Mad: What Is Anger All About
In this brief article: Mad: What Is Anger All About, I’m going to share about what anger really means and how to begin to express it, and receive it in a healthy ways.
In a nutshell feelings of anger mean you, or the person expressing it, are feeling threatened in some way.
It could be a physical threat. More than likely, your anger will be triggered by some threat, real or perceived, to your sense of power and control in your world.
So your anger could be triggered in the moment by someone taking your job, cutting you off in traffic, ending a relationship with you or showing up late.
These are examples of a need for control (also known as security) which does not feel met in that moment.
A great way of perceiving anger, which helps to shift it almost instantly, is to get in the habit of reminding yourself that when you feel even the slightest bit perturbed, anger is just the surface emotion.
What is beneath anger is always the same: feelings of sadness and feelings of fear.
Knowing this, you can immediately diffuse your anger, or that of others, by acknowledging the sadness and fear that lie beneath it.
When you notice you’re feeling angry, frustrated, resentful, impatient, irritated etc. (all expressions of anger), simply ask yourself:
What is actually, factually happening right now? (In other words, what would anyone watching agree is happening now?)
And what is it about that that might be making me sad or scared?
And what am I telling myself that means? (What stories/interpretations/assumptions are you adding in here to the reality of the situation?)
And what is it that might be making me feel sad or scared about those stories and assumptions?
Is my feeling of anger coming more from the reality or the story of the situation?
If I could set aside my stories and instead either let them go entirely or ask questions to clarify whether they are accurate or not I could release a lot of my anger, or I’d know that there really is a true threat to me and I’d be better informed and prepared to respond to the reality of the situation.
Remind yourself of this series of questions – print them off, write them down. And ask them of yourself when you next feel angry or some facsimile thereof. Also use these questions in your head and maybe even out loud, when someone else is angry with or around you. It will help you to stay grounded, not take it personally, and to respond more effectively to the situation.