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Why Do We Get Angry and What Can We Do About It?

Coach David Furnevall by David Furnevall
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Although 'too much' (like too much of anything), too much of Anger or "extreme" Anger is certainly undesirable. We must not make the mistake that we shouldn't have anger or that we're a 'bad' person if we get angry. Anger is a normal human emotion and shouldn't be suppressed or demonised. We should nurture it and discover the underlying meaning in ourselves and treat ourselves with loving kindness to manage it and deal with it the best way.

---Why do we get angry?---

Simply it's because, we are not getting our needs met, in some way.
An expectation that something should go the way we want it to... and it doesn't.

---What are needs?---

Needs are something we decided in the past, that we wanted. Something we NEED (for whatever reason) to happen. Values are needs too, just more deeply ingrained. At some point in our past life we made a decision that this was the thing we wanted.

It could have been because we saw somebody with bright white teeth on TV and thought 'they look nice, so I need to have bright white teeth'.

Or something that we learned as a baby. 'I feel safe when I get cuddles, so I need cuddles to feel safe'.

Or we decided that 'people should be safe to walk the streets, so I get angry if I see someone being attacked'.

Some of these decisions were made by humanity many generations ago and we accepted as part of our learned collective 'culture', but they're still needs.

---What are Feelings?---

Feelings are what we get in response to the level of our needs being met.

Whether that's:

Happiness from getting a pay rise (because 'I have a need to be a 'good' parent and support my family').
To anger because I'm late for a meeting and stuck in traffic (because 'I have a need to be reliable').

We all have needs and we all have feelings relating to those needs.

Feelings and needs, like all things in life are temporary, they may last a moment or many years, sometimes lifetimes, but they have still been created within us humans and other sentient beings. And when we dig down deeply, we all share the same ones, but we often respond to them in very different ways.

---Why Do We Get Angry?---

We get angry (or any other emotion) because our need for ... is not being met.

The level of anger relates to:

the priority of this need in this moment
the level of this need not being met
our ability to manage our reaction to the need not being met

---How We Can Manage Our Anger---

When we feel angry, we can ask ourself "what am I feeling right now?" and put a label on it, to get really clear on the feeling (it may not be anger - perhaps frustration, resentment or fear). Labelling helps us to be clear and be more emotionally aware. It also helps us to release the emotion (if we choose to do so).

Then ask yourself "which of my needs is not being met here?"

This also works for any other feeling, whether that's something we judge as 'negative' eg anxious, sad, scared or one that we judge as 'positive' eg happy, or excited.

---How We Can Use Our Anger For Good---

So anger is just feeling, one that we can recognise as a signal from ourself that we should take action on. Once we have established the feeling and the reason we have the feeling (i.e. a need is not being met), we then empower ourself to choose the action we take.

We can

consciously decide, it's ok, I can let go of that, it's not quite that important in this moment.
consciously express our needs to another
etc

By taking responsibility for our own feelings and needs in this way, we have become more emotionally mature and can now take appropriate action to deal with the situation in a way that is loving to yourself, to others or to the larger world.

I have anger management training and coaching services available where we dig much deeper into this subject. So please get in touch to find out more.


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