Anger is an emotional state that can vary in its intensity, from irritability to rage. It causes both physiological and biological changes – the blood pressure goes up and also the level of hormones and adrenaline will rise. Anger can be the result of both internal and external factors. We can feel angry at someone or a situation, but we can also feel it towards ourselves. Anger can also be triggered by previous trauma experiences or other memories which haven’t been processed previously.
Anger like all emotions has an important role to play in one’s self-regulation. It’s a sign that someone has crossed our limits. Anger also helps us to protect ourselves. Sometimes there can be a secondary emotion behind the anger that we may not be willing to feel.
Anger is a natural response to a threat. It can lead people to aggressive feelings and behavior that help us to fight and defend ourselves in the situations where we are attacked. People use different conscious and unconscious ways to deal with anger. Some people express it directly and spontaneously when it emerges. Others are used to repress it and turn the anger against themselves. Three main coping mechanisms are expressing it, holding it back, and calming down. Expressing anger constructively requires assertive communication. It’s important to express one’s needs clearly and in a polite way. If anger is not expressed at the right moment it can lead to hostility in a longer perspective. Repressed anger can also cause health problems. When the emotion is processed and expressed in a healthy way the person can calm down.
Find ways to release tension. You can try breathing exercises. There are some examples below:
Try to find ways to express your anger physically without hurting yourself or others. You can stamp your feet or lie down and hit the ground with your arms and feet. It’s important to find a way that wouldn’t hurt you or the others. The suitable way is different for everybody – some people like boxing and others running. Find the activity that is most convenient for you.
Pay attention to your thoughts. We may intensify the anger with our thoughts. Try to observe your thoughts and use mindfulness techniques to create some distance and contemplate them with more clarity. Our thoughts probably become black and white and more extreme when we are angry.
Anger is a message that an important value is threatened or someone has crossed out limits. Therefore it is important to identify what our specific needs are and then express them clearly with an “I-message” without blaming or attacking others