Anger is a complex emotion that can have a profound effect on you and the people around you. Anger can cause you to act in ways that you might not make you feel proud. Anger can even cause you to make mistakes that you might later regret. Anger can also become challenging to control at times and even can cause complications in your life, such as coping with it through using drugs or alcohol. If you do not wholly understand your anger, it can be that much harder to manage it.
Without the proper tools, anger can cause you to act out in more aggressive ways, therefore, causing a great deal of unrest. Anger is especially challenging to control and resisting the temptation to act out can be very trying. The first step to understanding anger is to learn how it can be considered as a secondary emotion.
Defining Anger as a Secondary Emotion
Studies have identified anger as being a secondary emotion. A secondary emotion is an emotion fueled by other emotions. For example, if you become hurt in some way, you might express this negative emotion instead of emotional and physical pain – it might be easier to express anger than express hurt. Hurt can make you feel vulnerable, and when you feel helpless, you might feel as if you need to protect yourself. When you are angry, you might feel under attack or frustrated. Masking your feelings of sadness, hurt or grief with anger can be easier than experiencing the primary emotion.
Emotions that can Trigger
Coming to terms with primary emotions can be challenging to manage. Emotions like grief, sadness, loss, embarrassment and uncertainty are all hard to feel. Because anger is easier to feel, it can distract you from experiencing and healing the pain you feel inside. Among the most triggering primary emotions is frustration. Frustration is often experienced when you are feeling helpless or out of control. Over time, this emotion can cause your mood to stew until reaching an angry state. When anger happens, you might respond to your frustration in ways that feel good at the moment but are likely not healthy. You might lash out at others while trying to regain control.
Anger is also a common symptom of depression. If you are feeling depressed, you might be overwhelmed with intense feelings of sadness and hopelessness. When a lot of stress and anxiety causes depression, it can make even the simplest of tasks unbearable. When you feel overwhelmed, you might feel irritable, and this can progress into anger. Depression can also lead to negative thoughts and behaviors, all of which create a negative attitude. A negative outlook on life can lead to acting out in anger that you might not be aware of – you don’t realize your behaviors or understand how to manage them at the moment.
Overcoming anger is challenging. When you have trouble controlling your anger, it might be because you do not know what steps to take to feel better or de-escalate. Many people with chronic anger also suffer from impulse control issues. You might even struggle with alcoholism or other substance use disorders. If you recognize the signs of substance abuse, it is likely to influence your overall well-being negatively. However, there are healthier alternatives to exhaust and let out negative energy. For example, exercise and physical activity are great ways to help bring you into a calm state. Exercise helps to relax the nerves and reduce the energy that causes angry outbursts. Time spent exercising also allows you the space to decompress and process your thoughts in healthier ways.
When you find yourself in the moment, you might worry about how you will respond. Finding the source of your anger through therapy, mindfulness and meditation will not only help you identify the underlying cause but learn ways to manage it at the moment. Start by asking yourself what is triggering you and why? When you understand how and why you feel and react in specific ways, you can manage your emotions from being elevated to the next level. Mindfulness helps prevent anger from overpowering you by decreasing anger’s influence over your thoughts, emotions and behaviors. Meditating and practicing self-care like yoga, taking a bath or hobbies can turn negative energy into a positive energy output.
If you are struggling to control and manage your anger, and it’s leading to unhealthy coping mechanisms such as substance abuse, it is most helpful to consult a mental health professional. At New Hope Ranch in Manor, Texas, we offer a range of conventional and alternative therapies, including cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), acceptance & commitment therapy (ACT), as well as other guided and self-care therapies. The manifestation of your anger, addiction, and overall health and wellbeing can relate to an underlying cause. At New Hope Ranch, we work to meet each individual’s needs to locate the underlying cause and provide ways in which our patients can manage them. Our success reaches its pinnacle when you overcome your negative thoughts and behaviors and sustain meaningful recovery over the course of a lifetime. Don’t put your health and wellbeing on hold; the time to act is now. To learn more, reach out to New Hope Ranch today by calling us at (737) 600-8565.