Anger is considered a secondary emotion. This means that underneath your immediate feeling of anger, you likely feel a more genuine emotion. Commonly, sadness or hurt underlies the emotion we so automatically label our emotion, “anger.” Remember, it is okay to FEEL angry, but it’s important to address the genuine emotion that lies beneath.
What differentiates anger from aggression? Being aggressive implies there is a behavior associated with feeling angry. For instance, if you feel like throwing your phone against a wall, that is aggression, not anger. It’s important we understand what we do with our angry feelings and remember your behavior is your choice.
It’s important to realize aggression can deeply hurt others and to understand what triggers us to anger and aggression. As a therapist who once worked in a maximum security prison, I learned how critical our belief systems are when we attempt to manage our anger and aggression. There are several common underlying beliefs individuals with anger and aggression problems might consciously or unconsciously think.
If you are struggling with anger and aggression management, see if you agree with any of the following statements:
I experience anger more intensely than most other people.
Anger always leads to aggression.
Other people deserved the response they received from me.
People should accept how I act, even if it is aggressive.
Anger problems are hereditary, I can’t help it.
If you are struggling with managing anger and aggression, there are several ways to cope with your feelings instead of acting out. Consider exercising, therapy, prayer, meditation, or spending time in nature. Biofeedback and/or neurofeedback can also assist you with gaining improved self-regulation.
Remember, it is okay to feel angry, but looking more into the beliefs behind your anger will help you understand how you might be acting. Reach out beyond anger and aggression to understand yourself better and have the freedom to be your best self.