Anger, the raging beast living inside you
Anger is a normal human emotion that comes as a response to criticism, threat or frustration. While its mild forms can include displeasure, irritation and dislike, it can also lead to serious and destructive problems in personal relationships and negatively affect your overall well-being.
What are the causes of anger?
Anger comes instinctively in humans like in any other animals that are searching to protect their family members, to protect their territory or possessions, or as a feedback to any action perceived as a threat. Usually, people get angry due to:
Grief following the loss of a loved one
Disappointment and failure
Teasing, bulling, humiliation and embarrassment
Rudeness or injustice
Physical or mental illness
Stress caused by a factor considered as overwhelming
Withdrawal from alcohol, drugs or medication
Chemically, anger means that the body releases adrenaline and cortisol, the same hormones that are released when people experience stress.
How do people express anger?
It is very clear when someone is angry both by their vocabulary and physical demeanor. Anger is felt in the tone of voice, expressed by the body language and felt as a general attitude. Yet, there are people who are able to mask their anger quite well, letting their dissatisfaction boil and erupt later, usually, in a more unpleasant way.
There are two types of anger: a healthy one and a destructive version.
Healthy anger is the reaction that leads to a positive disruption of the status quo. This means an awareness of the anger itself in order to control it, to explore feelings, thoughts and physical sensations that proceed it or to identify desires and needs. In this case, people become conscious of the cause of anger and analyze it in order to find a solution. When it comes to interactions, they would most likely develop self-compassion, forgiveness, resilience or assertiveness.
Destructive anger is an uncontrolled emotion that can cause health problems if experienced regularly or for a long period of time. Physiologically it can cause aches and pain, a high blood pressure and even strokes, sleep and digestive problems, skin disorders or an impaired immune system. Psychologically, it might lead to a reduced self-esteem, eating disorders, alcoholism and substance abuse, self-injury or depression.
How to control anger
Anger is a secondary emotion. This means that one of the primary emotions, in this case, most likely, fear or sadness, are the underlying cause. Fear includes anxiety and worry, while sadness is correlated to disappointment, discouragement or loss. Both fear and sadness make people feel vulnerable and not in control causing the shift to anger.
When you feel anger starts to grown on you, it is best to pause what you are doing and check with yourself and identify the primary emotion that caused you to be angry in the first place. Addressing this primary emotion will not just reduce the problems created by anger, but would also resolve deeper, maybe more serious issues.
Anger management helps people recognize the underlying issues at an early stage to be able to solve them addressing needs, while maintaining control and avoiding violent and unhealthy outcomes.
Still, coping with anger is an acquired skill. In case you or someone close to you suffers from constant, repetitive anger related issues, it’s best to ask for specialized medical help.