How Unexpressed Anger Impacts Your Mental Health

 / 

,
unexpressed anger impacts your mental health

Most of us tend to ignore or avoid our negative feelings that can arise from different situations, instead of learning to deal with them. We don’t learn to let go of them and that is the reason many people suffer from unexpressed anger and pent-up frustrations which can later negatively affect our physical, psychological, and social functions.

Though we often associate the two, anger is not aggression. Aggression is the enactment of anger and can take many forms from physical to verbal. Anger, however, is an emotion, a feeling. There is an odd irony that anger is in the same club of emotions like joy and love because it can feel so utterly different, easily igniting aggression with the right conditions.

Under its spell, we can feel like a pumped-up, steroid-injected alter ego that we don’t recognize later on. On one end of the spectrum, anger can be the source of festering stress. On the other, anger can be the fuel to violence and destruction, even death.

Related: Karl Koch’s Tree Test: What A Drawing Can Reveal About Your Emotions

Anger is so strong that it has the capacity to change others’ behavior. No other human emotion has the capacity to bend the will of another the way anger can, especially when anger turns to aggression. I certainly hightailed it away from that New York muscle man.

Anger expressed in this way is like the growling lion in the wild. This kind of anger creates fear, the effect of which is to scare off an intruder or predator. The approach of the fight can induce an avoidance reaction of flight.

anger is a potent spice. It is an emotion.
How Unexpressed Anger Impacts Your Mental Health

But the emotion of anger that we often experience as humans is not always, or even usually, expressed as outward and violent aggression. Unlike lions, humans do not act on instinct alone.

What Are The Causes Of Unexpressed Anger

Often, people turn these emotions of anger inward to the later surface as depression or bitterness. In my work as a psychiatrist with children and adults, it is not unusual to discover that repressed anger has turned into a sense of powerlessness, stress, frustration, or disapproval.

Many of these people are experiencing anger and do not know how to express or handle this very powerful emotion. Anger can rankle in the human brain and manifest in many other destructive ways. Anger’s power over us individually is immense, and its ripple effect throughout all aspects of our lives—our relationships, our careers, educational experiences, even our longevity—can be life-altering, even devastating. 

Yet, just as potent is our innate ability to understand and control the forces of anger in ourselves and others. Think back to the last time you were extremely angry. Did you use strong language, yell or strike? While it may seem that these responses are spontaneous and uncontrollable, each one is actually profoundly under your control. You have a choice of what to do and how to express your anger.

Related: 21 Different Art Therapy Exercises For Different Emotions

This ability to choose develops as we grow older. If you’re a parent, you have seen how anger can consume a toddler who can’t reach or have something she’s after. You have had to step in, change the course of your child’s behavior, and redirect her emotions.

You are slowly showing your child how anger can be controlled. Anger control is expected of adults, although of course, it doesn’t always happen. Often, the angry person appears to be out of control and their actions unpredictable.

Their unpredictability can make us anxious and activates in us the avoidance of flight, or the approach of the fight. Sometimes we know we are not strong enough to fight or fast enough to flee. So we freeze, try to become invisible, and hope the danger passes.

But there is another choice we can make. 

We can wonder: What is it about that person’s inner life that is making them angry? When you get beyond the shouts and gesticulations, you find that angry people are frequently deeply frustrated over something that seems not so important in retrospect; having someone cut you off in traffic, or a person seeming rude and inconsiderate.

Perhaps, ironically, their own fear over the loss of something drove their emotions to detonate, causing them to lose the thing they wanted after all. Uncovering what is really making you or another person angry is key to figuring out how to defuse that anger.

When we understand the evolution of anger and the reasons this natural force remains a determinant of human behavior, we can learn to expose it and use it. Not only that, but like the martial arts master who uses the energy of the opponent to power his own moves, each of us has the ability to detect, harness, and train the force of anger in ourselves and others.

When we do this, we can apply it in ways that enhance our lives, achieve our goals, and, ultimately, influence other people’s behavior for the better as well.

Anger is just an emotion. It’s what you do with it that matters.  


The I-M Approach
Source: Joseph Shrand, MD

References 
Outsmarting Anger: 7 Strategies for Defusing our Most Dangerous Emotion.  Joseph Shrand, MD  Leigh Devine, MS 2021 Second Printing, Books Fluent paperback edition

Written By: Dr. Joseph Shrand
Drug Story Theater 
Podcast
Originally Appeared On Psychology Today
Republished With Permission 
Unexpressed Anger Impacts Mind pin
unexpressed anger impacts your mental health pin

— Share —

— About the Author —

Leave a Reply



Up Next

30 Things To Do Alone — Learn To Have Fun By Yourself

Fun Things To Do Alone To Make You Happy

In a world that’s constantly buzzing, people fail to pay attention to the art of being alone. That’s why I’ve come up with fun things to do alone at home, on a Friday night, or the weekend.

