How To Handle Angry Outbursts? Causes And Their Emotional Meaning

Why can we sometimes have explosions of anger at certain words or situations? What can these emotions mean? Discover their emotional meaning and how to deal with them.

How to handle angry outbursts?  Causes and their emotional meaning

Imagine that you are at home calmly and a delivery man arrives. This delivery man is going to bring packages of two colors to your house. The green packages are going to be pleasant, when you open them they will bring a message that will make you feel: calm, well-being, happiness, surprise, euphoria, motivation. However, the red packages will make you feel something unpleasant: hyperarousal, sweating, desire to cry, apathy, hopelessness, difficulty enjoying, knot in the stomach… All the packages come with a message that tells you where to go and tea facilitates necessary decision making to make you feel better. Do you recognize what those packages could be? Indeed, emotions.

What do our emotions exist for?

The emotional system is integrated into the most primitive brain with the aim of allowing us to adapt and evolve, prioritizing survival, life in society and our own growth. The emotional system can influence our body at the endocrine, cardiac, and digestive levels… That is why it is important to take it into account and take care of it. The expression of emotions makes it easier for us to show others how we feel.
and it makes it easier for us to achieve some fundamental objectives to survive, such as: protecting ourselves from dangers, defending our limits, adapting and staying united with the group, repairing damage to others or not making new mistakes. All emotions provide us with information about ourselves or about our context and our relationship with others.key information for decision-making and to achieve our well-being and calm.

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Do our emotions always tell the truth?

No, not always. Our emotions come to give us a warning, a message that will tell us that there is something at this moment that needs to be attended to. Our emotions and the response we give to them are highly modulated by early experiences we may have had, beliefs about ourselves or others, the way we have learned to see ourselves in the mirror, how we believe the world works, the interpretation we make of the situation we live in. As there are many possible precipitants of my emotion, it will always be important to listen to them but give ourselves time to analyze their message and not automatically respond to them.

What is the message of anger and what does it generate?

The gonna It is an emotion that arises in conflict situations with others or with ourselves. It usually arises when we have been treated unfairly, when we feel hurt, or when we have difficulty achieving a goal.

  • TO physiological level Our heart rate increases, as does our breathing and blood flow. Faced with this hyperactivation, falling into impulsiveness and behaving aggressively becomes easier.
  • TO cognitive level Our previous experiences and beliefs influence us. If, for example, as a child I experienced how my parents never listened to me or took me into account, this can lead me to accumulate a lot of anger or feel hypersensitive in similar situations. If since I was little I have been spoiled for everything, I have not been given any limits, I have the belief that “Others have to satisfy my needs” and that will lead me to feel anger every time things do not go as planned.
  • TO behavioral level, It will be the way to defend ourselves in these situations and it will be highly modulated by the way in which we were taught or have seen that the reference figures are regulated. If from a young age we see that conflicts at home are resolved with shouting, we will tend to behave aggressively when faced with this emotion. However, we should not confuse anger with aggression, there are people who learned to keep quiet when they felt it so as not to hurt, not bother or not make the situation worse, so they will tend to keep quiet when they experience it.
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It is important to highlight the role of trauma here. When we have not adequately processed an experience that made us feel angry, we will most likely react the same way today. different situations that may not be threatening, which becomes something maladaptive.

When is anger a problem?

When we experience it in a very intense and uncontrolled way. Almost always anger is triggered by an accumulation which leads us to an explosion. It is important to always raise awareness of the precipitants:

  • How do I start to feel when I feel angry? Sweating, palpitations, fire in the chest, heat, lump in the throat, muscle tension…
  • What external elements trigger my anger? When my partner jokes about my ability to deal with problems, when my mother makes a comment to me, when things don’t go as expected.
  • What thoughts or internal elements can trigger it? “It’s intolerable how he treats me,” “He thinks I’m useless,” “He doesn’t trust me,” “He doesn’t respect me,” “He’s hesitating,” “I shouldn’t be doing this.”

Is crucial to identify triggersOtherwise, it becomes a difficult task to regulate this emotion, because when it becomes very intense, impulsivity takes control for us. It is important to note that, sometimes, stimuli that could be positive can become aversive and trigger aggressive responses: If my father always used jokes to humiliate or ridicule me, I will tend to feel attacked by jokes without malicious intent. If I have suffered harassment at some point in my life and a co-worker tells me that “I am attractive” I will tend to feel attacked and defend myself.

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How do I regulate anger?

How do I regulate anger?

  1. Time out: The first recommendation is flight or avoidance, that is, if it is possible to avoid the triggers or leave the situation, that would in principle be the best strategy. Agreeing with my partner, for example, on a key word that indicates that now is not the time and distancing ourselves helps to regulate each other and be able to think more clearly.
  2. Postpone decisions: Postponing decisions can also help us. If they ask us for something that we consider unfair, asking for time to respond helps us analyze what type of response we want to give without needing to experience such intense anger.
  3. Delegate communication to another person: Avoiding direct contact with that person and having another person communicate in our place can help us control the triggers.
  4. Distraction (during time out): Distraction during time out will help us regulate. Rumination and talking about the topic of conflict will lead us to experience more anger. Pleasant tasks or activities accepting unpleasant thoughts, breaking the vicious cycle of rumination.
  5. Physical exercise and physiological deactivation techniques: When the body is hyperactive and full of attack or flight hormones, muscles are tense and breathing is rapid, it is difficult to change my negative thoughts into more adaptive ones or control my behavior through other responses. We must learn to relax through techniques such as progressive muscle relaxation (PMR), we can also do physical exercise as a means to reduce our activation level: swimming, running, walking. Choosing a “calming” word or phrase while exercising can be helpful. Practicing yoga and diaphragmatic breathing may be other options. Listen to soothing music.
  6. Acquire assertive and social skills: It is also important to acquire assertive communication skills, as well as social skills whose deficit can make it difficult to adequately express our needs and emotions and can deteriorate our interpersonal relationships.
  7. Awareness of our beliefs: Become aware of the beliefs that underlie your emotional reactions and that may have been with us for a long time. These types of beliefs make us more sensitive.