KALMers, when was the last time you were angry? What do you usually do when you are angry? Anger is one of the emotions that we are familiar with in everyday life. However, we often suppress and don’t want to show it to others because we think it is a destructive emotion.
But is anger always destructive? How do we know that the anger that we feel is a healthy emotion? In this article, KALM will discuss the emotion of anger, its causes, and the processes that occur when we are angry. Keep on reading this article!
Your Body When You’re Angry
When you are angry, the limbic system, also known as the emotional core of the brain, is active. In contrast, the cortex section, where our brain processes judgement and logic, tends to be inactive. There is a small structure in the limbic system called the amygdala, the area of emotional memory that is responsible for the ‘fight or flight’ reaction that is triggered when we are angry. This is what causes us to express angry emotions aggressively, such as screaming, saying hurtful words, to frustration.
Excessive anger can bring negative impacts on others and even yourself, such as damaging friendships and long-term physical health. Anger triggers the release of stress hormones, which can harm neurons in parts of the brain linked to decision-making, short-term memory, and immune system weakness.
Why Do People Get Angry?
Anger can be caused by internal or external factors. Some of the causes of anger are unresolved conflicts or some of the reasons below:
- Getting unfair treatment
- Feeling hopeless and helpless
- Feeling a certain threat
- High levels of stress and anxiety
We get angry at different times and on different emotional levels, as well as the way we express it. Identifying the factors that cause us to get angry can also help control and express those angry emotions appropriately.
Anger is Not Always Bad
Anger is not always a negative emotion, KALMers. Anger is an adaptive response to threats directed to ourselves or to things/others we care about. Anger tells us and gives us an extra burst of energy in order to defend ourselves and fight off the threat. Therefore, anger is also needed in certain situations.
For example, when we are treated unfairly by our boss. Without angry emotions, we might just avoid or remain silent in order to avoid conflict. But the anger that arises can be an energy boost for us to intervene and try to correct the situation.
“Healthy” anger allows you to pinpoint the source of your rage. Following that, it allows you to look for a healthy and on-target angry expression. So it’s not just expressing one’s anger and frustration through harmful actions. You might be tempted to scream at your boss. But can that angry expression help reveal the purpose of your anger? Wouldn’t it be better if we used that angry energy to express our intentions assertively?
Some ways you can learn to manage anger in a healthy way include journaling, setting limits on the actions you take when you are angry, recognizing unresolved conflicts, talking with those closest to you, and seeking professional help.
Don’t hesitate to ask for help from professional counselors who can be accessed through the KALM app (download here). Here are some Kalmselor recommendations who has expertise in emotional and mood issues:
Poppy Nenta Benitha (POP-730)
Nerissa Wijaya (NER-210)
Bernike Jacinta Effendi (BER-663)
What do you think about this article, KALMers? Hope this article can help KALMers who have trouble expressing anger in a healthy way. If you are still curious about this type of emotion and want to know how to manage emotions well, stay tuned for the next article!
Written by: Dzulfani S Nisa
Translated by: Dzulfani S Nisa
Edited by: Rachma Fitria & Lukas Limanjaya
American Psychology Association. (2005). Controlling anger before it controls you. American Psychology Association. Retrieved from https://www.apa.org/topics/anger/control
Fuller, K. (2021, May 28). Why Am I Always Angry? Very Well Mind. Retrieved from https://www.verywellmind.com/why-am-i-always-angry-5184554
Luster, R. (2012, June 17). Understanding The Anger and Rage. Psychology Today. Retrieved from https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/more-feeling/202106/understanding-the-anger-impulse-and-rage
Psychology Today’s editorial team. (2009). Anger. Psychology Today. Retrieved from https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/basics/anger