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Are you feeling angry today?

Anger seems to be everywhere right now. Whether it’s in person or online, we can be an angry bunch. In recent years, there has been increased attention on anger-related issues, and some argue that anger-related problems are on the rise. Why do we feel more angry and what can we do about it?

Why do we feel angry?

1. Stress and Pressure: Our lifestyles often come with increased stress, pressure, and demands, which can contribute to heightened levels of frustration and anger. A good work-life balance can be tricky for some of us to balance, there are financial pressures, and societal expectations, leading to a greater chance of experiencing anger-related difficulties.

2. Technology and Social Media: The rise of technology and social media has changed the way we communicate and interact. Online platforms can provide a fertile breeding ground for expressing and encountering anger, as anonymity can make it easier to vent frustrations and become hostile towards each other. This can lead to increased exposure to anger and potentially a higher chance of conflict.

3. Political and Social Divisions: In times of political and social polarisation, anger can become more common. Debates surrounding sensitive topics, ideological differences, and social injustices can evoke strong emotions and fuel anger. The current culture wars is a very good example of this.

4. Mental Health Considerations: Anger can be associated with various mental health conditions and some personality disorders. There has been an increased recognition and awareness of mental health issues in recent years that may contribute to a greater understanding and identification of anger.

When does anger become an issue?

Anger becomes a issue when it becomes a way of engaging in life and you can’t see through it. No one worries about the odd bout of anger, in fact it can be healthy to be angry sometimes if we are upset. However, this behaviour becomes problematic when it turns into an attitude, a way of being in the world and defining how we interact with others. When we are permanently angry at even the smallest annoyance, it can be a sign that anger is potentially becoming an issue.

The Pressure Cooker Effect

Anger builds up just like pressure in a pressure cooker. It builds and builds until it reaches its saturation point. Finding no more room, it often explodes, violently. If we try to suppress anger then it can turn into rage. Rage overwhelms the person, causing them to lose control. The person will end up imploding or exploding. In both cases, anger overwhelms the person.

A Different Understanding

In the sphere of human emotions, anger stands out as a fiery force that can ignite both positive change and destructive consequences. From road rage to heated arguments, anger has a significant influence on our thoughts, feelings, and actions as well as physical effects. We experience anger when we feel that our needs, wants, efforts or plans are hindered or blocked by internal or/and external factors. Even the most reflective people can and will eventually feel angry when faced with frustrations and disappointment. However, anger tends to be regarded as a socially unaccepted feeling in society.

When Anger Starts to Offer Secondary Gains

Anger can become a habit that offers secondary gains to individuals. Children can learn the habit and learn how and when to get angry. However, many adults continue to suppress their anger, often because they are afraid of it. Anger can be used to bully and intimidate, thus holding secondary advantages or gains. For example, if we know a work colleague will become angry when asked to do something, it maybe that we avoid asking that colleague to do something, for fear of their response.

Anger as a Motivator

While anger is often associated with negative outcomes, it also possesses the potential to drive positive change. Anger can serve as a motivator, propelling individuals to address injustices, assert boundaries, or fight for social causes. When channelled correctly, anger can be a catalyst for personal growth and societal transformation.

The Path to Emotional Balance

Recognising the psychological effects of anger is the first step towards developing healthier coping mechanisms and managing this strong emotion effectively. Some strategies for managing anger include:

  • Daily letter writing: A helpful way to dissipate anger is to write each day, ritualising the expression of anger instead of actually physically being angry.

  • Self-awareness: Being attuned to one's emotions and triggers is vital in understanding and managing anger.

  • Cognitive reframing: Challenging negative thoughts and adopting more constructive perspectives can help with anger.

  • Communication skills: Learning effective communication techniques enables people to express anger assertively and constructively, not in a destructive way

  • One of the keys here is to find out why we are angry and try to put something in place to change what is making us angry. For example, if we don’t feel that we are asserting ourselves enough in our relationships, then it’s an idea to try to find out why and think about why we are not being assertive. Anger commonly comes from a feeling of not being in control of our lives or events, so it’s ok to work out how to put some autonomy back into our lives to help us to become less angry.

  • Try to talk to someone to tell them why you’re angry, instead of actually being angry. If someone is doing something that isn’t ok, then tell them before it makes you angry. Being open and honest with someone helps us all to manage our feelings of anger.

We could all try to remember that most angry people are actually hurting emotionally. Something in their lives isn’t going well for them and their anger could be a result of that hurt. Wouldn’t it be great if we could have a bit of compassion and empathy for angry people and try to find out why they feel the way they do, instead of being angry back to them? Take care xxx

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