Digging Deeper – Uncovering the Emotions Under Your Anger

Chances are, if you are reading this blog, you are interested in learning how to control your anger more effectively. One of the most effective ways to control anger is to recognize the emotions underneath it. Did you know that when you feel anger, there is almost always another emotion paired with it? Anger is a secondary emotion, which means that another feeling always precedes it. The issue is that sometimes, anger comes so fast and so strong, it buries the initial feeling we have.

Below are five quick steps to gaining emotional control and minimizing anger:

  1. Notice your anger. Become aware of your triggers for anger and the way your body reacts or feels when you are experiencing anger. Being aware of your anger is essential to taking the next step, which is beginning the slowing down process.
  2. Take a break. Take a break or a moment to pause in order to reflect on the triggers for your anger and to gain some sense of control over your anger.
  3. Identify your emotions. As you increase your sense of control, you can identify the feelings that come before your anger, or the feelings that are “buried underneath” your anger. Remember, anger is a defense mechanism, but it also gives you a false sense of control and protection.  When you feel anger, it should serve as a signal that you are actually feeling another emotion.
  4. Normalize your emotions. Triggers (or the things that cause you to feel angry) are not actually what cause anger. It is actually the emotions paired with your triggers that cause you to feel angry. Usually, anger protects you from having to feel uncomfortable emotions. Tell yourself that it is okay to feel the emotion under your anger. Remind yourself that everyone feels emotions, and your emotions are nothing to be ashamed of.
  5. Talk about your emotions. Tell someone how you are actually feeling. By talking about your emotions, not anger, you will be able to give someone an idea of why you are experiencing emotions. This will allow them to empathize with you, and to also come up with a plan to address your concerns/emotions. You may also be able to ask for what you need to feel better.

By following these simple steps, you can begin to gain control over your anger, build healthy communication patterns, and feel more in control overall.

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