Although anger is a normal human emotion, when it feels unrelenting and persistent, it could indicate something more, like stress or anxiety. You can be angry. Life doesn’t always go as planned and getting angry when you feel wronged is normal.
In fact, anger is one of the most fundamental emotions and is necessary for survival. Your biological threat responses can be activated by anger, including your cardiovascular and neurological systems. However, anger that is persistent, excessive, or uncontrollable may exceed levels that are constructive and instead make it difficult for you to go about your daily activities.
How widespread are issues with anger?
According to a Mental Health Foundation survey, 32% of respondents said they had a close friend or family member who struggled with anger management, and 28% of respondents admitted to worrying about their own anger at times.
Even though anger issues can negatively impact our relationships with family, co-workers, and friends, the majority of those who struggle with them don’t seek assistance. Fifty-eight percent of respondents to the same Mental Health Foundation survey said they were unsure of where to look for assistance.
Sometimes people fail to see how their anger affects both them and those around them. They might believe that other individuals or things are the real issues.
I’m angry, but why?
There are numerous reasons why you might feel angry at the time, but chronic anger may have underlying causes.
Tavi Hawn, a clinical social worker with a license from Baltimore, Maryland, explains that persistent anger can be brought on by active, compounded, or unresolved grief.
Hawn claims that the need to work constantly in our society prevents many people from having the time or space to grieve. Unresolved grief can result from continuing to move forward without stopping to process a loss. If others around you also fail to acknowledge the loss, this can lead to persistent feelings of anger.
While there may be a variety of underlying factors that lead to anger, Dr. Juli Kramer, a counseling psychologist, suggests that expectations are frequently the root of persistent anger. From her counseling experiences, she claims that the main source of anger is holding expectations. “Expectations aren’t always reasonable…When those expectations aren’t met, people feel constant ‘let down.’”
Los Angeles-based licenced clinical social worker Joni Ogle provides a list of several regular causes that, if they persist for a long time, can make you feel perpetually angry. Examples of persistent stressors are feeling powerless or helpless, being made to feel inferior, not feeling heard, being disrespected, or feeling threatened.
However, she cautions, “If you find that you are angry almost all the time, it might be worthwhile to think about whether there are other underlying issues at play.”
What symptoms indicate anger?
Anger can be submissive, self-assured, or violent. It doesn’t always have to be violent or hurt someone. Everyone has a unique way of experiencing and expressing anger.
Common indications that you might be angry include:
- an increased core temperature
- pounding heart
- skeletal tension
- chest constriction
- clenched jaw
- flushed skin
- physical expression of rage (e.g., throwing or breaking objects, physical violence)
You might also catch yourself thinking about getting even, seeking justice, or needing atonement.
Anger and psychological disorders.
Sometimes, unrelenting rage can be a sign of a mental illness. While issues with emotional control can be a sign of a number of ailments, according to Ogle, anger frequently relates to:
- anxiety disorders
- bipolar disorder
- borderline personality disorder
- disorders caused by drug use
Anger and aggression may also be present in conduct disorders like intermittent explosive disorder (IED) and oppositional defiant disorder (ODD). It’s crucial to consult a mental health expert if you experience chronic anger so he or she can help you determine whether you have a mental health issue that may be a factor in your anger.
When you are angry and out of control.
Even though it’s normal to feel angry, unchecked anger can have a negative effect on your life. Because we are unpleasant to be around or because our anger can be stressful to others, Hawn says, “people may start to avoid us.”
The ability to compromise, which is essential in relationships, may become more difficult. For those around us, explosive anger can be frightening and even be a sign of abusive behavior. It may lead to the end of all relationships.
Uncontrolled anger can have negative effects on your physical and mental health in addition to social repercussions. It may contribute to health issues like cardiovascular problems, diabetes, and eating disorders, per research from 2010 Trusted Source.
Tips for coping when angry.
Knowing why you are angry is only one aspect of the puzzle. In addition to identifying the source of the emotion, coping mechanisms might be needed for relief.
Identifying the true emotion.
When you realize you’re mired in anger, Hawn advises taking a step back and reflecting.
“Ask yourself: Was there another emotion that occurred just before the anger?” Hawn advises. If so, what caused that feeling? How can I acknowledge and respect that feeling? What message is my anger sending me if not that? Perhaps a line was crossed, perhaps I witnessed unfair treatment or injury and knew it was wrong, etc.
It’s acceptable to move away if you frequently feel angry during particular situations or around particular people. Kramer suggests that when you’re angry, you might need to remove yourself from the situation.
Literally, Kramer says, “they [should] excuse themselves and walk away.” Easy said, difficult to do. It is beneficial to have an ally, someone with whom you can share a code word or cues to indicate when to leave.
Kramer suggests box breathing after you’ve taken a step back:
- breathe in for 4–7 counts.
- for 4 to 7 counts, hold your breath.
- for 4 to 7 counts, exhale.
- continue until the anger subsides
Applying relaxation methods.
When you’re feeling angry, there are a number of relaxation techniques that can help you calm down, according to Ogle: “Experience activities like yoga, meditation, or deep breathing.” This is a good place to start when learning how to manage your overall anger.
Changes in behavior and outlets.
Ogle suggests that making a few lifestyle adjustments can aid in managing your anger. She explains that eating well, getting enough sleep, and exercising frequently can all help to lift your spirits and lower your stress levels. When you’re wondering why you are so angry, you can also use exercise, art, leisure activities, and sports as outlets.
On occasion, a mental health professional’s support and wisdom are needed in the case of anger. You can explore effective coping mechanisms and learn about the underlying causes of your anger by working with a Christian counselor.
Joining online or live support groups where anger control techniques are discussed in a compassionate environment may also be beneficial to you.
Is it acceptable to vent?
Yes. It’s acceptable to vent. It’s crucial to find a way to express your rage, whether that be through journal writing or speaking with a friend, advises Ogle. Venting enables you to release your anger in a healthy and controlled manner without endangering yourself or others.
But if you use venting to hurt or lash out at others, if it makes you feel even angrier, or if it becomes a regular coping mechanism, it may not be helpful.
The first indication that your anger has lingered longer than it should is when you ask yourself, “Why am I so angry?” Although there are numerous causes for why anger becomes a recurring emotion in your life, socioeconomic factors, ongoing stressors, and underlying mental health issues all may be involved.
Long-term anger can have a negative effect on your physical and mental health, but coping techniques and professional support can help. Get in touch with us if you need counseling to help control anger outbursts.
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