I feel ANGRY

Written by Violaine Guéritault, Ph.D.

What is it?

Anger reveals a deep need for control when you feel you’re lacking control over what’s happening to you. It makes you feel in charge rather than helpless when you feel frustrated, invalidated or treated unfairly. It’s a natural and mostly automatic response to perceived threats. It has a survival value because it provides you with a perceived sense of control, but it can become a real problem if you don’t manage it in a healthy way. However, when well managed and expressed with sound judgment, anger can motivate you to solve problems, drive you toward your goals, and protect your values and beliefs.

What is it telling you?

It’s telling you that you are in a situation that makes you feel powerless and that you are converting your feelings of vulnerability and helplessness into feelings of control and power. Anger is often experienced as a way to avoid acknowledging the painful feelings associated with vulnerability.

How to manage it?
  • Practice mindfulness and meditation. They both teach relaxation skills that will not only help you manage your anger but will also help you express it wisely and constructively.
  • Practice thinking before you speak.
  • Take a time out and breathe deeply.
  • Get some exercise. Physical activity can help you reduce stress that causes you to become angry.
  • Don’t hold a grudge. Forgiveness can go a very long way and will help you not get swallowed up by your own bitterness and resentment.