Anger is an Energizer

Posted on: May 15, 2008

Anger is a natural emotional state and is designed to help us stay
alive. Anger sends signals to all parts of our body to help us fight.
It energizes us and prepares us for action. Often, the perceived need
to protect one-self comes from what amounts to psychological attacks
from others.

Use Anger Wisely

When we feel energized by anger, it is smart for us to ask ourselves
how we put his energy to its most productive use. As with the use of
other forms of energy such as electricity, we want to use it
efficiently, not wastefully.

Anger is Secondary

One of the most helpful things to remember about anger is that it is a
secondary emotion. A primary feeling is what is felt immediately
before we feel angry. We always feel something else first, even if we
don’t notice it. We might feel afraid, attacked, offended,
disrespected, forced, trapped, interrogated, or pressured. If any of
these feelings are intense enough, they can lead to anger before we
realize what we really felt!

Identify the Primary Emotion

An important point to remember about secondary feelings such as anger
is that they do not identify the unmet emotional need. When all you
can say is “I feel angry,” neither you nor any one else knows what
would help you feel better. An amazingly simple, but effective,
technique is to always identify the primary emotion.

Situations that Cause Anger Can Be Avoided

Here is an example. Assume someone wants us to do something we prefer
not to do. At first we feel a little pressured but not enough to get
angry. When they keep pushing us, we begin to get irritated. If they
continue, we become “angry”.

Communicate Your Feelings

An effective way to avoid getting angry in many cases is simply to
express your feeling before it has elevated to the point of anger.
This helps keep the brain in balance and out of the more volatile mode
where it has downshifted to a more primitive and physiological

George Anderson, MSW, BCD, CAMF, CEAP
Diplomate, American Association of Anger Management Providers
Anderson & Anderson®, The Trusted Name in Anger Management


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