When dealing with your mental health, anger is a common emotion many people feel. You might be angry at a person or the world. You might be angry that you are having to deal with mental health battles. You might be angry at your Higher Power or yourself. But what we do with that anger and how we deal with it can affect our lives.
What Is Anger?
Anger is a strong feeling of annoyance, displeasure, or hostility. It can be directed at people and things alike. Anger is a normal response to a perceived provocation or injustice, but it’s not healthy when we allow ourselves to get too angry too often.
According to Samaritan Health Service’s article “Anger Can Affect Your Heart Health,” when we’re angry, our heart rate and blood pressure increase as adrenaline floods our bodies. This helps us fight back when attacked physically. It’s an innate survival mechanism built into all animals’ DNA.
However, this same fight-or-flight response can also be set off by emotional triggers such as being slighted by someone else or getting passed over for a raise at work. Though these situations are much less life-threatening than being assaulted by someone, they still cause enough physiological changes in the body that they warrant some attention if you’re struggling with anger issues.
How Can I Avoid Getting Angry?
There are various techniques you can use to help yourself avoid getting angry, including:
- Avoid triggers: If you can, avoid the people and situations that make you angry
- Focus on positive thoughts: Think about what makes you happy or calms you down—for example, being with family or friends, listening to music, or going for a walk in nature
- Be aware of your body language: Don’t cross your arms over your chest or clench your fists when someone says something that annoys you; this signals defensiveness and makes it harder for others to understand why they may have upset you
- Set boundaries: Set boundaries with others who are likely to trigger anger in you by getting angry themselves or not respecting your feelings
What Can I Do When I’m Angry?
Anger will not always be unavoidable. However, when you are angry, you can:
- Take a break
- Think about what you are feeling
- Use deep breathing to calm down and center yourself
- Talk to a friend who can help you healthily work through your feelings
- Write down your feelings on paper or type them into your phone’s Notes app
- Exercise releases endorphins that will make you feel better physically and mentally
Should I Let My Feelings Out When Angry?
There are two ways to express anger. One is healthy, and one is unhealthy. The unhealthy way is often called “bottling up” or “repressing” your feelings. Repressing leads to stress, anxiety, and depression. It can also lead you to act out in anger, harming others in the process. The healthy way of expressing anger involves getting in touch with the feeling, letting it out in a safe place, then not letting the emotion control you.
You may have heard that it’s best to avoid getting angry because it will just make things worse, but this isn’t true. If someone else’s actions have hurt you, then expressing yourself can help let out some of those negative feelings. This ensures your emotions don’t build up inside of you until they explode later on down the road.
Will Anger Ever Go Away?
Anger is a normal human emotion that can be managed. Anger is not permanent and will go away when the situation changes. It’s important to remember that anger is not a permanent personality trait but rather a feeling that comes and goes in response to certain situations. Once you understand that anger isn’t within your control, it becomes easier to manage those feelings when they arise.
How Can We Help Each Other With Our Anger?
Luckily, there are several ways you can help yourself and others manage anger.
- Listen to each other: You can listen when your friend is expressing their anger; try not to talk over them, but instead allow them the time and space needed to vent
- Be patient: Anger can make people feel like they’re losing control; your friend may have trouble controlling their emotions at first, but that doesn’t mean they won’t eventually calm down on their own or with some help from you
- Try to understand each other: Don’t judge others for being angry; instead of trying to reason with others about why they shouldn’t be upset, try understanding where the feelings come from and working together towards a solution
- Be kind: It’s easy for things like kindness and empathy to slip away during an intense moment; make sure not only that these qualities stay present throughout this process but also that they shine even brighter than before
Anger is a normal human emotion and a healthy way of expressing feelings. It can be triggered by very different situations, and it doesn’t have to be negative. Anger can also indicate underlying issues in your life or with your mental health.
If you find yourself feeling angry frequently, it’s essential to look at the cause of your anger and how you’re coping with it before letting it get out of control. The good news is that anger can be managed. There are many ways to deal with anger, from taking a break from the situation or person who is making you upset or talking about your feelings with someone who understands them. If nothing else works, you can always call for help from a trained professional.
At Acera Health, we want to help you overcome your anger issues. Call us to learn more about our program at (949) 647-4090.
Melody is a highly skilled proactive clinical administrator, with more than 17 years of experience serving the community in the behavioral health field.
Her clinical management career started in 2011 as a compliance manager and program director. In 2018, she became an executive as chief clinical officer (CCO). She is a seasoned licensed marriage & family therapist.