Anger is an emotion common to all of us as human beings, whether we recognise it in ourselves or not. The way we express anger (or don’t), is largely shaped by our past life experiences. You may have been punished for expressing anger when you were a child, or you may have witnessed your parents’ anger when it was out of control and frightening or when it manifested in other ways, such as through stoney silence.
Anger as a feeling is not unhealthy per se; it is a natural response to feeling attacked, injured or violated. Our anger helps us to survive, giving us the strength to fight back or run away when attacked or faced with injustice.
When something makes you angry, you feel excitement in your body and emotions. Your glands are pumping your blood full of the hormone adrenalin, preparing for fight or flight. You are full of energy, alert, ready for action. Tension builds up, which needs to be released in some way in order to restore balance to your mind and body.
Suppressed anger can contribute to depression, addictions, anxiety and physical complaints, such as headaches, digestive problems and sleep irregularities. On the other hand, some expressions of anger can be destructive, violent or more subtly abusive, as with passive-aggression and manipulative behaviour.
Healthy, assertive expression of anger is good for your mind and body and promotes trust and greater intimacy in relationships.
Counselling can help you to (as appropriate):
- understand how your current patterns of expressing anger developed
- understand what triggers your anger and challenge underlying beliefs
- understand the impact of your particular expression of anger on you and on your relationships
- help you to regulate the intensity of your anger through breathing, Mindfulness and other techniques
- learn to express anger in a way which is respectful to yourself and others
- work towards a healthy relationship with yourself and others