Anger does not Discriminate.
Aristotle’s famous quote rings true today, “anybody can become angry; that is easy, but to be angry with the right person, and to the right degree and at the right time, and for the right purpose, and the right way, that is not within everybody’s power, that is not easy.” This quote was written over 2000 years ago, and its meaning is significant. In some families, anger is the only acceptable emotion, while other families allow each other to process to determine the real reason behind the anger. Often anger can be just anger, but more often, it is a secondary emotion that shows as a primary one. Anger could be the following:
Anger Warning Signs
You can feel anger boil in your blood. Sometimes, it sneaks up and can go from 0-100 in seconds. While other times, anger festers and builds, piling on from little things until it feels like a volcano erupting within you. There are warning signs and ways to listen to your body to recognize anger. Here are some examples that your body is tiring to let you know your anger is on the rise:
It is common for people to have regret about an event that allows them to show anger (Vermani,2022). According to Vermani. 2022 the American Psychological Association defines anger as “a negative feeling state that is typically associated with hostile thoughts, physiological arousal, and maladaptive behaviors.” Anger can take over and make even the most peaceful people feel like they are losing control of their lives (Cohen, 2020). Anger can create authentic feelings to rise, demand our immediate attention, and push away effective ways to cope with situations, making us irrational and uncontrollable (Vermani, 2022).
Anger can hinder judgment, making the most irrational thoughts seem rational. It can take you on a journey, saying things you regret later, but the words seem appropriate now (Cohen, 2020).
With the Anger Funnel, understanding and processing anger is less complex. Learning to lift the blanket emotion of anger and explore our true feelings leads us to understand better and have greater compassion for ourselves and healthier, more optimistic, effective, and authentic interactions with others.
- Increased heart rate
- Increased breathing
- Inappropriate words
- Shutting down
- Irrational thoughts
- Clenching of the fist
- Curling of the toes
- Irrational thoughts
- Fog brain
- Inability to concentrate.
- Shaking legs
These are just a few warning signs that may occur. However, everyone is different and has their anger warning signs. It is good to recognize your warning signs and what are the first three things that occur. If you can pinpoint the first three things that occur, you can decrease your anger with tools.
Tools for Self-Regulating
Here are some tools that could assist in de-escalating anger. However, as a clinician, I have concrete tools I teach my clients in therapy sessions to decrease anger.
- Take a moment to breath.
- Walk away.
- Get out in nature.
- Remember a time you were angry before and what helped.
- Listen to music.
- Stop, pause, think, reset.
- Give yourself grace.
- Will it matter in a year?
- Are there other emotions you are feeling? Recognize them.
- Problem solves.
- Recognize triggers.
- Put yourself in other people’s shoes.
- Circle of Control
- Reach out to a local therapist for support.
Anger does not allow you to have productive conversations or conflict management. It is essential to recognize your anger and calm down before addressing your specific situation to the party or parties you are angry with. Anger digs down deep and brings out your most primitive self (Cohen, 2020). A more rational conversation could be had with a toddler than that with someone whose adrenaline is heightened from anger (Cohen, 2020). Rage may be seeping through for fear of hurt or rejection or unjust, unfair things that may occur in current situations. Self-regulating is necessary when faced with rage and anger that could lead to aggression (Firestone, 2022). Anger is a primary human emotion, like happiness, fear, loneliness, and joy. However, it is critical to manage anger so it does not create more significant problems because it is easy to lose yourself in your anger if you cannot self-soothe (Firestone, 2022).
You Are Not Alone
You do not have to go through anger issues alone. There is help there. A local therapist can provide you with skills to assist in self-regulation. Anger support groups can also assist you in learning how to de-escalate. Take time to recognize your needs and make sure you are doing the best thing to help you feel in a more regulated state of being.
Cohen, I, 2020, How to Manage Your Anger. Tips on Taming your Tantrums. Psychology Today
Firestone, L, 6 Tips for Dealing With Your Anger. These helpful, principles can transform the way you deal with anger. Psychology Today
Vermani, M, 2022, Understanding and Processing Anger. Looking beneath the “blanket” of anger can lead to deeper understanding. Psychology Today