Anger is a natural emotion experienced by all humans. It is the expression of negative feelings that can range from mild irritation to rage. Like any other emotion, anger is neither good nor bad. The way you react when you are angry will have positive or negative consequences.
Anger may be evoked when I person experiences failure, stress, personal loss, humiliation, grief, injustice, traumatic memories or events. When a person is angry, their heart rate and blood pressure rise. It can lead to powerful, aggressive behaviour due to the inevitable adrenaline rush. Anger has a functional value for defense and survival during fight-or-flight periods.
A certain amount of anger is an appropriate response in some situations. However, if anger is not handled appropriately, it can have negative consequences. Uncontrolled anger can be destructive and impact the personal and social well-being of a person, and those around them.
Anger can lead to feelings of frustration, rage, stress, guilt, anxiety, and irritation; therefore it needs to be kept in check and processed when the feeling arises. Controlling anger with emotional maturity is important for overall health.
What Are The Types of Anger?
There are different types of anger, and different ways of expressing it, often dependent upon the cause and how we have learned how to express anger based on experiences and modelling. The common types of anger are:
- Passive-Aggressive Anger: It is the most common way of expressing anger. In this state, people use silence, procrastination, humor and sarcastic comments to express their anger.
- Paranoid Anger: In this type of anger, a person becomes paranoid and believes everyone is targeting them.
- Sudden Anger: This kind of anger feels like it comes out of nowhere. It is an impulsive reaction towards “every tiny thing” that can annoy you and can be unpredictable.
- Deliberate Anger: This type of anger is manifested by coaches, trainers, leaders, activists and managers. It is intended to motivate and inspire their teams and people.
- Behavioural Anger: In this type of anger, a person becomes physical. They might fight or break things.
- Self-abusive Anger: This type of anger develops due to shame, guilt, and low self-esteem. The person talks negatively about themselves and can cause self-harm.
- Chronic Anger: This anger arises from a long-lasting and unresolved emotional issue. The person becomes bitter and spiteful. It can adversely affect their mental and emotional health.
- Addictive or Habitual Anger: People who are controlling develop such types of anger.
- Moral or Judgmental Anger: This kind of anger is aroused due to someone else’s actions that are perceived as wrong or incorrect.
How Does Someone Express Anger?
Every person reacts differently to different emotions, and when it comes to anger, people use a variety of methods to deal with it. Some individuals suppress or contain anger within and react quietly, which can be both beneficial in the moment but dangerous to their health over the long-term, as it can lead to high blood pressure, frustration and depression.
Some people direct their anger towards those surrounding them. They may start yelling at their family and friends and express their anger by throwing something or physically hitting an object. They may become impulsive and violent. They might start behaving passive-aggressively and withdraw, leading to social isolation. If they are unable to control their aggression, they can also get into legal and social troubles.
Anger is a strong emotion that can affect people’s thoughts and behavioural choices. When an angry person shows the following signs, it is an indication they need anger therapy:
- Always grumpy
- Constant irritation
- Regular aggression
- Constant yelling
- Throwing things
- Physical fights
- Low self-esteem
- Causing harm to themselves
How Do You Manage Anger?
Anger can be re-directed in a positive, healthy direction. Controlling anger constructively requires adopting anger management strategies. The goal is to control both the feeling of anger and the reaction after getting angry. You can’t always avoid or get rid of the thing or people who evoke anger, but you can always control how you react towards them.
Here, we are listing a few ways you can practice to relax when you are feeling grumpy:
- Deep breathing can help you calm down. While breathing deeply, you can slowly chant words like “relax” or “take it easy” to yourself.
- You can invoke the memory of a calming life experience or imagine such a scenario.
- Count 1 to 100 or more to calm yourself down. When you count, your heartbeat slows, and you can subdue the anger.
- Remove yourself from the stressful situation and go for a walk.
- Listen to soothing music.
- You can write your trouble out on paper and express your emotions through this.
- Read jokes and laugh out loud.
There are books and courses available on the market that can teach you techniques for controlling anger by relaxing your mind.
- Exercise and meditation: As per studies, exercise, yoga and stretching can reduce anger and calm down your nervous system. You can relax your mind by practicing meditation regularly.
- Communicate with your family and friends: When we are angry, our thoughts and emotions get exaggerated. We come to conclusions quickly, and these can be inaccurate. Talk to your friend or family about the things you don’t like or people who irritate you. Express yourself so that other people understand you..
- Face the problem: There is a belief that every problem has a solution. But bear in mind that some problems make you angry, and you tend to become angrier if you can’t solve them. Instead of focusing on generating solutions, face your problems and accept them.
- Think before you speak: If you are in a heated discussion, listen to the other person carefully instead of responding immediately. Take time before reacting. It’s natural to get defensive in certain situations but don’t react instantly. You cannot always lash out at other people.
Take care of words that can hurt the emotions of others. Do not use words like “always” and “never” while speaking. Do not justify your anger by yelling at others.
- Take a break: Give yourself a break from your day-to-day life. Change your routine. Plan a vacation, give your home a new makeover, or go for a picnic with your family and friends. Take time out from a stressful environment.
- Channel your energy: Keep yourself engaged in a creative hobby when you feel upset. Be it painting, dancing or gardening, a creative pursuit will help calm your mind and reduce anger.
- Focus on the good: When you are angry with someone, try to recollect good memories of them. When a situation is stressful, focus on all the good things you have in your life and neutralize the anger.
- Try to walk in another person’s shoes: Before lashing out at anyone, try to understand their point of view and situation. You may find a new perspective, and you may find your anger will subside.
- Know your trigger points: Learn about the things, people, or situations that can trigger your anger, avoid them if necessary. Change your outlook towards the things or situations that evoke anger.
- Forgive: We all make mistakes. Keeping a grudge or anger inside will only affect your mental peace. Forgive others for their mistakes. It will neutralize your anger too.
- Positive action: If you channel your energy in another direction, you will feel good. Make someone else happy. Engage yourself with something productive. This will be good for your mental and emotional health.
- Anger therapy: However much you try, sometimes anger still feels unmanageable. It may be a part of more significant stresses or mental health issues. Aspects of anger are often found with:
- Major depression
- Bipolar disorder
- Post-traumatic stress
- Oppositional defiant behaviour
- Obsessive-compulsive disorders
- Intermittent explosive disorder
Your doctor may suggest medication and treatment for the above-mentioned conditions. This might be an option for reducing anger episodes.
If you still can’t control the anger and it impacts your relationships and health, then you might consider anger management counselling. A trained medical health practitioner can guide you and teach you ways to handle your anger.
Anger management sessions are available both on and off-line. Anger management books might help you understand the reasons for your frustration and also teach you methods to solve them. Counselling can extend for a few weeks to months, depending upon your need.
Anger is a powerful, natural emotion. The way you react when angry can affect your social, mental and emotional health. Anger can be destructive if it is not expressed appropriately and can lead to violence, aggression and physical harm.
You can work on controlling anger by identifying your trigger points and learning behavioural skills to cope with the emotion. If you are unable to control your anger issues, you can seek anger therapy from a certified healthcare professional.