Understanding Anger

Understanding Anger

Coming back from winter break is overwhelming, and getting into the swing of things again is no easy feat. With only four months left in the school year, you may be experiencing what we have come to know as “senioritis” and/or “summeritis.” Having to prepare for your future as well as a math test next block can conjure an array of profuse emotions, and quite frankly, make you angry.

Fear, sadness, embarrassment, rejection, and uncertainty are all emotions lying beneath the tip of the anger iceberg. Referred to as a “secondary emotion,” anger is simply fueled by other initial negative emotions, ones that aren’t as easy to show and process.

Your primary emotions lead you to feel vulnerable or weak. One of the prominent cases that conjures these feelings is being put in a situation where you are no longer in control of your surroundings.

As human beings, our natural instinct is to mask feelings of insecurity with surges of anger. It may feel as if it’s easier to initially place blame or lash out at others rather than re-accessing the situation and initiating a problem-solving process. However, assertiveness is not equivalent to power.

In the moment, your thought process is being overridden. Releasing tension in the form of anger may feel like the best distresser at first, but it doesn’t dispose of your initial primary emotions still lying beneath the tip of the anger iceberg.

Overcoming anger is easier said than done, but that does not imply it to be impossible. Having mindfulness of these few tactics and incorporating them into your day-to-day life can help you sail right around the iceberg, no matter the weather.

Take the following information with a grain of salt as I am not a licensed professional, but rather writing based on extensive research and personal insight.

Will your issue be significant in an hour? Will your issue be significant tomorrow? What about in a week? In a month? A year? My point being, are you really handling a permanent life-altering event, or a temporary one with a solution, no matter how challenging that solution may be? Is this something worth losing a relationship, job, time, money, sleep, or peace over?

Rather than lashing out at someone or something, find an alternative to exhaust and release your negative energy. This can be excusing yourself to breathe/meditate in private, going for a walk, exercising, journaling, taking a hot bath, etc. Finding a creative outlet is another healthy coping mechanism, whether that be performing arts or visual arts.

Start by asking yourself what is triggering you and why? Which primary emotion (fear, sadness, embarrassment, rejection, uncertainty) led you to become angry? If other people were stimulating your triggers, how can you address them and get your point across in a calm manner? When you understand how and why you feel and react in specific ways, you can manage and prevent your emotions from being elevated to the next level.

Ultimately, you have the power to prevent anger from overpowering you by decreasing anger’s influence over your thoughts, emotions, and behaviors. You are NOT your emotions.

For more information you can contact the Youth Services Center or make an appointment with your grade-level counselor.

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