What is Anger?

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What is Anger Is Often Misunderstood

What is anger is often misinterpreted as cause rather than response. Anger is a reaction to a stimulus. Stimuli can initiate various responses and what may trigger anger in one person may have no effect on another.

One person may be totally “destroyed” by a trigger; another may have no difficulty dealing with it. Effective anger management control desensitizes the impact of the trigger.

Common triggers for child anger are frustration, irritation, and annoyance (e.g., I am angry because being at school frustrates me. I am angry because my brother keeps annoying me. I am angry because it is irritating that I always have to do the dishes). The stimuli generate feelings of being unjustly wronged or manipulated.

Anger can also be a natural self-defense method used when a person fears risk or pain.

Anger is a response to the brain’s processing of outside stimuli. The amygdala (our reptilian defense response network) and the cortex of our brain work in unison to determine what is considered an experienced or new stimulus. In unusual or new event stimuli, the amygdala receives the stimuli, forwards them to the cortex of the brain, where they are interpreted to be situations requiring a fight or flight response or something entirely different.

A previously experienced stimulus triggers a specific route in the brain. The stimulus goes through our sensory input then travels to the cortex onto the amygdala. When a new stimulus hits the cortex, it draws stored information from past knowledge gained from previous reactions and sends that information onto the amygdala. The amygdala in turn takes the data and triggers the response to the stimulus.

For example, if your child has already experienced a battle with another child for a toy, acted out in either an aggressive or passive form of anger to gain the toy, and was able to achieve the primary goal (the toy), that information of what is anger is stored in his brain. Similar situations in the future will register the same response as the child retrieves information from previously stored data.

This data may have also be generated through observation. A child observing another child or an adult get his way through aggression will register the use of anger as a viable means to get his goal.

Understanding What is Anger Helps to Determine Anger Management

Having a better understanding of how the brain reads stimulus can help us understand the logic behind proper anger management control. A child with anger management issues does not always require medication. Medication is the quick fix for a society that does not want to make the effort looking for healthier alternatives.

There are ways we can help children generate alternate data in their brains so that when they receive a trigger stimulus, they will react in a more acceptable manner.

It is this rewiring of the brain that is important. Alternate ways to promote anger management control is through lifestyle changes and using the power of belief and intention.

Nutritional supplementation in the form of essential fatty acids, especially DHA is also helpful.

Feelings of anger are normal and healthy; they will not be problematic if a child can be shown how to cope with them through anger management,mindfulness,nutrition and exercise.

As anger is a taught response, so is anger control.

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