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Anger as a Concept

Anger is a great contributor to mental and physical illness. Anger sometimes leads to trauma and people often land up losing mental balance. The reason I chose anger as a concept is primarily because as a nurse I want to create awareness among people and society and stress on management of anger. Anger is one letter short of Danger. I think the word “anger” and its complements in varied languages of the different parts of the world as based on concepts of anger are very complex in nature. This complexity originates from a number of sources: (a) the metaphors and metonymies that are concerned to the concepts in different languages, (b) the prototypes of anger that different people share in these cultures and (c) the numerous dissimilar senses that the word “anger” and its complements have in different languages. Anger’s definition is determined through the plausibility of its inference. Uncontrolled anger can lead to severe implications and sad results.

Definition and Description of Anger

According to Charles Spielberger, PhD, a psychologist who specializes in the study of Anger defines Anger as an emotional condition that varies in intensity from gentle irritation to intense fury and rage. It accompanies a lot of physiological and biological changes like all other emotions. The heart rate and blood pressure along with the level of different hormones, adrenaline and nor adrenaline rises when one becomes angry or shows angriness. Causes of Anger can vary from external to internal event. One could be angry on some person such as his Manager or Subordinates or on some event such as strike or accident. Memories of traumatic or enraging events can also trigger angry feelings. Internal rage and anger causes back pain and non-structural defects. Our brain produces these symptoms. Many other defects like irritable bowel syndrome, headaches, common allergies, hay fever and asthma can occur due to uncontrollable internal anger.  (Unknown, 2004)

Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) is characterised by depressed or labile mood, anxiety, irritability, anger and other symptoms. It is sometime very severly distressing and debilitating. (Htay, 2009)

The dictionary explains anger as an unpleasant and uncomfortable feeling resulting in from injury, mistreatment or opposition and usually showing itself in a desire to fight back at the supposed cause of the feeling. “Anger is a strong uncomfortable emotional response to a provocation that is unwanted and incongruent with one’ values, rights or beliefs” (Thomas, 2009). This definition emphasizes on the anger-producing situation or incident as “incongruent with values, rights or beliefs” and also emphasizes violation of our rights as human beings. Factors such as sex, race, cultural background, family background, self-esteem and age incluences the degree of anger and its effect on a person. It is a two-sided emotion. It is neither good nor bad.

Anyone can become angry - that is easy. But to be angry with the right person, to the right degree, at the right time, for the right purpose, and in the right wat – this is not so easy. – Aristotle, The Nicomachean Ethics.

Anger can be constructive as well as destructive. Anger can warn one of the problem so that he/she can take necessary actions. For example, when someone breaks one’s gym locker and steals CD player, one will not feel angry. Instead, one tries finding a solution to the problem and will try changing the locker combination periodically. Anger is also useful in changing situations that are unjust or wrong. For example – when people take out processions against diseases and government initiative to prevent those diseases such as AIDS, HIV and Diabetes or against terrorism or any national or international issue. People show anger in a constructive way which helps in a long run. Anger can also be destructive. Uncontrollable anger can lead to broken relationship and lost opportunity. Extreme anger can lead a person to violence and crime.

Through various reading and viewing of Television program, I learnt people manage their anger using one of three main styles. Some people use a combination of styles. People with passive anger hold anger in. This leads to loss of self-esteem, unfortunate relationships break or failure and long-term health problems. People with aggressive anger are often seen overreacting to anger. This leads to loss of respect from others and long-term health problems. People with assertive anger put across anger without hurting themselves or others. They try to use anger as an asset to solve problems.

Anger has been defined in early ages. Anger as defined by Father Lactantius of the third-century is “a motion of the soul rousing itself to curb sin”.  (Walter C. Kaiser, 1996)

The concept of constructive anger is attainment of practical support which includes evidences that it may result in health benefits. Some experts say constructive anger can help improving personal relationships, enhance work interactions and valuable political expressions.

Gregory Kyles says “After seeing many clients in anger management it is clear that the concept of anger as a secondary emotion is the most powerful. I have been privileged to see from those who have a limited education to high level business executives and they all understand this very simple concept. They get it. They realize that more than anything else they must understand that anger is driven by some other emotion like fear, loneliness or feeling overwhelmed. The breakthrough often comes when clients realize that the best way to control the anger is to meet the need that is driving the anger. They also embrace the idea that anger and other emotions are mere signals not a call to action. This change in thinking allows them to develop a level of self talk that allows them to take responsibly for their own emotional needs and meet them in healthy ways. In essence the good anger manager must also be more emotionally intelligent.”  (Todd)


If one is able to understand the meaning of anger, recognize its diverse forms of expersion and its harmful effects or benefits which is the principal step in managing anger, he can manage anger to certain extent and master it by practising controlling it in day-to-day life. There are different ways anger manifests and can be controlled.

Treatment of anger problems is a complicated subject. Assessment for anger problems is an extremely difficult task because of the issue involved and subsumed under the term anger. The Buss-Durkee Hostility Inventory (1957) measures one particular aspect of anger, cognitive hostility, while the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (Green, 1991) can tap such features as sociopathic tendencies, resentment, and “overcontrolled hostility”.  (Potter-Efron, 2005)

Each individual nurse has to take a new stance toward power and contribute ultimately to the advancement of nursing profession. Each of them can create outlets of for anger by listening and by refraining from the feeling od self-worth. Nurse have to be more stronger than before and have to control anger effectively. The should have patience and aways caring attitude toward the patients. Patient can be furious at times but there is need to be someone to calm him down, control his anger and preach him anger management. Nurses play an important role in teaching anger management. Nurse have to learn, understand and react in an appropriate manner that is not against the concepts of anger. Nurses can preach the art of meditation, relaxation, techniques such as using humor and better communications.

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