Dealing with anger - The Mind Map
By Tess Leigh-Phillips

Dealing with anger

Where does anger come from and how can we deal with it?

Published 26/11/2021
Anger is an important emotion. As a therapist I’m more encouraged when someone feels angry, than if they feel helpless or apathetic as it’s actually a step towards empowerment and self reflection. Bare with me!

You can learn so much about yourself through anger. We all feel it, some more than others. Some people repress it. If you grew up in a home where anger was considered a negative emotion for example, you may do anything to avoid it as an adult.

If you witnessed explosive rows, anger may come easily to you.

No emotion is simply bad or good – they’re all part of the wide and colourful spectrum that makes us human. And when an emotion is repressed it gains more power over us in the long term.

If you feel angry and you push it away and ignore it, that energy gets stored. It doesn’t disappear just because you wish it would! Anything that gets repressed becomes toxic in the end, so feeling, sitting with, and processing uncomfortable feelings is crucial.

A lot of anger comes from fear, or pride. If you can identify where it might be coming from, really get to the root of it (it’s not always coming from where you think ) then you’re well on the way to effectively dealing with it.

Counselling is a constructive way to untangle what’s going on for you in terms of anger.

Self compassion is crucial – there’s no point being hard on yourself for having the feelings you have.

You can help what you do with those feelings though – how you behave. Getting rid of pent up energy in constructive ways is crucial to managing anger. Exercise, dancing, hiking and getting fresh air, shouting and singing at the top of your lungs, hitting a pillow, getting fired up about a cause, pouring your focus into a project. All these are ways to ensure this energy doesn’t just lurk within you, causing problems.

Meditation will help you build and strengthen your focus, which we often lose when anger takes hold, and it will also give you clarity – which also often disappears in the heat of the moment.

Connecting with others can also take us out of our own heads, and practicing gratitude too. A grateful heart doesn’t have as much room in it for anger.

Many people experience anger as a build up of many years of holding back, of not expressing how they really feel -what they want and need. So, speaking your truth, being honest and courageous with your voice, is a sure way to avoid anger and frustration further down the line.

A therapist can help you build the confidence to communicate how you feel and help you discover what it is you want in life if you aren’t sure (feeling confused and lost is another common anger trigger.)

Most importantly don’t be scared of anger. It is just another emotion, just energy, part of being human. It has something to tell you, it can teach you so much about yourself. Learn to face it, channel it in the right way, and anger really can become a life enhancing gift.