start in overcoming problematic behavior patterns. Fortunately, our staff can help you, and participating in therapy has never been so easy. We offer virtual therapy options for anyone seeking support to work through distressing emotions. Talking through your anger and learning relaxation techniques can help you address anger healthily. The therapeutic alliance is at the heart and soul of the care provided through Mindfuli. To learn more about our virtual therapy platform, call us at (866) 973-4415.

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