By Martin Hogg

Anger is often the symptom that is caused by a vicious cycle of another symptom or symptoms. I don’t think that I have ever spoken to anyone suffering from anger who has not had a cause for this, for whatever reason. At no time has anger simply been there without any logical explanation.

Over the past two years, the number of people I have spoken to with anger issues resulting from a loss of their job -or not being able to find one in the first place- has greatly increased. This job loss -or no job at all- and more importantly the stress that this creates is a major cause of anger in many of my clients.

Taking this example; the vicious cycle that often forms is clear to see. Firstly there is the initial shock of loosing the job – then the stress that arises from this – this can then turn to anger – then often a lack of clear thought and concentration, motivation and morale – resulting in more stress – and more anger before the cycle repeats itself.

There are however a number of ways to break this cycle and I will turn to one in-particular within this article. The technique here is to try and do something constructive to stop this stress and anger building in the first place – before we reach the ‘unclear thinking’ stage. Thinking then about the loss of our job – it is so easy to loose hope, build up stress and simply give up. At this stage we will probably be feeling rather depressed, stressed and this has then turned to anger. While we are experiencing this anger, we are more-than-likely not thinking logically and constructively and as such become stuck in this mindset – unable to get ourselves out of this awkward situation.

The advice here is to try and not get to this stage. When the stress starts to build, try and do something constructive. While job applications and other methods of trying to find another job would be very helpful; anything at all constructive to take our mind off the stress and not permitting ourselves to get angry is beneficial. Anything from writing poetry, painting or volunteering are ideal – something where we can see that we are being constructive, that we feel part of, and you never know, something that could lead to a job in the future.

Take Charles Darrow the inventor of the modern form of the Monopoly game. The heating engineer from Atlantic City USA found himself unemployed during the great depression. In 1933 during his days at home he invented the modern day form of the Monopoly board game, with streets modeled on Atlantic City and being on a round board and with small wooden pieces – all made by Darrow. At first 5,000 of these games were sold but the demand was such, that production turned to a local printing works and in 1934, Charles Darrow sold the rights to the Parker Brothers games producer – becoming a millionaire.

This shows that even in difficult times when it is easy to become stressed, angry and become stuck in this unproductive mindset – there are things we can do to help ourselves. By doing something constructive to not get into this situation -or indeed to get us out of this- can not only help our personal well being but also lead to future opportunities that we had not imagined. You never know, it could also lead to something very valuable.

Martin Hogg is the founder of Citizen Coaching Anger Management, a Social Enterprise in Birmingham UK that provides one to one and group anger management to hundreds of people across the UK each year using the Complete Anger Management System. Sister company provides affordable and effective online anger management. Martin also provides training to parents and youth professionals looking to adopt new ways of working with troubled teenagers. Martin is a member of the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) and speaks at conferences and functions about Anger Management.

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