Understanding Anger

Holding onto anger is like grasping onto a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else. You are the one who gets burned. — Buddha


Anger is a completely normal, usually healthy, human emotion. But when it gets out of control and turns destructive, it can lead to challenges—challenges at work, in your personal relationships, and in the overall quality of your life.

Anger is a social emotion; you always have a target that your anger is directed against (even if that target is yourself).

Anger is an emotion that can range from mild annoyance to intense rage. It is a feeling that results in biological changes in your body. When you get angry, your heart rate and blood pressure increase and stress hormones are released. As a result of these physical reactions long-term anger can be detrimental to health and wellbeing.

Anger is rarely, if ever, the only emotion you feel when you lose your temper. It is a way of coping, an indication that what you hold important is not the way it should be — and you don’t know how to change it. If you thought that you could impact on the situation, you would have already believed we could effectively change the situation; we already would have and wouldn’t feel such strong emotion.

When you get angry, you often behave angrily too. Examples of angry behaviour include yelling, throwing things, criticising and ignoring.

Anger can also be a ‘secondary emotion’ to other emotions, such as, feeling sad, frightened, threatened or lonely.

It is important to try to recognise why you (or somebody else) is feeling angry, in order to get to the root cause, so the issue can be addressed and problems solved.