Anger as an emotion can be good or bad, it all depends on the circumstances. Releasing anger is necessary and here is why.
Anger is a primitive defense mechanism that kept us safe thousands of years ago, but is it necessary in today’s society? We live in a civilised society, so anger is not an emotion we need to experience or should express. But today’s stresses and strains can build up and make us angry. This is why releasing anger in a healthy way is important.
There are many studies that show how anger can impact us both physiologically and psychologically. All emotions stem from the brain, it receives information from all our senses and then interprets them and informs the rest of our body. It tells us when we are happy, sad, in pain, and when we are angry.
In the case of anger, our brain immediately signals an increase of adrenaline which in turn releases extra glucose to course through our bodies. This is a process that heightens our responses and allows us to respond faster, make quick decisions, run quickly or stay and fight.
When you feel angry, the stress hormones adrenaline and noradrenaline are released which help to regulate blood pressure and heart rates. These are all natural reactions, but the problem starts when these hormones stay in the body and do not get used up when we suppress the anger.
So how do you know if you are suppressing your anger?
Here are signs that your anger is not being released and reasons why you should release it:
- Chronic fatigue for no reason
- Chronic pain (typically back pain, jaw ache, neck or headaches)
- Digestive problems such as stomach ulcers or constipation
- Addictive behaviour including drugs, gambling, drinking or workaholic
- Passive-aggressive communication style
- Being overly sarcastic or rude for no real reason
- Mental health issues like anxiety, depression, or panic attacks
Anger is the one emotion that will not go away of its own accord. It needs to be released, otherwise, it will only get stronger and cause more problems. Not only that, but studies have shown that if the aggressive or angry behaviour does not get released, it can cause a change in the brain that stops the process of serotonin, the happy hormone.
So what are healthy and positive ways of releasing anger without damaging people around us?
Communication is the way to deal with repressed anger. You should be able to express yourself without aggression or blame. Learn how to be assertive instead of angry and remember that your goal is to deal with the situation that has made you angry and then move on.
When dealing with your repressed anger, you need to think:
- What am I feeling?
- What am I thinking?
- What do I want?
Once these have identified, you can then move on to how you can calmly express your feelings.
Releasing anger in a healthy way
If you constantly suffer from repressed anger, you might want to go through these simple steps:
1. What happened?
Think about the situation and what it was that made you angry. Were you disrespected, hurt, made fun of, cheated or betrayed?
2. Who was involved?
Who were the main players in the situation and why did their actions affect you so much?
3. Get it off your chest.
This is your chance to express yourself and write down exactly how you feel about what this person did.
4. How did it affect you?
How did this action from another person affect you in real life? Did you lose something material or did it affect your relationships with others or prevent you from doing something?
5. Get rid of the angry energy.
Now you know exactly what made you angry, how it made you feel, who was involved and how you were affected. It’s time to get rid of all that pent-up energy.
Go for a run, a long walk, to the gym, punch a boxing bag, whatever you need to rid your body of the toxic energy inside you.
6. Reflect and forgive
The hardest part of dealing with anger is the ability to forgive and forget. But if you have gone through the steps above, this will be easier. By reflecting on the situation, you can also prevent it happening again.
It is important to recognise repressed anger and how it affects you. Anger is a perfectly normal and healthy reaction when it comes to certain situations. It is how we express that anger that is important. Being assertive and not aggressive is the key to healthy mental and psychical well-being.