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Another important feature of each of the emotion families is that they serve important functions for our survival.

Adventist Review Online | Anger--The Misunderstood Emotion

Even though it can sometimes feel like our emotions are just a pain in the butt, we actually have emotions for really good reasons. From an evolutionary perspective we can trace why humans have the emotions we do. Fear is triggered by a prompting event that you perceive as dangerous or threatening, and you usually have accompanying thoughts that you might not be able to handle the situation. The action urge that accompanies fear is the desire to avoid or escape. The evolutionary purpose of fear is pretty obvious—fear acts as a signal to keep us away from things that are dangerous.

One of the most common ways we experience fear is in the form of anxiety, and you can read more about anxiety help here. Anger is usually triggered by a prompting event in which a goal or something important to you is being blocked or taken away. From an evolutionary perspective, anger serves as a warning signal to keep you from losing things important to your survival or to keep you from being taken advantage of. So the action urge that accompanies anger is usually to want to attack or strike back either physically or emotionally.

Sadness is the emotion you feel when you experience a loss. It can be an actual loss of something tangible, or a figurative loss — such as the loss of potential or the idea of something you wanted very much. Some people, the ones sent to anger management , are typically destructive or otherwise problematic with their anger. They may punch walls, kick things, or get in fights. We often fixate on how negative anger can be—how it can take hold of us, how it can hurt others and ourselves. We talk about wanting to get rid of it.

Others turn their anger inward. They are self-destructive, whether physically or emotionally, and beat themselves up. Depression , among other mental health issues, can look like this. Anger is here to stay, no matter how happy you are, no matter how much you are in sync with the universe, no matter how much enlightenment has touched you.

You are going to get angry. And thank goodness for that. Because anger can point the way.

How to bear the burden of being misunderstood by others

It can spring us to action; many forces of change are motivated by anger. But it is also important to not feed it all the time. Anger can be intoxicating. Think of a time you replayed an incident over and over in your mind. Perhaps something happened during your morning commute. It is keeping you stuck, perhaps nursing your own self-righteousness. You are suddenly at the mercy of a powerful and misunderstood emotion—one that gains more energy the more wood you throw on its fire.

The Misunderstood Emotion: Getting to Know Your Anger

The idea is to feel the anger and let it go. Many people I work with are unaware when they feel anger. You can also learn to express it in a non-destructive manner—write it out, meditate , cry, draw, let someone know, etc. If that seems impossible, it may help to explore the themes stopping you from letting it go.

Do you respond with anger when you are shamed or when you feel helpless? All rights reserved. The preceding article was solely written by the author named above. Any views and opinions expressed are not necessarily shared by GoodTherapy.

Questions or concerns about the preceding article can be directed to the author or posted as a comment below. Please fill out all required fields to submit your message. Absolutely, lacey. Finding a way to express the emotion in a healthy manner is key. Thanks for writing. Anger is a tough emotion to navigate.

Why Pisces Is The Most Difficult Sign To Understand

Taking a step back ftom the moment and putting things in perspective is helpful, hard but helpful. Some people pile lots of emotions on top of the anger so as not to feel it and to protect others from it.


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You see that is what I like, that rush that I get when I finally let it rip. Thanks for your honesty and your comment. While I do think that it is valid to release the anger I think that there are times when people let go of that anger and yet it is totally misdirected. They take it all out on the wrong people in their lives and if you are on the receiving end of that, well chances are it will not be too pleasant.

I would just say to make sure that at least if you are in the mood to let it go that you not only have a healthy way to do that but that you are also willing to face the hard truth of where that anger should be focused.

Anger Can Be Healthy, Too

Grayson—thanks for writing. Not a good setup. There are some people who get to know this emotions all too well… and therefore this is the only one that they can be relied upon to express.


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