Anger is one of the most powerful emotions that exists within the human psyche. These days, more and more teachers are faced with anger on a day to day basis, be it from pupils or colleagues.

The physical effects of anger include increased heart rate, blood pressure and levels of adrenalin and noradrenalin.

Some view anger as a part of the fight or flight response as the brain responds to the perceived threat of harm. Anger affects feelings, behaviour, cognition and physiology. states that: The external expression of anger can be found in facial expressions, body language, physiological responses and at times in public acts of aggression.

Humans and non-human animals make loud noises, attempt to look physically larger, bear their teeth and stare. Anger is a behavioural pattern designed to warn aggressors to stop their threatening behaviour. Rarely does a physical altercation occur without the prior expression of anger by at least one of the participants.

While most of those who experience anger explain its arousal as a result of what has happened to them, psychologists point out that an angry person can be very well mistaken because anger causes a loss in self-monitoring capacity, like an objective observer ability.

People who have anger problems will claim that the reason anger came up is because there was some kind of external trigger. Something happened to them or was done to them. What the psychologists are saying is that an angry person can be mistaken about that, because anger brings with it a limited perception of a situation. It’s such a powerful state that they might be misreading those around them. Those triggers probably are not meant to be triggering them to do and feel the way that they are feeling and or to react as they are.

Uncontrolled anger can however negatively affect our personal or social well-being. Many philosophers and writers have warned against the spontaneous uncontrolled fits of anger. There’s been disagreement over the intrinsic value of anger. Dealing with anger has been addressed in the writings of the earliest philosophers up to modern times. Modern psychologists in contrast to the earlier others have also pointed out the possible harmful effects of suppressor. Displays of it can be used as a manipulation strategy for social influence.

Anger is an emotion that we all have and it is one that at times we will all express. For boundary setting, it can be a useful emotion. There are times when it is of positive purpose to get angry because it could be protecting you from something because it could be protecting others for example. If somebody tried to steal your newborn baby as you were walking through the middle of the town centre, you would want your fight or flight to kick in (ideally fight!). You would want to get angry and to show that person that their behaviour was unacceptable.

There are some instances when it is okay to get angry.

Noticing those external triggers really for what they are, as opposed to noticing them and thinking that they’re a reason to blow a gasket takes us to the N.L.P. equation of cause and effect. On one side (or on one hand) you have ‘cause’ and on the other side, on the other hand you have ‘effect’. Being at cause means that everything happens because of you. You are the cause of everything that occurs and you are taking full responsibility for it. Now that applies whether what happens turns out to be good or whether what happens turns out to be bad. Either way you take full responsibility for it.

On the other hand we have effect and this is saying ‘I am at the effect of everything. Everything happens to me not because of me. I am affected by what happens in my life and I am therefore out of control. I’m just at the mercy of life.’

The benefit of being a cause and taking responsibility for everything, be it good or be it bad is that it gives you a greater sense of control. When people have anger issues, control is definitely something that’s going to come up because someone who loses their temper very easily or very quickly is not controlling their emotions as well as they could do.

‘Cause’ allows you to responsibility for how you’re feeling, why you’re feeling it, what’s allowed you to get yourself into a bad state and it gives you back a sense of power. When however, you’re at the effect of everything and you’re on the effects-side of the equation everything is governed by the outside world and you don’t have that power.

You’re giving up your power and saying “well I can’t help it. Everything makes me behave in this way. It’s not my fault” and that’s a powerless place to be leading to more out of control feelings.

I am not telling you that it’s technically true because technically I don’t think it could be. It couldn’t apply in every single instance that you’re the cause of it but you chose to live your life as if it is, because it gives you a tremendous sense of power and responsibility over your own life which in turn gives you back much more of those feelings of control.

People Building in an NLP and personal development training company for teachers and professionals working in education.

For more information about our courses designed to reduce stress in teachers and avoid ‘teacher burn-out’, contact us on 0345 3192 666

By Gemma Bailey