Let’s say, for whatever reason, it’s hard at home. Maybe your parents recently divorced, or perhaps one of your parents recently remarried and you’re living with a stranger, who wants to call you his son. This could be a source of anger, frustration, and even oppression.
Anger is a common emotion during adolescence. When you’re developing your own individuality and unique expression, you might perceive your parents or other forms of authority and their rules as oppressive. It might feel as though your individual expression is being stifled.
Similarly, you might 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.
Furthermore, the adolescent stage of life is commonly a time to recognize the mixed messages that society, parents, and authority figures send. For instance, there are many ways in which society represses the authentic expression and natural instincts of its citizens, and yet, adolescence is a time for getting in touch with who you are. Adolescent anger is a part of growing up, and making sure it doesn’t control behaviors is the most important part to focus on.
Also, let’s face it; adolescence is an awkward time. You might still feel childish and play foolish games with your younger siblings. At the same time, you might feel the expectations from your parents to make mature choices, as well as the expectations you place on yourself. This inconsistency and having a hand in both childhood and adulthood can lead to frustration and anger. And if that alone is not a source of anger, the social pressures to look good, fit in, and uphold a certain image can trigger anger as well.
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.
Below are some suggestions to cope with anger and to work with it in a way that’s healthy. 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.
Take a break from technology. – Distancing yourself from the television, computer, phone, and Ipad can help with staying in touch with your present experience. It can also help with connecting with your senses and your inner experience. The amount of stimulation that technology provides keeps us from feeling.
Turn on some relaxing music. – When you’re feeling stressed, create a relaxing environment. If you’re at home, feeling overwhelmed by the amount of schoolwork you have, turn on music that will relax the mind and body. Even while you are at school, you can ask to leave class for a few minutes, plug in your earphones and play some soothing music. Music is a tool that can dramatically alter your inner experience.
Focus on your breathing. – If you’re standing in line or waiting for someone to arrive, take a moment to put your attention on your breath. You might have the urge to send a text or make a call. Instead, use those few minutes to stay present with your breathing and your body.
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 channel your anger towards your success in school, your career, or towards making a difference, you’ll be using anger in a healthy way.
Segal, J. & Smith, M. (Feb 2014). Emotional intelligence (EQ): Key skills for raising emotional intelligence. Retrieved on March 27, 2014 from: http://www.helpguide.org/mental/eq5_raising_emotional_intelligence.htm
By Robert Hunt
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