Sometimes, you need to find things to do alone to make you happy because it is responsible for numerous self-discoveries and peace from within.

It’s not just about luxury but few minutes with yourself will help rejuvenate your soul. All those moments by yourself range from quite reflections to nerve-wracking escapades.

30 Fun Things To Do Alone To Make You Happy

Before you say, “I’m bored”, take pride in your own company and start off on a journey of <



Up Next

7 Sophisticated Phrases That Will Make You Sound More Worldly And Polished

Sophisticated Phrases That'll Make You Sound More Polished

Are you looking to add a little sophistication in your speech and zhuzh up your vocabulary? Well, you’ve come to the right place! Today, we are going to talk about some of the most sophisticated phrases there is. These sophisticated phrases will not just add to your knowledge, but they’ll also make you sound more cultured and worldly.

From some beautiful French phrases to a few Latin ones, you’ll be spoilt for choice. So grab a snack, and let’s find out what these sophisticated phrases are and what they stand for.

Related: 27+ Cool Ne



Up Next

6 Simple Steps To ‘Bless And Release’ The Past

'Bless And Release' The Past With Easy Steps

Pain and loss are inevitable companions in one’s journey through life. The mantra “bless and release” yields six transformative steps to heal and free oneself from emotional baggage.

When a relationship ends, we lose someone dear to us or our careers stutter, these are situations that can make us feel downcast and stuck.

But such brooding over the past only retards our path to recovery. On the other hand, adopting the “blessing and releasing” motto helps in finding solace and accepting life as it is.

Bless and Release Meaning



Up Next

Datsuzoku: The Japanese Philosophy For Breaking Free From Routine And Rediscovering Creativity

Datsuzoku: The Power of The Japanese philosophy for creativity

Do you feel creatively dried up? Do you feel a complete lack of creativity in your professional and personal life? If so, the Japanese concept of Datsuzoku may be just what you need to unlock your creative powers.

When you become stuck in routine life, it is likely that you will feel a lack or loss of creativity in your life as creativity does not emerge from a monotonous lifestyle. This is why it is crucial to incorporate Datsuzoku in daily life.

But exactly what is Datsuzoku? And how to practice Datsuzoku? It is a philosophy that has long been revered in Japanese culture for a long time. And by understanding Datsuzoku significance you can build a more creative and Zen lifestyle for yourself.

What is Datsuzoku?



Up Next

4 Steps To Open And Hopefully Change Someone’s Mind

How To Change Someone's Mind: Useful Pointers To Remember

If you want to change someone’s mind, there are a few things you need to remember. This article is going to talk about some of the best ways to influence someone’s mind, but in the right way. So, are you ready to explore how to change someone’s mind? Let’s go then!

KEY POINTS

Starting conversations with respectful curiosity can open someone’s mind without evoking their resistance.

Our brains are very protective of how we think. Arguing with someone activates the fight-or-flight response.

Practice summarizing key ideas people share so they feel heard before you ask if you can share your ideas.



Up Next

Are You Struggling To Manage Your Emotional Reactions? 3 Important Steps To Take

Managing Emotional Reactions: Effective Steps To Take

If you are someone who struggles to control or manage your emotional reactions, then you have come to the right place. This article is going to talk about some of the best things you can do when it comes to controlling emotional reactions or emotional reactivity.

KEY POINTS

Emotional reactions are based on mental habits you can change if you want to, believe you can, and can commit to the steps.

Even when you know a new mental habit will relieve your stress, you must consistently override your protective brain while forming the new habit.

Start with small steps so you can see your progress and celebrate your successes.



Up Next

The Philosophy Of Forgiveness: What Is True Forgiveness And How To Forgive People

What Is True Forgiveness? Tips on How To Forgive People

Have you ever held onto anger and resentment because someone did you dirty? Most of us often become trapped by the weight of bitterness and make wrong decisions that affect us more than it affects others. This is where true forgiveness comes in. But exactly what is true forgiveness?

There is a transformative power hidden within the philosophy of forgiveness. True forgiveness has the potential to liberate us from the chains of bitterness, allowing us to heal, grow, and rediscover the joy of living. 

Let’s explore the depths of what is true forgiveness and learn how to forgive people so that we can be liberated from the pain and bitterness.

What is True Forgiveness?