Is It Anger or Anxiety?
Anger and anxiety do not necessarily seem related. Some people with anxiety have a hard time getting angry because their anxiety makes them feel helpless. But others experience anxiety in a completely different way and the outcome can come in the form of an angry outburst. If this happens to you, it is important to start to identify which comes first – the anger or the anxiety.
Not all anxiety causes anger and not all anger causes anxiety. Anger can come from a multitude of causes. Having said that, anger itself can be a cause of anxiety. For people with uncontrolled anger, they may feel anxiety over their inability to control their anger.
From an anxiety standpoint, excessive stress and anxious thoughts can result in activating the body’s fight or flight response. This response is what causes people to react with a feeling of a need to flee or a need to fight. When someone has the urge to “fight”, this is where the anger reaction comes in.
For those experiencing both anger and anxiety, learning skills to control both is imperative.
Basic ways to control anger include:
Removing yourself from a situation as soon as you feel angry is important. Doing this allows you to learn to “flee” rather than “fight”.
Journaling allows a safe space to share all the angry thoughts and feelings before they become bottled up. Writing helps to keep your mind from constantly focusing on the anger and dissipates it.
When you start to feel irritated and a sense of losing control, relaxed breathing can give you a quick way to take a step back. Close your eyes and breathe in slowly to the count of 4 and then release slowly to a count of 4. Do this a few times until you feel yourself starting to calm down. This will disrupt the anger that was looming.
Basic ways to control anxiety include:
Grounding is being in the present moment. Focus only on the things around you. Take notice of what you hear, smell, see and feel. Pay attention to the fact nothing bad is happening to you at that very time.
Progressive Muscle Relaxation
Our bodies automatically respond to stress by becoming tense. A good way of relaxing the mind is to intentionally relax the body. Tense each muscle group and then release starting from the top of your head and working down to your feet. This relaxes the muscles and allows you to notice the contrast between tension and relaxation.
For further insight into your own anxiety, please join the I Am Peaceful: Defeating Anxiety and Worry Tribe starting September 6, 2016.