You would probably name fear and anxiety, as symptoms of post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). However, anger is another common sign. Knowing what to expect can help you or a loved one to get the help you need.
There are many reasons why PTSD may make you feel angry. It can be a reaction to past events, or it can be tied to your current circumstances, if you feel misunderstood and frustrated. You may be angry at others or yourself. You may also use anger to cover up other feelings. While anger is natural, it can interfere with your happiness and relationships. It’s important to learn how to manage your emotions, so you can feel more comfortable and in control.
Anger Management Techniques You Can Use:
External events may sometimes be beyond your control, but you can choose how to react. Changing your thinking and behavior can help you to feel calmer and cope with your emotions.
- STAY ACTIVE. Regular exercise reduces stress. Lifting weights or taking a walk outdoors may also provide relief, if you’re starting to feel irritated.
- REST AND RELAX. Your body and mind need time to heal. Aim for 8 hours of sleep each night and find relaxation practices that work for you, like listening to music.
- REACH OUT. Talk about your feelings with family and friends you trust. Let them know how they can help you.
- SLOW DOWN. Anger can make you say things you’ll regret later. Count to ten or spend some quiet time alone. It will be easier to react constructively if you give yourself a chance to cool down.
- KNOW YOUR TRIGGERS. Do traffic jams or uncooperative coworkers make you see red? Plan ahead for challenging situations. Soothe yourself with a cup of tea and rehearse different ways to respond.
- THINK POSITIVE. Look on the bright side. Notice the pleasant things that happen each day. Watch the sunrise, and play with your children. Pay attention to how you talk to yourself. Use kind and encouraging words.Suppressing anger can backfire, but sincere humor helps. Find something funny to say about slow wifi and noisy neighbors.
Other options to consider:
- TRY CBT. Are you concerned about how long and expensive therapy might be? Many experts agree that cognitive behavioral therapy is preferable for PTSD, and it usually requires only a few months to reduce anger and anxiety.
- JOIN A GROUP. You may also benefit from talking with others who have had similar experiences. Ask your primary physician or therapist for a referral, or call a local hospital to ask about what support groups are available in your area.
- KEEP A JOURNAL. Writing about your feelings can help provide clarity. You can keep your journal private or share it with your therapist.
- MAKE ART. Creative activities are another way to deal with strong emotions. Working with an art therapist can give you more insights and an opportunity to discuss what’s on your mind.
- CONSIDER MEDICATION. Your therapist may recommend medication to help you manage anger, at least temporarily
Developing compassion for yourself and getting the treatment you need can help you to manage anger and other symptoms of PTSD. Let it be the first step in helping you to lead the happy and fulfilling life you deserve.
To Your Success,