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Anger is an emotional state that varies in intensity from mild irritation to intense wrath and rage. Like all other emotions, it's accompanied by physiological and biological changes.

Expressing Anger

In anger, your heart rate and blood pressure go up, and so do the levels of your energy hormones and adrenaline. Anger is either caused by external or internal events, so you can be angry at a specific person an event, or your anger could be caused by worrying or brooding about your personal problems.

It is a natural, adaptive response to threats. It inspires powerful, aggressive feelings and behaviors, which allow you to fight and defend yourself when under attack. It can be a difficult emotion to express and manage, particularly because we have primarily been taught to express emotions other than anger. Therefore, it is not uncommon to feel guilty or ashamed about being angry, despite it being a very normal and necessary emotion. Anger management teaches you how to express your anger in a healthy way. You can learn to show your feelings and needs while respecting others. [1]

People use a variety of approaches to show their anger. Expressing your angry feelings in an assertive manner is the healthiest way to express anger. Anger can be suppressed and then be converted into more constructive behavior. You can also follow another approach – you can control your external behavior while angry while also controlling your internal responses [2].

Why Are Some People Angrier Than Others?

Some people really are more impetuous than others. They get angry more easily and more intensely than other people. There are also those who don't show their anger in loud, spectacular, ways but are chronically irritable and grumpy. Easily angered people don't always curse and throw things; sometimes they withdraw socially, sulk, or become physically ill. Yes, anger has a negative effect on people's health [3], and the ability to contribute to: 

  • Coronary heart diseases
  • Diabetes
  • Bulimia
  • Road accidents 

Scientific literature demonstrates the connection between anger, hostility, and aggression and various health risks. The intervention for healing or preventing these diseases should not only be pharmacological, but also psychological [3]. 

People who are easily angered generally have a low tolerance for the frustration, aggravations, and hassles of daily living and seem to overreact to the many problems people face every day. They feel that they should not be subjected to frustration, inconvenience, or annoyance. They can't take things in their stride, and are particularly exasperated if the situation seems unreasonable: for example, such people might be annoyed on being corrected for a minor mistake.

What Makes These People This Way?

Some people redirect anger in specific ways: Some just seem to be born grumpy and angry, however, there usually is something in their life that makes them in this way. Their anger problems aren’t always caused by aggression; in fact, passive-aggressive people will only show a few people their bad side. You may know someone as one of the kindest people around, and yet someone else will see just how uncontrollable he or she is or can be. This is because some people redirect their anger in specific ways or towards specific people.

Anger may come from genes: It may be genetic or physiological. There is evidence that some children are born irritable, touchy, and easily angered, and that these signs are present from a very early age. There are babies who are crankier than others. Teens who are angry may also have a genetic predisposition, or they may be modeling their behavior after other family members. [4, 5]

Anger may be sociocultural: Anger is often regarded as negative; we're taught ways to express anxiety, depression, or other emotions but not anger. As a result, we don't learn how to handle it or channel it constructively. [5]

Family background: Family background may play a role in anger. Typically, people who are easily angered come from families that are disruptive, chaotic, and not skilled at emotional communication. [6]

Some angry people are manipulative: They think and behave as if others will change their behavior as a result of their moodiness or tantrums. These people have no real sense of control. They give the illusion of being in control, but a person with a temper or anger problem can’t be motivating or inspiring as anger acts as a blockage. Such people are believed to suffer from low self-esteem. Actually, insecurity is the bottom line. They are very much aware of the fact that they are mediocre in many aspects of their lives and try to feign control. They try to hide the truth from themselves and feel that they can camouflage their insecurities with tantrums, flare-ups, mood swings, and sulking. Scientific literature reasoned that individuals with unstable high self-esteem would report especially strong tendencies to experience anger and hostility, and that individuals with stable high self-esteem would report particularly low tendencies. [7]

Authoritative nature: People who get angry easily sometimes have a sense of entitlement. They want to be the authority on any matter they bring up and do not expect you to counter anything they have to say. Sometimes they feel they deserve to be tended to, and not doing so angers them. A study investigated anger in relation to a social status; researchers concluded that Americans with lower social status expressed more anger and — in their case, a lower social standing was associated with greater frustration stemming from life adversities and blocked goals. On the other hand, Japanese people with higher social status expressed more anger, with the relationship mediated by decision-making authority. [8]
Stress aggravates anger: Some people have frustrations or problems in their lives which make them react more strongly than others. The pain and discomfort in their life makes them do so. So our personal situation plays a major role in our reactions to various circumstances in life. The reason we get angry is because it's a way of trying to avoid the emotional pain that we experience. But primarily we get angry to communicate our thoughts and our feelings. [9]

Some people may suffer from intermittent explosive disorder: There are people who react to situations with a sudden outburst without thinking about repercussions. This little-known disorder, marked by episodes of unwarranted anger, is more common than previously thought. It affects as much as 7.3 percent of adults in their lifetime, up to 16 million Americans. 

Many people diagnosed with IED appear to have general problems with anger or other impulsive behaviors. They may attack others and their possessions, causing bodily injury and property damage. They may experience racing thoughts or a heightened energy level during the aggressive episode, with fatigue and depression developing shortly afterward. Some report various physical sensations, including tightness in the chest, tingling sensations, tremor, or a feeling of pressure inside the head.

Intermittent explosive disorder often starts in the teenage years and may lead to depression, anxiety and substance abuse, which is the case for more than 80% of people suffering from the disorder. However, less than 30% of them ever received treatment for their anger. [10

How To Manage Anger

Anger management reduces both your emotional feelings and the physiological arousal that anger causes. Getting rid of or avoiding, the things or the people that enrage you is not possible, nor can you change them, but you can learn to control your reactions. 

Anger management skills, learned through a combination of cognitive restructuring, raising endurance levels, and relaxation training look promising. Simple relaxation tools, such as deep breathing and relaxing imagery, can help calm down angry feelings. Cognitive restructuring i.e. changing the way you think, is another way of calming yourself. Remind yourself that getting angry is not going to fix anything, and it won't make you feel any better. [11]

It is wise to approach problems (that arouse your anger) with your best intentions and efforts and make a serious attempt to face them head-on. Thereby, you will be less likely to lose patience and fall into all-or-nothing thinking, even if the problem does not get solved right away. Using humor to help you face problems more constructively might be helpful. Another technique is to give yourself a break from your immediate surroundings that give you cause for irritation and fury.