Why is there so much anger about? Almost a third of people polled in a 2008 Mental Health Organisation report, entitled 'Boiling Point’, said they had a close friend or a family member who had trouble controlling their anger. Also, one in five of those interviewed admitted that they had ended a relationship or friendship with someone because of the way that person behaved when he or she was angry.
So where does this strong emotion come from, and how can we best deal with it? There is no question that uncontrolled anger can create havoc in our world. It can result in us becoming unpleasant people that do and say things that we will regret for a long time. It can make us act in ways that are not necessarily in our own best interest or in the best interest of others - even culminating at times in physical violence. It can be the cause of us losing our jobs, our relationships and sometimes our very liberty.
Also, unresolved anger, if suppressed and internalised, can eventually result in depression.However, anger is not always all bad. In fact it can serve a useful function. It can motivate you to stand up for yourself and to achieve those goals that are important to you. It can make you feel courageous and considerably more certain of your values and beliefs. It can lessen the amount of pain you may feel and increase your physical strength.
This highly charged emotional state would have been a helpful survival mechanism for your hunter/gatherer ancestors, who would have used its energy to efficiently combat other marauding tribes or a savage animal looking for its next easy meal.
Today, anger will still ready your body for action. It will change your breathing pattern, tense our muscles and increase your blood pressure. It will prepare you for a period of intense physical exertion, even though a physical response of this nature is usually no longer in keeping with most of the situations you are likely to encounter at present in our modern world.
This physical response will, of course, go some way to explain the reason why people prone to anger are considerably more likely to suffer heart disease than those of a more even temper. Certainly, uncontrolled bouts of anger can, in time, have some serious health implications; but, as we have seen, anger is also just as likely to have some serious implications in many other important areas of your life.
back to top