Anger is a normal emotion that arises when we feel wronged, something gets in the way of our goals or we perceive a threat to our identity. When we manage anger well, it prompts us to make positive changes in our lives and situations. Yet, poorly managed anger is counterproductive and unhealthy. When anger is too intense, out of control, misdirected and overly aggressive, it can lead to poor decisions and unhappy relationships. When consumed with anger, we tend to cope less well with stress, have lower self-esteem, be more likely to misuse drugs or alcohol, and judge other people unfairly.
While you might feel that you just explode into anger without warning, in fact, there are physical warning signs in your body. Anger is a normal physical response. It fuels the “fight or flight” system of the body, and the angrier you get, the more your body goes into overdrive. Becoming aware of your own personal signs that anger is starting to boil allows you to take steps to manage it before it gets out of control.
Be aware of your anger warning signs and triggers:
- Knots in your stomach
- Clenching your hands or jaw
- Feeling clammy or flushed
- Breathing faster
- Pacing or needing to walk around
- “Seeing red”
- Having trouble concentrating
- Pounding heart
- Tensing your shoulders
Next: What provokes your anger?
- Controlling anger before it controls you. Retrieved October 4, 2018 from: American Psychological Association. http://www.apa.org/topics/anger/control.aspx.
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- Mehta M, et al., eds. (2015). Anger management. In: A Practical Approach to Cognitive Behaviour Therapy for Adolescents. New Delhi, India: Springer India.
- Pish S, et al. (2016). Anger management program participants gain behavioral changes in interpersonal relationships. Journal of Extension. 55. Retrieved October 3, 2018 from: https://joe.org/joe/2016october/a3.php.