Anger is a healthy human emotion when expressed appropriately. Every person has and will experience various levels of anger and frustration throughout their life. When anger becomes explosive or chronic, this usually suggests that there may be an underlying thought, feeling, or pattern that needs to be addressed. You are not alone, and learning how to cope in healthier ways is possible with the right guidance and support.
Like any other chronic, intense emotion, anger can produce many adverse effects on the mind and body when left untreated. Learning how to navigate the ups and downs of life with more empowerment and peace will improve the overall quality of your life.
Unlearning harmful patterns takes time, and there is support for you. Finding the right treatment and care for you is the best thing you can do to learn how to be more balanced when expressing your anger.
What Is Anger?
Anger is clinically defined as a distasteful feeling toward someone or something that can potentially drive you to action. Anger is a healthy response to injustice and unfair treatment. Anger can encourage you to speak up and assert yourself in healthy ways.
Anger is usually triggered by deeper, often unexpressed feelings of disappointment, frustration, sadness, stress, or grief. When anger is aggressive, suppressed, or chronic, there is usually a need for extra support. Learning how to use your anger constructively is a skill that takes time and practice. Finding the right support for you will help you find better ways to manage your anger.
How Does Anger Affect the Mind and Body?
Like the rest of our emotions, anger has physical and mental effects on our health. When anger is intense and prolonged, the body can develop other health conditions in response to this internal disharmony. Similarly, when anger is bottled up and left to fester, it can rupture in unpredictable ways.
The most common effects of anger include:
- Increased breathing and heart rates
- Alters activity in the prefrontal cortex and hippocampus
- Increases stress hormones
When you are angry, the increase in stress hormones contributes to the physical changes that are experienced. Changes in breathing and heart rate, and feelings of physical discomfort such as shaking, sweating, and feeling hot are all part of a healthy response to anger.
Short-term experiences of anger are part of regular human life. After the experience has passed and we healthily address our frustrations, our body returns to a balanced state.
Prolonged or extreme anger can affect the mind and body in the following ways:
- Lasting changes in the brain and body
- Chronic stress and related conditions
- Damages relationships
Experiencing extreme and regular bouts of anger will expose the brain and body to heightened levels of stress hormones. When the mind and body are constantly being bombarded with these heavy physiological changes, we can condition ourselves to be “comfortable” with dysregulation. Our bodies will adjust to any of the conditions we subject them to, for better or worse.
Some of the potential long-term effects of extreme and regular bouts of anger include:
- Heart disease
- Poor memory
- Poor sleep and appetite
It is also possible to lash out at important people in your life, affecting your loved ones and colleagues at work. Learning how to manage and express your anger in healthier ways is an essential part of living a healthy and balanced life.
5 Easy Ways to Calm Your Anger
Although many avenues lead to better anger management, it is possible to start from exactly where you are. Let’s consider five simple techniques to help calm your anger in healthier ways.
#1. Deep Breathing
Deep breathing is one of the simplest, yet most effective ways to manage stress and rebalance the body. By bringing the mind and body into a state of harmony, breathing exercises have a way of bringing you back to the present moment.
#2. Step Away
It can also be helpful to step away and take a walk when anger becomes overwhelming. Rather than staying in a situation that can potentially push you to say or do regretful things, walking away gives you the chance to recollect yourself. Learning how to snap out of it when you are triggered is a great life skill that can be achieved with patience and practice.
#3. Think Positively
Finding more ways to think and act positively can influence your thoughts and feelings regularly. Shifting your mind away from the things that may upset you onto more productive, inspiring, and empowering topics can shift your mood.
#4. Utilize a Support System
Having and utilizing a strong support system is a great way to better manage your emotions, such as anger. If you have loved ones that can listen to you and offer helpful advice, then leaning on them when you’re struggling with anger can be helpful.
#5. Talk to a Therapist
There are also licensed therapists and counselors who offer compassionate guidance and mentorship. Having a wise and nonjudgmental presence to hold space for you and your experiences can help you open up to the deeper feelings that can be contributing to extreme anger.
Anger can be an intense and challenging emotion to handle. Particularly when a person may be experiencing underlying conditions such as trauma, depression, anxiety, and other health conditions. Finding the best therapeutic alliance that supports and nurtures your healing is essential to overcoming any mental health challenges that you may have.
A therapist offers a safe space to express your feelings while encouraging you to uncover deeper understandings about your patterns and emotions. A therapist can help you understand your anger, what’s causing it, and how to go about changing your experience for the better. The guidance that a therapist offers can help you learn how to get in touch with yourself and stay attuned to the best experience for you.
Anger has a way of consuming a person’s daily thoughts, feelings, and habits. If anger is left unmanaged, it can fuel a host of other chronic mental and physical health conditions. Finding ways to identify and manage anger will help you get aligned with a healthier and happier life experience. Getting in touch with the things that trigger you will help you learn the best ways to manage symptoms before your anger turns into a full-blown rage. Fortunately, anger can be addressed, managed, and expressed in healthy ways. With time and dedication, you can commit to a healthier expression of your feelings. Contact Mindfuli at 866-973-4415 for virtual access to caring and compassionate medical professionals committed to your healing.