Chill Out: Understanding and Managing Anger
Sat, April 10, 2021

Chill Out: Understanding and Managing Anger

Anger is a primitive emotion humans experience when shortchanged, when wrongly challenged, or when betrayed / Photo by: Luca Bertolli via 123RF

 

Anger is a primitive emotion humans experience when shortchanged, when wrongly challenged, or when betrayed. It works on a scale from mild frustration to absolute fury, the intensity of which often influenced by peculiar personal feelings. So, what really is anger?

Anger is an emotion represented by animosity toward someone or something that deliberately did you wrong. Science further explains that the capacity for anger is a permanent feature embedded in the brain’s reward circuit that wards off pressures and threats. When a mismatch occurs between learned expectations and actual dealings, the amygdala of the brain sounds the alarm, triggering the adrenaline and testosterone hormones to awaken the fight or flight response of the body. The final reaction is dependent on the prefrontal cortex, ranging from swearing, scowling, or punching.

Anger befuddles reason, making a person more impulsive and blind to risks. Depending on the circumstances, anger can make a person brave or wild.

Why People Get Angry

Concern and fear are common causes of anger, whether about the self or a loved one. Examining the why or what scares you most will help to not provoke or intensify anger. Take steps to dispel the feeling of fear by talking out concerns openly.

Another common cause of anger is the feeling of powerlessness and loss of control. This is especially true when undergoing health issues or being trapped in abusive relationships. In due course, anger sets in.

Grief is an overwhelming feeling linked to pain, hardship, and personal loss like the death of loved ones, loss of a job, or personal disappointment / Photo by: Aleksandr Davydov via 123RF

 

The Anxiety and Depression Association of America estimates that 18% of the total adult population in the United States suffer from anxiety. Anxiety and anger are deeply intertwined. People with anxiety struggle from stress and uncontrollable emotional reactions and may express their stress and frustration through anger. Recollections of traumatic experiences can trigger frustration and angry outbursts.

Grief is an overwhelming feeling linked to pain, hardship, and personal loss like the death of loved ones, loss of a job, or personal disappointment. Those who are grieving may feel that the world is not treating them fairly and resort to anger.

People with low frustration tolerance, narcissism, and competitiveness are more likely to experience anger. Sometimes, the physiological make-up right before the situation may also matter. A nervous person with elevated hormones may be physiologically aroused to anger.

Spotting the Faces of Anger

Words like frustrated, irritated, or hurt are socially acceptable euphemisms for anger. It has many different faces. 

The expression of anger is directly proportional to the depth of care and passion for life stemming from the desire to protect and love. The caring face of anger relates to what matters most that hold value and meaning. This is apparent when anger is used to ensure physical and emotional limits are not violated. Anger in these situations suggests respect and care for self.

People with low self-esteem put themselves down hard, an effective way of turning anger inwards. Minimizing self arouses resentment that builds up to anger, hostility, and aggression. The self-diminishing face of anger becomes a defense mechanism that represses anger within, resulting in hurt and ruined relationships.

The numb face of anger is used to deaden the self. Anger becomes a cover-up for distressing feelings like shame, hurt, sadness, and fear. 

The unrealistic face of anger is based on unrealistic expectations, a dangerous game as it creates misery and conflict. Anger is motivated by the incapacity to accept the real world. Shortcomings and imperfections get eclipsed and others are judged as not good enough.

The addictive face of anger is manifested by turning to some form of an addictive substance or compulsive behavior to lengthily avoid anger. Addictions give instant feel-good sensations that wear out eventually.

Words like frustrated, irritated, or hurt are socially acceptable euphemisms for anger. It has many different faces / Photo by: Dean Drobot via 123RF

 

How to Manage Anger

Anger is a natural, healthy emotion, considered both good and bad that should not be suppressed but managed. The following are some tips to express anger without losing control:

1. Search and investigate the bigger issue behind the anger. Identify the real reason for the frustration or outburst to help communicate anger better. Undertake productive action and exert effort to resolve conflict.

2. Be attentive to bodily warning signs of anger. Being aware of physical signs can help prevent anger from blowing out of control.

3. Identify and understand triggers to avoid pointless stress. Know which activities, situations, people, or places activate anger and think of ways to avoid these.

4. Keep anger in check by stretching and massaging areas of tension, taking deep breaths and brisk walks, and partaking in other physical activities that let loose pent-up energy cool down quickly.

5. Stay calm and take care of your overall mental and physical wellbeing to ease tension and diffuse your anger.

6. Lighten your mood with humor to relieve tension. Try to make a joke about the situation. Put across views without riling the other person.

7: If your anger spirals out of control, seek professional help by attending anger management classes or individual or group therapy.

Learning to appropriately control anger will help cement better relationships for a healthier, satisfying life.