Experts: Anger a choice that can be controlled

JOHNSTOWN – Feelings of anger are common, but there are ways to control anger, experts in anger management say.

Anger is a choice, and each person can control how he or she feels, says Wendy J. Chirieleison, community health educator with Nathan Littauer Hospital.

Chirieleison last week gave a presentation about anger management at a program presented by HealthLink, Littauer’s wellness education center, at the Fulton County YMCA.

The presentation focused on ways to deal with anger.

In the presentation, Chirieleison pointed out that anger is an emotion everyone feels. What people do with those feelings is what counts.

“Anger is a choice that we make based on feelings” stated Chirieleison. “Feelings are then turned into actions, and a lot of time those actions are negative.”

The first step to controlling anger is to recognize when anger is taking place. Then, the person can use distractions or try to change thoughts to control anger.

“Change your thoughts, change your behavior,” Chirieleison said.

“Trying to be positive in a difficult situation is more work,” she said. “It’s easy to be depressed or be angry, but you feel better when you allow yourself to think differently, and it improves your whole life.”

Learning how to tell people what feelings are going on can also be very effective. Use “I statements,” which connect feelings to an issue or event, to help come up with a solution, she said.

It is also important to remember that only you can make you angry. Keeping that in mind is a key component to dealing with anger, she said.

“I don’t have to let anyone have an effect on me,” said Sue Cridland, Littauer’s director of community education.

A saying that Cridland repeats in her head is, “I don’t have to let someone else’s bad day become my bad day,” she said.

The anger management course was a springboard for a program called Family Focus.

The new program will focus on ways to strengthen families.

Among the topics will be decision making, nutrition and budgeting.