Anger is a universal human emotion. We all experience it, but the way we experience it can be unique to each individual person. Some of us experience anger by our rapid heart rate. Some of us feel our face get hot. Some of us sweat!
Despite the fact that all of us have felt anger at one time or another, it tends to get a bad rap. It’s easy to conflate the effects of uncontrolled anger and the experience of anger. People tend to judge others when their anger results in physical violence or cutting words. After all, when anger controls anyone the resulting behaviour rarely results in a positive outcome for anyone involved!)
It’s easy to look at the effects of anger and decide that anger itself is the problem. But it’s not.
But we should be cautious of confusing the effects of anger with the experience of anger. It’s not wrong to be angry! But it’s also not okay to be controlled by your anger.
In this article, you’ll learn how to reframe your perspective on anger. When understood properly, it can be a wonderful tool for you to understand yourself and your fears.
- What anger is
- Conventional signs of anger
- Signs of out-of-control anger
In this blog, we’ll cover some of the basics of anger before we dive into deeper issues. (Next time, we’ll talk about how your anger is a symptom of a deeper emotion and what you can do about your anger.)
What is anger?
The American Psychological Association defines anger as “an emotion characterized by antagonism toward someone or something you feel has deliberately done you wrong.”
Anger is a feeling. Feelings are important to listen to, but it’s critical to realize that feelings are not facts. You have every right to feel what you feel. But your feelings may not accurately reflect reality.
Anger can occur as the result of an injustice, whether real or perceived. Or, you may feel anger over something that has happened to something else.
Anger results when something that should never happen, happens. We’re angry when we see innocent people put in jail, or when we hear of peaceful protestors being beaten. You may feel it when you are cut off when you are driving on the highway.
Anger can also occur when something that we feel should have happened doesn’t happen. You may feel anger when a waiter or waitress gets your order wrong. You may feel anger when you are passed over for a promotion.
What are some signs of anger?
Every one of us is unique, and so it shouldn’t surprise us that we exhibit anger differently.
Some of us suppress our anger, or try to minimize it. While it’s wise to manage your anger, it’s unhealthy to suppress it. Suppressing it usually backfires. Your emotions are like a stream: if you dam them up, they aren’t going to go away. They’re just going to become more powerful.
Others of us have no issue realizing we are angry and expressing it. We may notice these physical signs of anger:
- Clenching your jaws
- Increased heart rate
- Your face and neck become flushed
- Pain in your head or stomach
We may feel:
- Like you need to run away
- Sad or depressed
It’s important to note that some of us may not ever feel anger. We may feel passive in the face of wrongs that happen to us, simply accepting poor behaviour from others or the world around you. If you suspect this is you, do reach out to us. Feeling anger isn’t wrong – in fact, sometimes it’s necessary! We can help you connect with yourself in this area.
Signs of out-of-control anger
We all do many different things when we’re angry. When some of us are angry, we may raise our voices, or say things we regret. We may feel the need to punch something or someone!
It’s important to know the difference between unhealthy and healthy expressions of anger.
Healthy anger expresses itself by:
- Not blaming others for frustrations or triggers
- Being honest about feelings of anger without using it as a power play
- Encouraging collaboration to solve the issue
- Acknowledging responsibility and/or contributions to the argument or conflict
- Confronting others with gentleness
Unhealthy anger expresses itself by:
- Sulking and pouting
- Using sarcasm
- Avoiding the problem
- Avoiding personal responsibility
- Being too forceful or direct
- Becoming loud and/or abrasive in speech
- Throwing things
- Being physically intimidating
- Hitting or pushing
Again, these are the physical manifestations of an internal emotion that is neither right nor wrong. The feeling itself is not a problem – it’s what you do with that feeling that is ultimately harmful or beneficial to yourself and those around you.
Making Peace with Your Anger
Your anger is an emotional response that can manifest in many ways physically and emotionally. Anger itself is not a problem – but the expression of it can be healthy or unhealthy.
In part 2 of this series, we’ll dig deeper into the roots of anger and discover what you can do about it.
Want to get reliable expertise about your anger? Reach out to us.We would love to help you find freedom and peace.