Anger is an emotion that everybody experiences. We all have trigger points that make us angry or cause us to feel hostile towards an event, situation or person. However, we need to learn to recognise the difference between healthy anger towards an unjustified position and prolonged, dangerous anger issues that we cannot control.
It often helps to create a dialogue about this with loved ones, as they are the ones who see the real us, and they can help assist us the best if we feel like we are anger. Anger issues can cause problems between families, but we make room for far greater understanding between us by opening up about what we are facing.
Symptoms of Anger Problems
When we experience anger, we may experience a change in heart rate, muscle tension and breath. This is standard when we become angry, but maintaining such feelings over a more extended period can be detrimental to our health.
Some signs that our anger may not be typical:
- Our anger is affecting our relationships and social life.
- We were feeling as though we are struggling to hold in our anger.
- Intense negative thought
- Feeling hostile
- Causing arguments as a way of releasing our anger
- Becoming physically violent as a result of anger
- Becoming hostile or threatening
- I am feeling compelled to act dangerously or recklessly when angry.
Often anger presents itself differently in men and women. It is often assumed that men deal with anger far more due to their more apparent symptoms of rage, but women too can have anger issues that need dealing with. Struggling with anger is less to do with gender and more to do with the individual’s psychological problems and life experience.
As a result, it can sometimes be tricky to identify with certainty whether somebody has a problem with anger or not. Men experiencing anger might exhibit name-calling, react badly to questions, have a short temper, push loved ones away, lack patience, act self-centred, and be unable to open about emotions. Women too might use name-calling to deflect anger and avoid others, blaming others, thinking that everything is wrong. If we recognise these in ourselves or others, it may mean an anger issue.
From time to time, prolonged anger can lead to anxiety problems. Anxiety can result in debilitating physical symptoms as well as feelings of fear.
Remember that the first step in dealing with the problem of anger is recognising and acknowledging it. Often the biggest issue is denying that there is truth in the fact that we have a problem.
Causes of Anger
The proximate cause of anger is usually a situation or event that we feel should have occurred differently and a feeling of rage that we could not change the outcome. The stress and emotion triggered by this can lead us to feel psychologically out of control. Often, we feel like we have been mistreated like we did something wrong, like we were lied to. All these judgement-based situations can enable us to feel angry. We are mad as a result of having our preconceived notion of what ‘should’ happen altered.
Many of the issues we regularly face in life can cause significant anger. From stress about work or family to finances. Early trauma can also shape how a person forms a relationship to anger, which is worth noting.
Anger can be a symptom of depression, characterised by persistent feelings of sadness and lack of interest in things you once enjoyed. Occasionally, anger can be the result of one of these underlying disorders.
Fatigue is a recognised cause of anger. If we feel as though we aren’t accomplishing what we want or too tired to act effectively, we may feel angry at ourselves and our inability to achieve what others can. When we disempower ourselves like this, we feel less like ourselves, and as a result, often anger can take over.
Occasionally anger may have a neurological cause. If you find yourself periodically angry with no apparent reason, it is best to consult a qualified health care practitioner.
Everybody has unique triggers for anger, often the situations which make us feel threatened, frustrated or powerless. It can be people, events or uncontrollable situations that make us angry to different degrees.
Anger and Health
There is serious evidence that anger is bad for our health. Feelings of rage increase our risk of heart disease, and after an outburst, we are far more likely to have a heart attack or stroke. Physical signs of anger are also ominous for our bodies, such as clenching the jaw or grinding.
How to Effectively Deal with Anger
If our anger is related to fatigue, the best thing we can do is get rest and be kind to ourselves. Some empathy towards our situation and struggle can do us a world of good resetting and allowing ourselves to try again. When we are less tired, we will be able to process emotion better.
One essential lesson we can take from anger is that we need to have a flexible view of life’s outcomes. We cannot assume that one specific thing will happen because it is likely that it won’t. By letting go of preconceived judgements, we can prepare to face less anger.
Guided meditation can be an effective tool for coping with our anger by teaching us to methodically process our thoughts from a distance and observe the sensations they cause in us. This can be very effective for controlling both what makes us angry and how we let anger affect us.