What is anger?

Anger is one of the basic human emotions. Anger takes many different forms from irritation to blinding rage or resentment that festers over many years. At any point in time, a combination of physical, mental and social factors interact to make us feel a certain way. It’s different for each of us. Our feelings are influenced by our emotional make-up, how we view the world, what happens around us and our circumstances. Like other emotions, anger rarely acts alone

How does anger work?

As we go about our lives, we’re constantly weighing up situations and deciding what we think about them: good or bad, safe or unsafe etc. How we interpret a situation influences how we feel about it. If we think a situation means ‘you are in danger’, we feel afraid. If it means ‘you have been wronged’, we feel angry. And these feelings determine how we react to the situation. We translate meanings into feelings very fast. With anger, that speed sometimes means that we react in ways we later regret.

 

Is it always bad to feel angry?

Anger is a natural response to feeling attacked, injured or violated. Anger can help us survive, give us the strength to fight back or run away when attacked or faced with injustice. In itself, it’s neither good nor bad, but it can be frightening.

Angry feelings can lead to destructive and violent behaviour, and so we tend to be frightened of anger.

When something makes you angry, you feel excitement in your body and emotions. Your glands are pumping your blood full of the hormone adrenalin, preparing for fight or flight. You are full of energy, alert, ready for action. Tension builds up, but is released when you express your anger. The release is good for you, helping to keep body and mind in balance and able to face life’s challenges.