Important Points About Anger

  • Anger is a defense mechanism. It defends people against the six basic fears: fear of failure, fear of rejection, fear of loss of self-control/respect, fear of isolation, fear of death, fear of the unknown. 
  • Anger protects people emotionally, physically and socially. Anger keeps people from feeling afraid. It gets them out of threatening situations (ideally). It alienates them from other people who could cause them to experience fear.
  • Most people experience 15 anger situations per day
  • Anger itself is a normal and adaptive emotion. It is when you over-react or hold on to anger instead of using it as a motivation to make positive changes that it can be harmful.
  • Pathological anger can lead to aggression, impatience, low frustration, depression, high blood pressure, migraines, muscle tension, upset stomach and much more.
  • Treatment for anger often involves identifying anger triggers, learning why they are triggers, learning how to identify when you are getting angry before it gets out of control, learning other ways to deal with anger and developing the tools necessary to implement those new coping styles
  • The average person experiences 15 anger situations per day
  • Anger reveals information about people's values and personal constructs of importance
  • Expression of anger for men and women is often dictated/indicated by their particular culture
  • Exercise, venting and time-out are often good strategies to dissipate the adrenaline, but are not effective for coping with anger.
  • Coping with anger requires people to recognize what caused the anger and modify that stressor or perceptions about that stressor.
  • Good communication, fair fighting and self-awareness are all important components for anger management.
  • People express anger in different ways. Some people hold it inside and develop physical problems, some people explode and some people are passive-aggressive.
  • It is important for people to know their personal anger styles, triggers and most effective anger management skills.

Negative emotions include depression, anger, fear, and grief. What people often fail to realize is the interconnection of these feelings. Depression is the body and mind's way of shutting down due to system overload. There is not enough energy to continue the behaving and/or feeling in the current manner. (Examples: chronic pain, sickness, chronic sleep deprivation). The body has not had enough time to produce sufficient serotonin to elevate one's mood, because it is never allowed to rest and recover.
People subject themselves to minor (if not major) stressors every day. These stressors cause physical changes in the body that require the production of acetylcholine and other chemicals to calm down. If the body cannot rest, then it cannot divert the necessary energy to make the neurochemicals. Consider trying to do a simple task such as dishes. Do you think it is more efficient to do it uninterrupted, or while you have a child that is wanting attention, dogs that are needing to be fed and a spouse that is trying to talk to you about your day. The body experiences energy diversions in the same way. After it depletes it's reserves of “happy” chemicals, it must make more. Unfortunately, people often use these chemicals faster than they can be made. The end result is depression, distress and irritability.

During these times of depleted happy chemicals, we tend to be irritable and take it out on others . The following is a partial list of causes of aggression. You know what they say, knowing your problem is half the battle.
Predisposing/vulnerability factors

    Learned behavior
    Family history of violence or aggression Experience of bullying at school
    Experience of physical/sexual/emotional abuse
    Peer influence
    General environmental factors (cultural norms)
    Rigid thinking (It MUST be just so)
    Inability to solve problems
    Irrational beliefs/rules

Once you have identified your anger triggers, ask yourself “Is this worth getting upset about?” “Will this matter 6 months from now?” “Will getting angry about this do any good?” Many things we get angry about cannot be changed, and getting angry serves no productive purpose. For many people, if they just ask themselves the above three questions, they will eliminate the majority of their anger. What is left over is the stuff worth getting angry about, but not staying angry about. Anger or anxiety are emotions that tell you that something needs to be done, fixed or changed. Instead of nurturing your anger, use that energy to find a way to fix the problem or prevent it from happening again.