We’ve all felt it. The racing heart, flushed face, rushing adrenaline, clenched fists—anger. Just like being sad or happy, rest assured that being angry is another common and natural emotion, but feeling angry too often isn’t healthy mentally or physically. Similar to other emotions, this flood of reactions is both physiological and biological as you might clench your teeth while your brain becomes more stimulated and different hormone levels surge or diminish. Understanding anger and its root is important to controlling and overcoming the aggression and reactions to follow.
If anger is something you’d like to gain more control of in your life, the therapists at ELEOS Psychology Center can help. Children, adolescents and adults all experience and react to anger in different ways, which means everyone needs an empathetic approach to resolving this negative emotion. The sooner you learn the skills to calm yourself and decrease anger or its power over you, the sooner you can live a happier, healthier life. Whether you’re angry often or simply want to learn how to overcome anger quicker when it rears its head, there are steps to take when anger strikes.
What Is Anger?
As mentioned earlier, anger is just another emotion in a long list of completely natural and common emotions. Through all of this, it’s vital to remember that it is OK to feel angry—we all have been angry at someone or something in the past. Anger can be an automatic reaction to external events, e.g., loss of a loved one, someone rear-ended you, your favorite ice cream flavor is gone at the shop, or it can be a reaction to internal events, e.g., you recall an argument from the past with a friend and become angry again. More often than not, anger is a response to pain, whether that pain is in the form of feeling hurt or sick, feeling rejected or feeling threatened.
Anger can also express it itself in many ways. Angry reactions can be mild, like a small frustration, and you could move past it within a few minutes. However, anger can also provoke blind rage and aggression, which can be scary for both yourself and the people around you. This type of reaction is caused by thinking you need to defend or protect yourself against the person or event that is hurting you.
For example, imagine you discovered a hurtful rumor your best friend told others behind your back. You would most likely become angry. You might want to yell and scream at your friend, calling them names or even trying to hurt them. The root of your anger, however, is the sadness you feel from being deceived by someone you trusted. In this case, reacting with anger and aggression could make the problem worse, while learning how to address the initial hurtful act in a calmer manner could repair the friendship sooner than an argument would.
Reactions to Anger
Many people react to anger in three different ways; expression, suppression or calming. When reacting to anger, it’s important to do so in a way that won’t harm yourself or others. Expressing anger may take shape in the form of yelling, blaming or becoming aggressive. Learning how to appropriately express anger is important to keeping yourself and others safe. This means you must learn to express your anger by stating the problem and what you’d like to see resolved instead of resorting to verbal or physical aggression.
People who prefer to avoid conflict might choose to suppress their anger. This, however, could quickly turn the anger inward. While stopping your angry thoughts in their tracks and thinking about other things may seem like a good way to avoid anger, suppression can often lead to hypertension, high blood pressure or depression when angry thoughts are left to brood.
Lastly, calming yourself in the face of anger means learning how to avoid turning anger inward or over-reacting outwardly. Instead, calming yourself finds a good balance between expressing your anger while controlling your physiological response, i.e., you can lower your heart rate and blood pressure, calm your mind, etc. By learning how to control anger instead of letting it control you, your aggressive instincts can subside for more level-headed thoughts and reactions.
What to Do When You Become Angry
No matter what stage of life you’re in, meeting with a therapist specializing in child, adolescent or adult psychology will be able to help you learn the skills needed to calm anger instead of add fuel to the fire. In order to cool the heat of being angry, it’s important to learn how to express your feelings without getting aggressive or turn to suppressing them. Calming inr eaction to anger and pain can be reached in a few ways.
1. Allow yourself to be angry
As mentioned earlier, feeling angry is a normal emotion to feel. When you start to feel angry, allow yourself that moment to “let it out.” This doesn’t mean to lash out or use physical force toward someone, but it does mean to recognize your anger and allow yourself time to find out what caused you the pain in the first place. If you are angry, pretending you aren’t and holding it inside means your emotions might bare themselves later in a situation that didn’t make you angry at all.
When you let anger simmer inside, it has a great chance of making you hostile or passive aggressive toward the person or thing that caused the initial event. To avoid prolonging this negative behavior, expressing your anger at the start is a good habit to get into.
2. Cool off and relax
Learning how to relax can be a challenge. Many times it takes a lot of practice to learn how to take control of your thoughts, breathing and mood so that you can address and move beyond what is bothering you. Your initial reaction to anger could be to yell or blame, but many times, an aggressive reaction will only make matters worse. Instead, go for a walk and calm down—practice mindfulness, direct your thoughts, and re-enter the situation when you have a cool head.
3. Communicate, communicate, communicate
Similar to expressing your anger, communicating why you feel the way you feel is a surefire way to let your emotions out instead of bottling them up. Even if no resolution is found when you divulge your anger, stating what you feel can help mitigate anger. Furthermore, communicating what you’re mad at and why could help eliminate any misinterpretation or other miscommunication of an event or person. Sometimes we get angry at misunderstandings, and without communication, we never find out what those may be and we continue to feel angry for no real reason
Understand Anger, Unlock Your Happiness
We at ELEOS understand that feeling angry isn’t fun. It can end relationships or ruin reputations. Worst of all, feeling angry keeps you from feeling happy. If you feel like you are angry too often or if your reactions are aggressive or scare people, it’s time to learn how to take control of your anger. While Releasing your emotion, relaxing and talking things through are good starting blocks for anger management, you might need some more help. If you want to learn how to control your anger, or even if you just want to get things off your chest, the empathetic and compassionate therapists at ELEOS Psychology Center are here to help you take back the reigns to your emotions. To make an appointment or learn more about how we can help you when you’re angry, call or message us today.