Anger is Normal, So Why Do We Avoid it?
Updated: May 4
I just learned that jaw pain/tension is typically associated with anger, irritation,
and rage. There are a LOT of physical signs of emotional pain because our bodies and minds are interdependent.
Plenty of research points to this connection and the impacts of stress on health, which got me thinking about anger.
Have you ever had a little agitation snowball into a full tantrum within a few days (or hours)? It starts with a missing pair of pants, then a parking ticket followed by an ant infestation, a negative response to an idea at work, and finishes with yelling at someone beloved. Anger is a normal human emotion, so why aren't we taught to cope with it before it's a volcano?
Recently, someone dear to me was under a lot of stress, which led to an outburst at their family. What struck me was how the frustration of days before related to a work issue was now part of this avalanche of anger-inducing moments.
When we suppress emotions, they grow.
What if we knew how to process our frustrations as they come? What if it was safe to feel negative emotions?
We'd probably all sleep better!
Taming the Volcano
Some of us hold fear and shame about even having anger. Perhaps you were taught it was dangerous to hold or express frustration. Others may have never seen their parents mad, but felt the simmering.
The neurodivergent brain is said to struggle with impulsivity and emotional regulation. I
wonder, though, if part of our challenge with navigating emotions is a lack of modeling what to do with them.
Could our bent toward reactive living make it more critical we learn these skills and also less likely our caregivers will be able to teach us? How can we integrate anger rather than storing it up until it boils over?
Ideas for coping with negative feelings:
Tell someone. Tamping down is only a solution until you run out of storage space. A trusted friend, therapist, or coach can help you air it out.
If you're isolated, come hang with us in The Enclave.
Movement. Endorphins are a wonder for completing the stress cycle and lifting mood.
Sleep. I just heard brain surgeon, Dr. Rahul Jandial, on a podcast talking about all the activity that happens in our brains when we sleep. That's when all the junk from the day gets sorted, processed, and cleaned out. Sleep is a constant struggle for MANY in our community. Talk to your doctor. My go-to is currently magnesium glycinate and l-theanine before bed. Oh, and earplugs!