The 2020s are a popular joke online, with people claiming that we’re living through the worst years in history. Though that’s mostly an exaggeration, there is some truth to it. Things are far from the worst they’ve ever been, but negative emotions are the highest since 2005. We’re also seeing more positive emotions than in previous years, though the negative emotions haven’t decreased. In times like these, where anger is rampant, understanding anger is vital. Anger is manageable and even useful in certain contexts. We’ll talk more about anger and how to deal with it here.
A Secondary Emotion?
The biggest myth about anger is that it’s a negative emotion. There’s no such thing as negative emotions. Emotion is defined by how we use it. What we can say is that anger is a secondary emotion. One might describe it as a sense of dissatisfaction with a situation or the forces that caused it. Anger is a normal emotion as long as you keep it under control. Uncontrolled anger is one of the two types of anger. The other is controlled anger. The first step in controlling anger is understanding why you’re angry.
Many people who struggle with anger management are trying to hide anxiety or stress. Anxiety shares many of the same signals as anger. We might feel our muscles tense up or our bodies get warm. Your heart might speed up, or you could shake. Anger could present in many ways. These emotions shouldn’t be a source of shame. Excessive anxiety is a common problem. The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) estimates that nearly 1 out of every 5 Americans has an anxiety disorder. This number appears higher than ever before, and maybe it is. It’s also possible that people are recognizing and acknowledging anxiety issues more.
Have you noticed yourself getting angry in any specific situations? Do you find yourself getting angry at the same people for the same things over and over? If so, you’ve found a potential trigger. Identifying triggers is part of anger management and overall mental health. If you recognize what makes you angry, you can avoid those things in the future or work to solve them.
The Art of Communication
Positive assertiveness means speaking your mind without being too aggressive. Start by calming yourself down. Try taking deep breaths or getting a drink of water. The biggest factor in calming down is time. After a few minutes, that traffic jam or extra bit of work might not seem like a big deal. If you do think it’s a big enough problem to address, do so calmly and rationally. Approach the person responsible and calmly state what the issue is. Give them a chance to tell you their perspective. You might find that the problem was unavoidable or accidental. If not, try to work with them to find a solution.
Understanding Anger and Overcoming It
Understanding anger is the first step in managing it. Knowing why you’re angry gives you a goal, whether that means continued mental health treatment or having a conversation with those around you. We’re here if you need help with these things. Start My Wellness is an alliance of therapists, psychiatrists, and other mental health professionals dedicated to helping people be the best versions of themselves. Book a therapy appointment today.