Managing Anxiety-Related Anger: Starting Points

Jerry Kennard Health Pro
  • Anger not only affects our behavior and emotions it can, if left unchecked, lead to ill health. In my previous post on the relationship between anxiety and anger  I mentioned the lack of clarity that still exists. Even so, we know that reducing anger can only lead to positive outcomes for the individual and those around them. So in this post I’m looking at some of the places to start.


    How do you think of your anger? Are you quick to flare up and then you quickly cool off? Does it take a lot to get you annoyed before you boil over and simmer for days? Do you bite your lip only to find your stomach churns with the strain of it all? We all have our ways and we all have different triggers. Some things, for example, set the fuses alight and they fizz away in the background. Other things seem to bypass all the filters and boom we erupt. Now when I say erupt, I don’t necessarily mean tipping into a rage. You may be the sort who internalizes your anger? The basic mechanism for anger and the way we react are different things. But it’s helpful to know a few things about both.

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    People who are prone to anxiety and stress generally find they start to take things more personally and they feel hurt as a result. It can lead to false interpretations of passing comments or the behavior of others, and a tendency to overlook positive things in preference to focusing on the negatives. Collectively, this constitutes what is known as a negative thinking style. It can also lead to black and white thinking. For example ‘those I trust and those I don’t’, ‘people who are useful and those who are useless’. Ideas become polarized, there seems little scope for a balanced way of thinking and the tendency to jump to conclusions increases.


    Angry people sometimes have unhelpful beliefs about their anger. Some may argue it is inherited therefore there is nothing they can do about it. Others may believe their anger stops others from walking all over them. A common belief is that controlling anger is bad for you and that it should be released or something worse (often unspecified) may occur. It’s helpful to apply a little logic here. We all have the capacity to be angry but if this extends into all areas of life there’s a problem.


    We can begin controlling anger by tackling its various components. These include reducing the associated physical symptoms, finding ways to control angry behavior and changing our mindset to accept anger triggers as problems to be solved rather than a personal attack that requires a pre-emptive or retaliatory strike. I’ll be suggesting some anger management strategies in my next post.

Published On: April 23, 2013