It’s such a dirty five letter word, anger. There it is written and even muttered, an ever common emotion, that can go from annoyance into a fit of rage. Crazy? Not at all. Anger is completely normal and is a healthy human emotion that we try to hide beneath the undercurrent of passivity.
We know that anger can be created by external influences such as bad memories, relationships, arguments, disappointments, shame, or betrayal. It can be set off in some people at any given moment slithering in ways through the conscious and subconscious mind. Dealing with anger is necessary to remain healthy. Researchers have found that not venting can damage your health and create other problems for relationships, and can lead to destructive behavior. It is an emotion that no one wants to chat about or express, even in a healthy manner. Psychology Today shared that “Anger is the result of beliefs that lead you to place unreasonable demands on circumstances, such as, life must be fair. Unfairness exists. The belief that you are entitled to fairness results from the mistaken idea that you are special.”
What is the reason for this thinking? We may have to go back years ago, where children were taught not to express the feeling, especially girls. This was not a proper attribute for a lady and not very attractive. They were told that you were bad for feeling that way, even when there were injustices. This leads to stuffing emotions to the point when they reach adulthood they hide it or become passive aggressive. “Unexpressed anger can create other problems. It can lead to pathological expressions of anger, such as passive-aggressive behavior (getting back at people indirectly, without telling them why, rather than confronting them head-on) or a personality that seems perpetually cynical and hostile. People who are constantly putting others down, criticizing everything, and making cynical comments haven’t learned how to constructively express their anger. Not surprisingly, they aren’t likely to have many successful relationships,” The American Psychological Association cited.
Admit you’re angry and accept that bad things happen. Not dealing with it, could be detrimental.
Stuffing emotions are bad for us, something we do to avoid pain or confrontation. When we don’t express anger it can come out in other ways like depression, isolation, overeating and not eating. This pattern can be hard to break on your own and enlisting a therapist can help you deal with deep rooted and unexpressed anger. Scientists at the Department of Social and Decision Sciences at Carnegie Mellon University found. “Anger can sometimes be adaptive. We are showing for the first time that when you are in a situation that is maddening and in which anger or indignation are justifiable responses, anger is not bad for you,” lead researcher Jennifer Lerner said. Fear and anger can trigger different responses from different parts of our brain.” Admit you’re angry and accept that bad things happen.
What you can do is get rid of old ideas of what anger is. One thing people fear is the consequences of anger. Ask yourself the following questions Psych Central recommended: “Is it true that whenever you express your feelings that this leads to a fight? How do you know with certainty that it will lead to a fight? What alternative outcomes might be possible? Has there ever been an instance where you did express your feelings and nothing bad happened?” You heard about counting to 10? Doing so will slow down blood pressure, breathing, and keep you from making a big mistake, like flipping someone off for cutting you off in traffic. Look at forgiving, and letting these small aggravations go. Walk away if needed. Forgiving will help you from playing the same scenario over in your head! Also, forgiving is shown to be healthy. Holding in your emotions can cost your life by sending fight-or-flight chemicals. The stomach, digestive system and the cardiovascular system are compromised. This can also trigger hives, migraines, overall pains, and anxiety.
Have you heard of cognitive restructuring? The APA explained that it means changing the way you think and changing your language in order to allow logic into play. Logic meaning, stuff happens and it is not the end of the world. Watch your words. “Be careful of words like “never” or “always” when talking about yourself or someone else, or “This !&*%@ machine never works,” or “you’re always forgetting things” are not just inaccurate, they also serve to make you feel that your anger is justified and that there’s no way to solve the problem. They also alienate and humiliate people who might otherwise be willing to work with you on a solution.” Allow a change in mindset to happen, and take place to live in the present. Everything will take time, but having more tools at hand will make dealing with emotions a lot better. Exercising helps deal with anger as well. Go for a run or walk, when anger is brimming to the point where it can have lasting damage. If this doesn’t work distract yourself with a game or puzzle to bring down emotions. Katherine Kueny, PhD, director of behavioral medicine at the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha told clients to also read, cook, or take a deep breath before engaging in any interactions or problem solving as reported by Health.com. “Reacting is based on emotions. It’s almost automatic. Our emotions feel very real but they’re not always rationale,” said Kueny. “When we respond we’re choosing how to respond and we’re cognitively thinking through what we want to have happen and what the best way is to make that happen.” Jotting thoughts down will allow you to slow down, and we will take it. Although these suggestions are not a magic potion to an anger free life, they are pretty practical and universal. You can feel empowered when you’re angry, and learn not be a victim anymore. Next thing you know, the word anger will come out more naturally, without shame or disdain. How do you cope with anger? Share with us ways that work for you.