Behavioural assessment helps manage anger

Behavioural assessment helps manage anger


‘Violent’ video games depict intentional attempts by individuals (non-human cartoon characters, real persons, or anything in between) to inflict harm on others.

Getting exposed to action movies and violent programmes makes children and adolescents aggressive as they tend to mimic their onscreen heroes. Expressions of anger are also commonly reported among players of online games which portray violence. Children and adolescents tend to express anger when they are disturbed while playing. 

‘Violent’ video games depict intentional attempts by individuals (non-human cartoon characters, real persons, or anything in between) to inflict harm on others. This increases aggression among players at various levels. There is greater evidence of short-term effects from violent video games than of long-term effects. It was found that children who play computer games for two to three hours a day have a higher tendency to express anger than those who play for less than half-an-hour a day. 

The anger is influenced by factors such as emotional dyscontrol, psychological distress or mood disturbance, absence of leisure or social activities, disturbed family interaction, successively losing in games or pressure to improve their ranks.

Anger expression has to be understood in terms of time spent playing games involving violent content as well as other risk factors.

What you can do to manage anger due to online games

Assess the pattern of your online gaming activity. Gauge if you continuously crave playing, are unable to control or log out from games, or play despite knowing the consequences. If all three are present, try reducing the time spent playing games by engaging yourself in other activities.

Identify cues of anger and distract yourself:  Physical cues include increase in heart rate, tightness in chest, increase in breathing rate, sweating, stomach-churning, fist and teeth clenching and physical urge to go towards whatever is making us angry. These physical cues can also warn us that our anger is escalating out of control.

Behavioural cues include displaying anger through clenched fists, pacing back and forth, slamming a door, raising the voice, staring at someone etc.

Emotional cues are feeling abandoned, afraid, discounted, disrespected, guilty, humiliated, impatient, insecure, jealous or rejected. These are the core or primary feelings that underlie anger.

Cognitive cues occur in response to anger-provoking events. When people become angry, they may interpret events in certain ways. A friend’s comment becomes criticism, actions of others are seen as demeaning, humiliating or controlling.

These talks are often represented as “self-talk” because they resemble a conversation with oneself.

Help yourself

Take breaks. It will help you in improving your mood and physical health.  

Relax by inhaling and exhaling slowly. Repeat this cycle five times every hour.

These steps keep you relaxed as well as help you in reducing expression of anger.

(The writer is Professor of Clinical Psychology, SHUT clinic, Nimhans, Bengaluru)