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  • Gary Probst


Anger’s root cause is frustration. Frustration stems from anxiety. Anxiety may be caused by genetic factors and/or environmental experiences, such as an abusive parent; trauma during childhood or even trauma experienced as an adult.

Anxiety over life’s challenges, combined with likely genetic anxiety, breeds frustration. There seems to be a lack of control. The frustration builds to a slow boil of anger and then, like a pressure cooker, the steam has to go somewhere and tempers flare. Often, people will lash out at those closest to them, as they feel safer expressing the anger. This, however, can destroy relationships.

There’s an old saying that some people are “born angry” and that has some truth. Genetic predisposition to a higher level of anxiety is not uncommon. Management of the anxiety can help to alleviate bouts of anger and even that slow boil that so many do.

If you are a person seeking to better manage your anger, consider changing your perspective. Imagine yourself as a fly on the wall, watching your actions. How would you feel about the person you are watching? How do you appear to others?

Taking a brief second or two for consideration of the circumstances may provide the opportunity to gain perspective and not lash out at somebody who may have little to do with your anger. Often, parental anger over employment or financial strain may boil over onto the children. A child may seem insensitive in letting toys sit around the room but they are not thinking of ways to make you angry, normally. The slow boil of frustration from an overall view of life may cause you to take inappropriate measures against somebody who is without fault. Spouses often experience this.

Try slow breathing. Do you know you can actually put yourself to sleep with slow and deep breathing? The old “count to ten” mantra does have value. Give it a try. This helps with anxiety, overall, and is the first defense against an oncoming panic attack. Again, anger is from anxiety and a feeling of loss of control. Anxiety really is the evil little being that causes many mental health challenges.

If you find you are chronically angry, ask your doctor about antidepressants. Some, such as Paxil, Flouxetine and Zoloft seem to act well toward reducing anxiety. If they don’t help, seek an examination and testing from a psychiatrist and/or psychologist to determine if you suffer from a mood disorder. If that is the case, then you don’t have to live with it, as mood stabilizers work very well.

Everybody experiences anger. It is one of our inherited brain functions that does serve a purpose. It provides great strength for battle and allow us to do things we never thought we could do. However, anger without cause and misdirected anger can destroy marriages, cause unemployment, cause distance from children and former friends and create a raging pain in our gut. It can also create inflammation that may harm our cardiovascular system.

Conduct some soul-searching about the causes of anxiety in your life. Determine if they are real or imagined. Seek solutions to the causation. Breathe deeply. Like Aaron Rodgers of the Packers says, R-E-L-A-X….relax! Life is short. Time is precious. Living with anger is like carrying a 50-pound weight around your neck. Seek solutions to your stressers. Breathe. Live.

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