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Why It’s Unhealthy to be Angry

When you’re learning to manage your anger in a nonaggressive way, the first steps consist of recognizing how anger feels for you, and getting to know the situations that produce it.

It’s easier to take these first steps if you can become aware of your anger’s symptoms.

Cognitive Signs

Cognitive signs have to do with the thoughts you have in response to an anger- provoking event. When you’re angry, you may think that a friend’s neutral comments are critical of you, or you may think that others’ actions are demeaning, humiliating, or controlling. Some people call thoughts like these negative self-talk because they’re like a conversation you’re having with yourself about the world and other people. Closely related to this kind of self-talk are vengeful fantasies of defeating a perceived enemy and painful images of betrayal by someone you love. Thoughts, self-talk, fantasies, and images like these can make your anger escalate very rapidly, and they’re almost always focused on other people. But taking the focus off yourself puts control of an anger-provoking situation in someone else’s hands. You can learn to take negative self-talk as an indication of rising tension within yourself. If you notice yourself having thoughts like the ones listed below, try to remember that changing your tone or behavior can prevent an unnecessarily negative inter- action with someone else:

• He did that on purpose.

• She wanted to hurt me.

• You deserved this.

• They never even asked me.

• She’s being unreasonable.

• They think they’re better than me.

• I’ll show him.

• It’s not fair!

• He started it.

• She doesn’t care about me.

• They can’t be trusted.

Behavioral Signs

Behavioral signs of anger involve your tone of voice, posture, and other kinds of body language as well as direct and indirect actions like these:

• Clenching your fists

• Pacing back and forth

• Slamming a door

• Kicking or throwing something

• Getting in someone’s face

• Shoving, grabbing, or hitting

• Breaking something

• Calling someone names

• Giving someone a dirty look

• Giving someone the silent treatment

• Committing acts of road rage

• Drinking or using drugs

• Eating too much or too little

• Blaming others

• Making accusations

• Yelling

Physical Signs

Physical signs are often the first indications that you’re becoming angry. If you can learn to recognize these signs as your responses to anger-provoking events, you can take steps to soothe yourself before your anger escalates to the point of losing control:

• Faster heart rate

• Higher blood pressure

• Increased sweating

• Muscle tightness

• Headache

• Nausea or vomiting

• Sleep problems

• Fatigue

• Shallow breathing

Emotional Signs

Before you feel anger, you always have a different, primary feeling. It’s often a feeling that causes you to see yourself as wrong or vul- nerable in some way, but you may also just feel flat, apathetic, or depressed before you get angry. Getting angry may relieve that primary feeling, or it may continue alongside your anger. Either way, the discomfort of enduring primary feelings like these makes it easy for you to move quickly to anger:

• Hostility

• Sadness

• Guilt

• Jealousy

• Shock

• Worry

• Defensiveness

• Suspiciousness

• Shame

• Apathy (lack of interest)

• Panic

• Pessimism

Why It’s Unhealthy to be Angry


Aaron Karmin


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APA Reference
Karmin, A. (2019). Why It’s Unhealthy to be Angry. Psych Central. Retrieved on August 23, 2019, from https://blogs.psychcentral.com/anger/2019/07/why-its-unhealthy-to-be-angry/

 

Last updated: 7 Aug 2019
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