Anger is an emotion that comes from feeling a loss of control, perceived unfair treatment, hurt pride, and not getting what we want. It also arises when we have different values and morals than others. Many get angry that others believe differently or have a lifestyle that is in contrast to them.
If you are physically attacked, then anger can serve you by protecting yourself. If you are wronged by someone, then anger could allow you to defend your position. However, it can be a negative in dealing with these types of circumstance as well.
Being angry momentarily is normal and common. It can be a way to vent the emotion you are feeling. Prolonged anger is proven to be a significant cause of heart disease and heart attacks. When anger promotes aggression then you have taken your emotion into dangerous territory.
When you are angry it can cause physical stress. Some of the physical symptoms include headaches, irritable bowel syndrome, weakened immune system, high blood pressure, back pain, and excess fat in the mid-section.
Anger can also cause mental stress. It might make you feel frustrated, impatient, vengeful, and obsess over the cause of the anger. It is not an emotion to “hold” onto.
I was angry most of my youth. It became the driving force early on in my life. After years of therapy, I realized how damaging it was for me. I was angry for many reasons, but most of it stemmed from childhood and the dysfunctional family that I grew up in. Everyone was angry in my family; it was the emotion that dominated.
I even defended keeping my anger when a Doctor once tried to convince me to work on getting rid of it. I lived with two emotions, Anger and Depression. When I was angry I could function, but when I was depressed I could not do anything. So anger was helpful in my ability to live. Or so I thought.
I learned that anger and depression were not the only two emotions I had to live by. I also learned to examine the situations that angered me and analyze if I was taking it personally (remember nothing ever is), if it was ego driven, and how to take a moment and breath before I reacted.
Another tool to use against unhealthy anger is to be aware of its physical symptoms. When you feel your adrenalin and blood pressure begin to rage, take a moment and look at the situation with a calmer more observing mind. Let your physical body get back to normal before you react.
Anger is a normal emotion. It is not normal or healthy to hold on to it, become vengeful, and obsess over it for lengthy periods of time. We all get angry, but it usually is not beneficial to ourselves or those around us.
Mindfulness tips for Anger:
Choose to stop and think before you react in anger. Stop and breathe to calm yourself down. Ask yourself if you are taking it personally and reacting from ego. Try and not react when you are angry. Wait until you have had some time to think about the situation and then come from a less emotional place. If you find you can’t stop being angry, find a family member, friend, or professional therapist that you can trust to help you move on from it.