What is anger?
Anger is an emotion that everyone experiences from time to time. It can range from mild annoyance to intense rage or fury.
Anger is a critically important part of the human instinct for self-preservation and self-defense. Anger is a natural, adaptive response to threats that primes people under attack to protect themselves and others. As such, anger arouses people psychologically & physically in threatening situations but can also be felt when one’s goals and expectations are being frustrated.
When harnessed constructively anger can help people find the strength and courage to protect themselves and others and to stand up to injustice. Anger can also motivate people to change things they don’t like about their life and rise to meet challenges in pursuit of their goals.
The experience of anger among young people varies widely according to:
- How easily they get angry
- How often it occurs
- How intensely it is felt
- How long it lasts
- How comfortable they are with feeling angry and expressing it
Anger can also be expressed in ways that are destructive and harmful. If not properly controlled anger can fuel violence and some people use anger as an excuse for being abusive towards others.
It is important then that young people learn how to express anger in healthy and respectful ways that are in line with social norms and the law. The right to feel angry does not mean that people the right to lash out in anger by attacking others.
The Australian Psychological Society reports that or ‘letting anger rip’ to get it out of one’s system is a dangerous myth This has been shown to escalate anger and aggression and make it more difficult to reign in and control.
Alternatively, anger that is suppressed or not expressed can be the source of emotional and physical problems. People who bottle up your anger can find that it comes out at times and in ways that are unexpected.