The Affects of Anger
HAVE ANGER – WILL TRAVEL means that anger affects us and those around us both physically and emotionally. Whether you are the person experiencing and acting on your anger or you are simply in the room with an angry person, you nevertheless feel the travel of negatively directed emotions. Second-hand anger is similar to the concept of second-hand smoke. It invades your space. You may feel relieved if it is not directed at you, yet your stomach churns anyway. Your insides might go into fight or flight mode, even if you remain quiet.
Clients often explain how they feel inside when someone’s anger is directed at another person or object. They make comments such as:
“I heard my boss say cross words to an employee. I’m afraid my boss will yell at me.”
“I was only mad at the TV. Why should it have bothered my family?”
“My teacher yells at everyone…well, not me, but it is still scary.”
If Your Anger Seems to be Escalating
In the short term, anger can cause such problems as headaches, migraines, chest pains, joint or muscular aches, and road rage. It can also put you at risk for hypertension, high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, lowered immune system, diabetes, eating disorders, obesity or alcoholism. Over the long term, anger issues can further complicate pre-existing health conditions and even your career.
You may recognize the detriments that anger has on your well-being. If your anger persists for extended periods of time, is hard to handle, or seems to be triggered by irritants that never used to bother you, you would benefit from finding out why these feelings are happening. While medication may offer you some relief for depression or anxiety, medication alone is unlikely to mitigate the mental and physical risks of anger. This is when psychological intervention is advisable.
How Your Anger Might Affect Interpersonal Relationships
You may have heard the saying “laughter is contagious.” The same holds true for negative emotions. Your anger can affect not only you, but the people in your life as well. At the very least, your anger can cause people to feel put off, upset, intimidated, or frightened by you. Are you wanting to be perceived in this way?
Solving conflict with anger, yelling, and violence also sets an unhealthy precedent in relationships and undermines the ability to maintain open, trusting communication. Those around you may say they feel like they are walking on eggshells, never certain of what you might react to, especially if your anger is explosive. Realizing that you are not the only one affected by your actions can help you determine more effective strategies for dealing with angry emotions. This article in Psychology Today talks about some useful tactics for dealing with unhealthy anger.
History has demonstrated the harmful association of anger with health risks. Learning how to express anger in a healthy, respectful manner is important both for you and those around you. If you are someone who becomes angry frequently or even enraged, you would benefit from psychotherapy to learn why you get so angry, how you impact others, and how to express it more appropriately. If you are someone who feels targeted by an angry person, you, too, would benefit from strengthening your coping skills and self-esteem with the assistance of a psychologist.
Maybe HAVE ANGER – WILL TRAVEL will set you on a positive path of self-discovery. So, when you are ready, saddle up, and ride in a new direction!
If you have any questions or concerns you would like help addressing, please feel free to contact my office.