When anxiety turns to anger, experts say don’t ignore it – National
We can associate anxiety with worry or fear, but some may also experience feelings of anger, which experts say is common but shouldn’t be ignored.
Dr Melanie Badali, Registered Psychologist and Director of the Board of Directors of AnxietyBCGenerally said, anger is generally not seen as a symptom of anxiety.
“Anger and anxiety are generally viewed as different emotional experiences with some overlap. They have both unique and common biological, cognitive and social characteristics, ”she told Global News. “Anger is usually related to some type of frustration [and] anxiety is usually related to an overestimation of the threat and an underestimation of the threat to cope with that threat. “
How anger relates to anxiety
“The purpose of my article was to show that anger is usually the emotion that people could identify at the moment, but that another emotion (anxiety for example) could be ‘under’ anger, so to speak. Nash tells Global News. “You won’t know that anxiety is the root of your anger until you 1) fully feel the emotion first, and then 2) introspect enough to determine that the cause of your emotional upheaval was something. something you were afraid of.
He explains that anxiety can turn into anger because we may not be dealing with our anxiety directly.
“Anger is very often a symptom – it is the expression of judging another emotion as too painful to address.
When does this happen?
Dr. Eilenna Denisoff, Clinical Director of CBT Associates in Toronto, says there are several situations in which people with anxiety (or other mental health issues) can turn into anger.
If a person has obsessive-compulsive disorder, for example, and follows a very strict routine, any sort of disturbance on the part of others can lead to anger.
“When this is activated, they will respond in a way that tries to convince others to follow their ritual, and if they don’t, they get angry.”
And often when someone is afraid or worried about something, they can turn to anger to feel more in control of their situation.
In relationships, she adds, those who suffer from social anxiety may also initiate arguments (sometimes on purpose) with their partners, knowing they might get out of social situations.
“We all have natural and normal anxiety systems, but when it interferes with their quality of life, their work or their relationships, you have to do something.”
And ignoring it, says Nash, is worse.
“Untreated anger can also lead to medical problems, especially relationship problems. Untreated anger spreads through body and mind. He’s setting there, waiting to be unleashed. It breaks out, causing chaos in the person’s life and / or leading to addiction issues. “
How to deal with anxiety and anger
Badali says there are three things you can do to manage your anxiety, adding that cognitive behavioral techniques also work.
Tip 1. Challenge anxious or hostile thoughts
This is also called useful thinking or realistic, rational or balanced thinkingBadali says because often when people are angry and anxious they can feel frustrated or threatened.
“This strategy is about learning to see yourself, to see others and the world in a balanced and fair way, without being too negative or focusing only on the bad.
Tip 2. Learn to relax and pay attention
Calm breathing, muscle relaxation, and mindfulness are essential, Badali says. You can also try apps to help you meditate or relax.
“Don’t expect it to change your emotions when you are already anxious or angry. Think of it like – exercise, start practicing them daily, you will see your skills develop over time. “
Tip 3. Think before you act (or don’t act!)
If you feel angry, before yelling or fighting, ask yourself, “Will this action help make things better or worse?” Will I feel better now but feel worse later? “
And Nash says that at the end of the day, it’s not about dealing with the anxiety, but rather understanding your condition in its entirety.
“When we learn to connect directly to our anxiety, it doesn’t turn into anger, so there is no anger to ‘deal with’. Instead, we fully admit the fear we feel and respond to it head-on. “
Where to get help
If you or someone you know is in crisis and needs help, there are resources available. In case of emergency, please call 911 for immediate assistance.
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