If you’re reading this article it is likely that you struggle with anger. In this case, it is important to know that you are not alone! 45% Of people report losing their temper at the office regularly and a study by Romanov (1994) found that 15% of people scored very high on hostility.
Anger is one of the basic human emotions; we all experience it now and again to varying degrees. However, intense and poorly managed anger can cause distress and problems in your daily life. It can hurt relationships, mental health as well as your work. Think about shouting at your colleague, or acting aggressively toward a friend. Poorly regulated anger can worsen situations and often ends up increasing your anger.
Learning about anger, how to express it appropriately, and gaining insight into it, can have a positive impact on your practical and social life. The goal of this article is to help you understand it, as a first step to help you learn better skills to manage it.
Anger is an emotion that lies on a spectrum ranging from annoyance to frustration, intense rage, and hate. Intense anger can be a very powerful and overwhelming experience. It charges you up and prepares you to take action. It is part of your natural defense system; your ’fight or flight’ response. It doesn’t necessarily make you ‘fight’, but it is an emotion that helps you to stand up against injustice. It helps you stand up for yourself and others if you feel attacked, and make changes where necessary.
You experience anger when you detect that something is wrong, you sense a threat, or if you feel that you are being mistreated. It tells other people to listen to you. Therefore, anger is often also warranted and a very important emotion! Think about important social movements for equality and the motivation to right wrongs.
Common things that cause you to feel anger:
- Situations you perceive as threatening. For example, when someone insults you or a loved one. This can be considered as a threat to your well-being or status.
- Being prevented from reaching an important goal. For example, being stuck in traffic causing you to be late for work.
- Unpleasant physical or emotional sensations such as pain. For example, after accidentally cutting yourself with a cooking knife.
As with any other emotion, anger is a brain and body response or reaction to events or thoughts we are experiencing. It is therefore temporary and will flare up and die down if you allow it to run its course. This is important to keep in mind if you are learning to manage your anger!
Now that you have a good understanding of what anger is, a good first step to managing it is becoming aware of when you are experiencing anger. Try to keep track of when you feel angry in the NiceDay app. Turn on the custom tracker ‘Angry’ and register each time you feel angry and include a note with a description. Write down what caused you to feel angry and any thoughts, feelings, or sensations you might experience. Look at your registrations from the past week/few days. Do you notice any patterns? Do you often feel angry in certain situations, after certain events, or at certain times? What makes you vulnerable to the feeling of anger? What helped calm you down? Write down your insights in your NiceDay diary.
Would you like to learn more about anger? Check out our psychoeducation library on emotions. Are you struggling to control your anger and would you like to learn some skills to help you effectively manage it? You can follow a treatment via NiceDay at various organizations, click here for more information.