Stress and Anger
Anger is an instinctual emotional response from a real or imagined threat. Anger is painful and we need to get relief.
Most people feel angry when someone or something obstructs them in some way. And many respond to the feeling of anger by immediately wanting the satisfaction of forcing the “obstacle” to get out of the way—or, if it won’t move, to curse it and insult it.
Anger can be understood in terms of five purposes:
1. Seeking revenge
– We feel hurt and want to get even to make things “fair”
2. Preventing disasters
– We feel helpless and want to get control to prevent disaster
3. Pushing others away
– We feel discouraged and want to withdraw from life to avoid being judged
4. Getting attention
– We feel disrespected and lash out to get acknowledgement or prove out importance
5. Expressing difficult feelings
– We feel overwhelmed and want to get relief to reduce our discomfort
In today’s world it seems as if it’s not the large things, the identifiable, big things that lead to eruptions of hostility. It’s the little, tiny things that go on all the time that build up and cause anger. It’s missing a parking place; it’s the person in the grocery line with eleven items in their basket and they’re only supposed to have ten items. Having the phone ring when we are trying to concentrate. Or calling up somebody and then we get put on hold and then we get disconnected, and then the computer doesn’t work. There are so many small things that are going on all the time, which can overwhelm us. These are the things that activate or trigger anger, which are called stressors. And then the body does something in relationship to these stressors.
Stress is how your body warns us that we are being hurt or threatened, like the warning lights or gauges in our car. The car’s gauges tell us what is working or breaking down with the important parts of the engine. If the oil light comes on and we don’t address it, we can burn out the engine in our car. As soon as the brain perceives a stressor, it pumps itself up on hormones. This surge helps mobilize energy to the muscles, and it also primes several parts of the brain, temporarily improving some types of memory and fine-tuning the senses. However, when this state endures over time, the body breaks down and gets angry.
Anger is a warning from the body that something is threatening occurred and we are ignoring it. In the short-term, anger helps us become aware that something is wrong in our life and opens our eyes to the situation around us. The physical changes in our body, focus out attention and increases our motivation, rather than allowing problems to linger unnoticed. Yet, our sleep and appetite go down, so we lose energy. This loss of self-care, impacts our judgment. As a result, actions that originate from anger are not always in our best long term interest. However, they carry a particularly powerful sense of certainty and urgency to act in the short term. These acts take the form of blaming, arguing, yelling, attacks, violence; the list goes on.
Tags: Anger Management, Archive