Anger is often talked about as a “secondary emotion”. This means that it is usually comes out because of a different emotion. In the picture you will see that just below the waters’ surface are emotions like embarrassed, stress, hurt, unsure, scared etc. There are other feelings like grief, sadness, shame and anxiety, among others, that could also be on this list. When you or someone you are close to is showing anger, try to pause, take a deep breath to calm your own response, and take a bit of a mental step back to see if there is something else going on that might be causing this reaction.
You can do this with others, but it is probably more important to start with yourself. It takes practice, but you can do it! Learning what triggers your own anger, is an important piece of becoming self aware, and when you are self aware, you are in the perfect place to grow in your character!
Anger itself is not a bad thing – in fact it is healthy to experience and understand why you are feeling angry. But there are healthy and unhealthy ways to handle your anger. Healthy ways to manage your anger are things like controlled breathing, examining your feelings, taking a timeout, distraction exercises like counting backwards from 20, journaling, exercising, etc. Unhealthy ways to deal with your anger are things like yelling, hitting others/yourself, swearing, throwing/breaking things, etc.
If you struggle with unhealthy angry outbursts, I would encourage you to talk to a trusted adult that can help you practice and work through why you feel the way you do. They can help you learn how to control your responses so that they are healthy and growing for you. As always, if you need someone to talk to, send me an email or click on the Kid’s Help Phone link to the left.