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Anger: The Misunderstood Emotion

Woman Yelling

Anger is such a difficult emotion, and it has a bad reputation because of the actions people end up taking when they are angry. However, it's an emotion just like any other emotion. It is there to tell you something. Anger is there to tell you to take action. Generally speaking, it's a signal that something important to you has been taken away, or you or someone you care about has been hurt in some way. It can often be a secondary emotion that comes up because of hurt or sadness too. Typically, there are four reasons why someone may get mad.

  1. When you feel that something isn't fair

  2. When you feel that you have no control

  3. When you feel you are being attacked/put down

  4. When you aren't able to do something the way you wanted to do it, or things didn't go as planned.

So, if you think about it, we have a very good built in system to show us something isn't right. How we go about solving this issue we feel isn't right is a whole different story.

There is a quote someone shared with me a long time ago that I believe fits this so well; though I cannot remember what movie they said it came from. "Emotions are like children, you can't let them drive, but you can't stuff them in the trunk either." In order to solve the problem, you must first acknowledge that the emotion is there, and then manage it. Below are a few things that can help you with your anger.

  • Check in with yourself. On a scale of 1-10, 10 being most angry and 1 being most calm, where are you? If you are anywhere above a 6, it's time to take a break from the situation. You're starting to go into the part of the brain that won't allow you to think clearly or rationally.

  • Change your posture. Un-clench the muscles you are holding tight. If you are able to calm your muscles, it can send a new message to your brain and help you go down on the scale. If you can't do this, you are already above a 6, and it may be best to take a break and do something to actively get the anger out in a healthy way. It can be more difficult to process it, if it is consuming you.

  • Breathe. Sometimes when we get mad, we can breath more shallowly. This means we get less oxygen to the brain, and in turn, makes it more difficult to concentrate.

Sometimes people are angry at the situation, and other times they are angry at an actual person. Sometimes people are angry because of something else, and they may take it out on other people. It is good to let your emotions out, because unexpressed emotions can have a more damaging impact. However, there are ways to let your anger out that are more productive than others.

Some people are more angry than others. Many times this can be due to difficulty regulating emotions and tolerating frustration. Anger can make someone feel powerful, but it can also make you feel out of control. If you are at the point where you are feeling it is interfering with your every day life, it may be time to seek help.

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