Why Anger is Different from Other Emotions
Of all the emotions, anger is perhaps the one that most people have the hardest time dealing with. That’s most likely because anger is not like the other emotions. It is unique. In fact, a 2017 survey by the Mental Health Foundation of 2000 people found that 28% are sometimes worried about the level of anger that they feel.
While feeling anger can have negative consequences, anger, in general, can move us toward a happier and healthier life.
Here are 5 ways anger is not like other emotions.
1) It’s Motivating
Anger gives us energy. And while other emotions tend to make us withdraw from others and life, anger causes us to want to engage. Anger is the motivator that gets us to interact with other people, perhaps those we feel are negatively impacting our life. Anger is what often catapults us into social situations and events that are necessary to bring about change.
Anger is one activating emotion. The question is what is it activating. Positive change or destruction?
2) Anger is Complicated
Anger is not a singular experience, but rather a grouping of feelings. When we become angry, it is because we first feel something else: shame, hurt, disrespected, vulnerable, or neglected. In this way, anger is much more complicated than other emotions. It is often referred to as a “iceberg” because often it’s the only emotion you see while the shame, hurt, disrespect, vulnerability, or neglect stay hidden underneath.
3) It Yearns to be Expressed
Other emotions can simply be felt silently, but not anger. It wants to be famous, a star, something that everyone knows about. Anger insists that it be expressed out loud. Unfortunately, most people misdirect their anger, erupting at the wrong times and at the wrong people. But it is the emotion, everyone is comfortable with witnessing.
4) It Can Be Turned Inward or Outward
While we are directing that anger outwardly, even sometimes toward the wrong people, we can just as easily direct it inward toward ourselves. When directed towards ourselves we experience depression, self-defeat, and helplessness. We generally don’t even realize we are doing it until we have done emotional damage.
5) Anger is Hazardous to Your Health
While feeling sad is uncomfortable, being angry is downright bad for your health. Research has discovered that individuals prone to anger are more at risk for heart attacks. Have you ever seen someone angry? Next time notice all the physical changes they display during their anger.
While anger can be destructive to relationships and our health, it can also motivate us and lead to positive life changes, if harnessed properly. The keys to using anger in a healthy way are to become aware of it when you feel it, recognize the real cause of it and commit to interpreting its message so you can make necessary changes.