“Anger is often a secondary emotion.”Azevedo Hanks
Are you feeling irritable, short-tempered or grouchy? Maybe you snap (or want to) at everyone around you. Yet you don’t know why you feel so angry or have no clue why you’re so on edge. Sound familiar? Read on to find out why you feel like you are going to explode soon.
Is My Anger Bad?
Anger is not the same as violent behavior. We tend to use the same terms interchangeably which has created the belief that anger is bad. When we are dealing with stressful situations, it’s normal to experience feelings of anger or frustration, especially when dealing with prolonged stress and anxiety. Plus, anger lets us know that we may need to take action to settle something inside that does not feel right. It can give us the courage and strength to act. And it is important to deal with our anger in a healthy way that doesn’t harm ourselves or anyone else.
Where Does This Unexplained Anger Come From?
When we are really stressed out or not satisfied with our lives, it’s easy to become frustrated with others, even if they aren’t really doing anything that annoying. Our minds focus on all the little things that we may have never noticed before. Therefore, when we have a lot on our minds, we have less tolerance for the behavior of others and we can be a lot less forgiving. Being able to recognize when we are reacting to something is a skill worth developing. And once we start to practice this it’s easier to notice what is really bothering us so we can sort it out within rather than taking it out on others.
There may be many different reasons why we feel especially irritated and angry. Here are a few:
- Maybe you have not set healthy boundaries with others. Saying yes when you really want to say no. You do things for others that you don’t feel comfortable doing.
- You are not eating or sleeping enough. It makes if very difficult to to access your emotional coping skills when you are tired or not nourished properly with food and water.
- Your anxiety is very high. When a challenging situation arises you may be maxed out which can manifest as anger or a short fuse.
- Ataching to expectations. Maybe you expected your partner to help you but they did not. Or you needed your friend to support you in a way that they could not. If these buttons are pushed enough, often enough it could send us into a state of anger without even realizing it.
- Are you trying to control what is outside of you? You may be attaching to an outcome that you are not able to control.
- Did you do something you regret or are ashamed of? Maybe you are afraid of sharing a mistake or failure and can’t seem to let go of the anger you feel toward yourself.
- Nothing ever seems to be going right for you. You may be stuck in a hopeless mindset.
How Can I Manage My Anger?
Beneath our frustration and irritability is usually a vulnerable emotion, such as loneliness, sadness or fear. And those are usually harder for us to express. Here are some ways you can help manage your anger:
- Become aware of your early warning signs of anger (which are different for everyone). Maybe you are low on sleep or energy, experiencing overwhelm, have had a bad day, etc.
- Express your emotions without blaming others. Name how you are feeling outloud as a response instead of reacting to the emotion. Does your anger really have to do with someone or is there a need in side of you that is not being met?
- Take deep breaths to stay in the moment.
- Notice negative thoughts that may trigger your irritation. When you catch yourself dwelling in the unfairness of a situation ask yourself what it is you need in this moment to feel better. Stick to the facts rather than your judgments surrouding those facts.
- Ask for help.
- Take a break when a stiuation begins to escalate. Let the other person know that you’d like to continue the conversation once you have had a chance to regroup. Go for a walk, write or listen to some music. Find something that can help you calm down.
Acknowledge Where You Are
When we are too worried about hurting others’ feelings, what someone may think, losing control of a situation or risk ruining a relationship we don’t make decisions that align with our values. We avoid conflict and start to build resentment. It’s easy to snap at others and denying our own irritability and anger can make us feel worse. When you notice you are feeling annoyed with everything acknowledge that, that is where you are with yourself.
It’s important to focus our energy on our thoughts and feelings. What is really bothering you? Is it that your friend was late meeting you or that one of your values is being on time and you feel like you aren’t being valued? Are you really mad at your partner because they did not empty the dishwasher or are you needing help with more things around the house right now and have not expressed this yet?
Spend some time on self-reflection. You may discover that you haven’t spent much time caring for yourself lately, or maybe are having a shift in hormones or a mental health issue. If you can determine the source, you may be able to solve the problem or just bring more self-awareness into your life.
Where To Go From Here
Be kind to yourself. Everyone experiences anger. Keep challenging the way you think by diving deeper within instead of immediately reacting. Slow down. Pause. Breathe, Repeat.
If you feel like your anger is uncontrollable and often escalates or if you regularly feel triggered and are unable to cope with various situations or feelings that arise in your mind or body it is important to seek professional help. Talk to your physician for a referral to a mental healthcare provider who will be able to help.
The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the writer and do not necessarily represent those of The We Spot, it’s employees, sponsors, or affiliates.