Anger

What does anger feel like?

Anger can range from less intense feelings of irritability and frustration to very strong feelings of outrage. It often comes along with with physical symptoms like increased heart rate, feeling hot, muscle tension, and tingling or vibration throughout your body. 

 

Why does anger exist?

Anger is what we call a "secondary emotion," meaning that it usually stems from another emotion. We may act out in anger when we feel anxious and overwhelmed, or when we feel sad or depressed. If you think about evolution, anger was necessary for our survival as an instinctual response to a threat; now, we may feel angry if we have been hurt or taken advantage of in the past and we are trying to protect ourselves any way that we can. Anger may spawn from adverse childhood experiences, trauma, abusive relationships, bullying, or overwhelming levels of stress.

 

How does therapy help anger?

Therapy can help address anger in many ways, from exploring it and understanding what emotions are underneath, to learning to process through anger rather than taking it out on others (or yourself). Depending on your major concerns, you may also want to focus on coping strategies and skills to manage your anger if it is a frequent emotion that you experience. If your anger is frequently directed outward to other people, you may seek a better understanding of your relationships and what fears you may be protecting yourself from. If your anger is frequently directed inward towards yourself, you may work on practicing self-compassion and loving yourself to overcome your anger.