Anger is a natural, though sometimes unwanted or irrational, emotion that everybody experiences from time to time.
Anger experts describe the emotion as a primary, natural emotion which has evolved as a way of surviving and protecting yourself from what is considered a wrong-doing.
Mild anger may be brought on by feeling tired, stressed or irritated, in fact we are more likely to feel irritated if our basic human needs (food, shelter, sex, sleep, etc.) are not met or are jeopardised in some way.
We may become angry when reacting to frustration, criticism or a threat and this is not necessarily a bad or inappropriate reaction.
We can also feel irritated by other people’s beliefs, opinions and actions and hence anger can affect our ability to communicate effectively - making us more likely to say or do unreasonable or irrational things.
Being unreasonable or irrational can lead others around us to feel threatened, resentful or angry themselves and, again, these can all be barriers to effective communication.
Anger can also be a ‘secondary emotion’ to feeling sad, frightened, threatened or lonely.
It is useful to try to understand why you (or somebody else) is feeling angry at any given time so that the root causes can be addressed and problems solved.
Anger, however, is not just a state-of-mind. Anger can trigger physical changes including an increased heart rate, blood pressure and levels of hormones such as adrenaline preparing us physically for ‘fight or flight’. Due to these physical effects long-term anger can be detrimental to health and wellbeing.
How Anger is Expressed
Anger can be expressed in many ways; different types of anger affect people differently and can manifest to produce different actions and signs of anger. The most common signs of anger are both verbal and non-verbal.
It can be clear that somebody is angry from what they say or how they say it, or from their tone of voice. Anger can also be expressed through body language and other non-verbal cues: trying to look physically bigger (and therefore more intimidating), staring, frowning and clenching of fists. Some people are very good at internalising their anger and it may be difficult to notice any physical signs. It is, however, unusual for an actual physical attack to transpire without ‘warning’ signs appearing first.
What Makes People Angry?
At a basic instinctual level anger may be used as a way to help protect territory or family members, secure or protect mating privileges, protect against loss of food or other possessions, or as a response to other perceived threats.
Other reasons can be very diverse - sometimes rational and sometimes irrational. Irrational anger may mean that you have a problem with managing anger or even accepting that you are angry - our page on Anger Management covers ways that you can understand and manage your anger (or that of other people).
Some common triggers to anger include:
- Grief and/or sadness, loss of a family member, friend or other loved one.
- Rudeness, poor interpersonal skills and/or poor service. (See Interpersonal Skills and Customer Service Skills)
- Tiredness, since people may have shorter tempers and be more irritable when tired.
- Injustice: for example infidelity, being bullied, humiliated or embarrassed, or being told that you, or a loved one, has a serious illness.
- Sexual frustration.
- Money problems and the stress associated with debt.
- Some forms of stress, unrealistic deadlines and things beyond our immediate control such as being stuck in traffic. (See: What is Stress? and Avoiding Stress)
- A feeling of failure or disappointment.
- Becoming angry as a result of taking drugs or alcohol, or when withdrawing from such substances.
- Having a crime committed against you or a loved one: theft, violence, sexual offences but also more minor things such as a feeling of being treated inappropriately.
- Being either physical or mentally unwell, being in pain or living with a serious illness can lead to feeling angry.
Can Anger Make You Ill?
When we are angry, our bodies release the hormones adrenaline and cortisol, the same hormones released when we encounter stress.
As a result of these releases in hormones our blood pressure, pulse, body temperature and breathing rate may increase, sometimes to potentially dangerous levels. This natural chemical reaction is designed to give us an instant boost of energy and power and is often referred to as the 'fight or flight' reaction. This means that the body and mind prepare for a fight or for running away from danger.
However, people who get angry often cannot manage their anger effectively and can become ill, just as stress that is left unresolved may make you ill. Our bodies are not designed to withstand high levels of adrenaline and cortisol over long periods or on a very regular basis.
Some of the health problems that may occur as a result of being angry regularly or for long periods of time can include:
- Aches and pains, usually in the back and head.
- High blood pressure, which can, in severe cases, lead to serious complaints such as stroke or cardiac arrest.
- Sleep problems. (See: The Importance of Sleep)
- Problems with digestion.
- Skin disorders.
- Reduced threshold for pain.
- Impaired immune system.
Anger can also lead to psychological problems such as:
It should be clear, therefore, that, anger can be detrimental to health. If anger is (or becomes) a problem should be managed, see our following pages for how this may be achieved.
Anger and Aggression Essay
1374 Words6 Pages
Everyone has felt anger or aggression many times in there life. It happens all of the time. We all face the same challenge of trying to control our temper. It may be easier for some people than it is for others. Many studies show that it is healthy for a person to let out their anger once in a while. They believe that it will help in your relationship with others and that it will increase your self-esteem. They also believe that holding anger in is bad and unhealthy for your body. If you let the anger build up it could go from just being a verbal argument to a point in which someone or something is hurt or destroyed. To control your anger you should release your aggression in a way that is not harmful to…show more content…
However, when people build up their anger it usually seems to hurt their relationship with the other person. Also it is not easy to hold in your anger because people that are close to you can tell when you are feeling angry. Some people may not realize themselves that they are feeling angry. One way to tell if you are angry is if you are short tempered. Violent feelings are also ways of realizing that you are feeling angry. Some people may be able to tell by physical symptoms. Some people get an upset stomach, headaches, and ulcers. Your body can usually tell when something is wrong. When you are going to let out your aggression you have to make a decision if it is the right place and the right time to show your feelings. Sometimes you are with a large group of people and it may not be the right time to let out your angry feelings. It is best to find a place that is quiet and a place where you can talk to someone about your feelings. It is much easier to express your anger if you trust the person. That does not mean that you have to trust the person, all you need to do is trust yourself. Their are a few steps that may help people to learn more about their angry feelings. The first step is to find out what is making you feel angry. It may be family, work, or friends. The next step is to locate the source. This means that you need to find out if it is internal anger or external anger. Then you need to find