Emotionally Offsides: When Your Anger Gets the Best of You!

09/18/2016 01:49 pm ET Updated Oct 03, 2016

With the football season underway, I reminisce about my college football days as an offensive lineman at Stony Brook University. I trained to have the ability to control my opponent's ‘center of gravity’ against their will to give my team a chance to score.

I can only imagine how it must have felt for my opponent to be controlled by someone else against his will. Being physically dominated unwillingly on the football field must have made him feel disappointed, regretful, upset and angry.

These possible emotional outcomes could occur as a result of competition. A competitive space where win or loss is expected. A mental battle wrapped in physical conflict. As a Licensed Mental Health Counselor, I’ve realized how often clients allow others to control their ‘center of gravity’ in a negative way, causing physical arousal including: increased heart rate, muscle exertion, hyperventilation, headaches, high blood pressure, or a change in mood and stress. When that takes place, without any physical contact, that is the dilemma.

So the next time you find yourself facing this dilemma, here are a few ways to remember what's at stake:

- My Authority -

In mental health, a common goal is often emotional stability. How we engage and respond to feelings that we experience is vital to maintaining our autonomy. When we allow someone to influence our physiological arousal in a negative way, it often influences our thought process. As a result our response and/or overall objective may change in the moment.

Our authority is at stake, so be mindful of triggers in the form of a person or environment that you may be particularly sensitive to. Your response dictates whether you will surrender your self-control to the trigger or overcome that moment.

- My Health -

Our well-being is at stake when we allow someone to get us angry. The physiological arousal that can take place in our angered response can have a negative effect on many areas including physically and mentally. Read more about this in the article “7 Ways Anger Is Ruining Your Health.”

Your health is vital, so it's important to be aware of how you express your anger. You can learn and practice healthy ways to be expressive during those times on your own or consult with a counselor for help.

- My Reputation -

Our reputation can affect how people close to us view us and what they expect from us. When those close to us stop trying to express or share with us due to expected responses such as a short temper or becoming angry before listening to someone, it can hurt the relationship and cause tension.

Keep in mind that your reputation is at stake. Relationships are a big source of our happiness and overall joy in life. While working with clients, family, and friends, I've witnessed how relationships can diminish when they act and respond to others out of anger. You can read more about this in the article “Relationships as a Source of Happiness.”

Just like in football we have to learn how to control our ‘center of gravity’ within our everyday lives. So the next time you find yourself getting angry, take a moment to contemplate what’s at stake and do not jump emotionally offsides!

If you’d like to learn more about receiving counseling or my workshops focused on managing anger with your family, team, students or company, contact me at BreakthroughSolutions.com.

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