The Up Side of Anger
A woman becomes furious at her cancer diagnosis. Suddenly, she is in remission. Neuroimmunologist Dr. Candace Pert shared that story to illustrate the connection between our physical and mental selves, or our “bodymind.”
Our emotions link our bodies to our minds and spirits, she said. All emotions, including anger, convey messages to our conscious selves.
“Anger” is an emotional or behavioral reaction to an unmet expectation. A friend is an hour late for dinner. Someone takes a parking space we were waiting for. We don’t get that promotion. We get angry because each outcome we desired is not going to happen.
Suppressing anger can lead to cardiovascular issues and depression. The trick is rewiring our brains to process anger appropriately instead of acting out in potentially harmful ways. Accept that anger is a signal something is out of balance. Tell your tardy friend how her actions impact you. “When you’re late, I feel angry because it feeds into the belief that you don’t respect our friendship.” This is a way to vent your anger without lashing out.
Anger at work might mean you’re in a job you don’t really like. Could this frustration be an opportunity to find a position you love?
Pay attention to thoughts you’re experiencing around whatever triggered your anger response, take a deep breath, and observe your emotions from a different perspective. Is anger protecting you from feeling vulnerable or threatened? Are you replaying an old tape from your past?
Rather than suppressing your anger, remember it’s our body’s way of signaling something’s out of balance. Honestly assessing the situation can help transform anger into taking action for a positive, healing outcome.