Anger can be an umbrella: hiding other softer emotions underneath and protecting us from the outside world by pushing everyone away
Many of us experience anger too often. It can be difficult to control, can have negative effects on our physical health, and can certainly impact our relationships with others. We may become angry in various situations (road rage anyone?) when what we really feel is stressed, embarrassed, afraid, disappointed, sad, tired, or worried. Anger can function like an umbrella cast over the deeper, more genuine emotions we’re feeling. Anger is often the fastest response in your brain so you may quickly jump to anger and not even see the other feelings hiding underneath. Also, especially for men, anger is more socially acceptable than admitting to something deeper like feeling afraid or hurt.
Even though it is quicker and sometimes even more socially acceptable, unmanaged anger can be really damaging in your life, your health, your relationships, and even your ability to achieve success. When we respond in anger we are basically pushing other people away. When we are willing to look underneath the umbrella and figure out what we are really feeling, we can then reach towards others and build relationships and connections that can really help.
So how can we manage anger?
Therapy – Talking with a therapist to work through what might be upsetting you underneath the anger. Talk about where it’s coming from and how to better handle it. This type of professional is impartial and educated in how to understand and manage anger. A therapist really gets the way emotions work and can help you learn to recognize what triggers your anger and discover what other emotions might be masked by that anger. He or she can then coach you through how to manage your anger in a healthy way.
Physical activity – having physical outlets for stress and other feelings can help to reduce angry responses. When we get our heart rate up for at least 20 minutes our bodies release a bunch of healthy endorphins that can help reduce the tension and irritability that go along with anger.
Self-Reflection– this could be through talking with therapist, journaling, prayer, sharing with a close friend, in a support group, or using meditation to look inward and ask yourself what is underneath your angry feelings in your own life.
Creation – making or building something, whether it’s in artistic ways or even changing something in your home, can also serve as an outlet to channel or use your feelings instead of getting trapped in anger.
Dr. Courtney Klein is a psychologist at The Catalyst Center. She is gifted at helping people learn to understand what triggers angry responses and find healthy ways to cope with and move through anger so that you can get on with your life.
Give us a call at 720-675-7123 today to book an appointment with Dr. Klein or read more about her at