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4 Tips For Unraveling the Fight or Flight Emotion Of Anger

Updated: Nov 15, 2023


Anger is a powerful and complex emotion that serves as a natural reaction to threats, injustices, or perceived wrongdoing.


And while anger can feel intense and overwhelming, it is important to understand that it is not the primary emotion but rather a secondary response that arises during the fight or flight stress response.

Anger blankets feelings of other emotions such as fear, hurt, sadness, disappointment, unworthiness or frustration.


When we acknowledge the complexity of anger, we have the opportunity to better understand the root causes. This allows for the opportunity to steer our anger more constructively which can aid in personal growth and empowered positive change.


However, if we ignore our anger, it can exhaust our system and serve as a disempowering force which can ultimately harm us and possibly others on an emotional, mental, and physical level.


When diving into the depths of anger, it is important to understand that:


  1. Identity The True Trigger.  Anger typically stems from underlying primary emotions such as fear, hurt, and disappointment. These emotions activate the fight or flight response, leading to a surge of adrenaline and increased heart rate. Understanding the root causes of anger is crucial in effectively managing and addressing it. By recognizing and addressing the primary emotions that trigger anger, we can gain a deeper understanding of ourselves and our reactions.

  2. Engage Mindfully.  Mindfulness plays a vital role in managing anger. When we manage anger, we actively choose not to suppress or ignore it; rather, we choose to cultivate mindful awareness of our stress response and develop healthy coping mechanisms by observing our anger without automatically responding to it. Practicing mindfulness techniques, such as deep breathing, self reflection, meditation, and grounding exercises, can help create space for emotional regulation allowing us to make conscious choices in how we want to respond to our anger.  This reduces impulsive reactions which may create harmful outcomes.  

  3. Express Healthy Communication.  Anger often arises from miscommunication or unmet expectations. Learning effective communication skills can transform how we express and deal with anger, fostering healthy and respectful relationships. By expressing our feelings and needs assertively, rather than aggressively we can eliminate hostility and feel safe to attentively listen, set healthy boundaries and communicate any needs or concerns respectfully.  Open and honest communication fosters understanding and empathy, paving the way for resolving conflicts and reconciling differences, maintaining harmonious relationships.

  4. Pause, Identify & Explore.  Rather than allowing anger to control us, we can harness its energy and transform it into empowerment. Anger can serve as a catalyst for personal growth and positive change if it’s channeled towards productive outlets.  Pause, breathe and think about how you want to be, act, and show up for yourself and others in this world.  Then choose the best way to explore the underlying issues creating the angered response.  


Understanding the many layers of anger is a journey that requires patience, self-reflection, and a commitment to personal growth.

Although anger is not inherently ‘negative,’ and can serve as the catalyst for positive change and growth, it can also serve as a stagnant force that depletes the system of vital energy ultimately surfacing as distressing physical systems.  It’s best to embrace anger and explore before it becomes toxic.


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