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Naming Your Anger

If you’ve read some of our previous blogs, then you’re aware that rage and anger management are topics we like to discuss from time to time. We do offer regular support in those areas and are always curious to see what developments are occurring within that spectrum. Well recently, NPR brought forth a new technique to help people calm their stressors. And this one involves giving your anger a name.

Truth be told, rage can come in many different forms. It can be rooted in regret or self loathing. It can also be a snap instance (as evidenced with the anger people experience on the road). There, of course, is political rage and mad feelings that stem from grief. NPR and Yale psychologist Maria Gendron believe that by categorizing these types of emotions, you can better understand them and potentially overcome them.

“There’s definitely emerging evidence that just the act of putting a label on your feelings is a really powerful tool for regulation,” Gendron told the site. “It can keep the anger from overwhelming you. It can offer clues about what to do in response to the anger. And sometimes, it can make the anger go away.”

The technical term for this practice is emotional granularity, as in specifying each anger variation into its own separate category. NPR revealed that recent studies show this practice to be rather successful. In fact, people who tend who operate in this manner are less likely to shout or turn violent against someone who has hurt them.

Site writer Michaeleen Doucleff helped break it down into further detail.

“Being granular with you anger helps you figure out what’s the best way to handle the situation — or whether you should do anything at all,” she wrote. “For instance, if you are feeling a quick burst of anger, which you know will fade rapidly, then maybe doing nothing is the best strategy.”

The article then went even further, broadly labeling  major anger variations. The first one called out was illogical anger, which is built upon the frustration you experience when those around you make bad decisions. Another was hurry-up anger, which was compared to issues you experience on the road (such as slow drivers or traffic jams). Compartmentalizing those two issues alone can help you take a step back and understand the roots of your frustration.

Obviously, everyone will have their own versions of anger that impact their daily lives. But perhaps pausing and separating yourself from the any type of ‘rage snap‘ can help you lessen the blow.