Anxiety and anger are not interchangeable terms but they share similarities. Both emotions relate to physical and mental health and can affect each other.
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Here’s a look at how the definitions of anxiety and anger overlap and contrast at the same time.
Relation Between Anxiety and Anger
- The two emotions have the same psychological symptoms and effects on health.
- They both are often triggered by a perceived threat. This reaction of fear is based on a natural survival instinct.
- They also both produce the same physiological response, releasing the hormones cortisol and adrenaline.
Past Vs. Future
- Anxiety can be distinguished from anger in the sense that it’s fear with a sense of hopelessness or pessimism about the future.
- Anger usually deals more with what has already happened in the past.
- Both emotions can lead to a loss of control of anti-social behavior.
People usually direct anger at someone or something they perceive as harmful to them in some way. Sometimes it erupts when an individual reflects on how something could have been done to prevent a loss or unfortunate event.
This tense energy can tear apart a relationship, but it can also be channeled as motivation for correcting a mistake.
It’s possible for both emotions to result in productive change under appropriate conditions. But it requires a clear understanding of what’s happening in the present moment rather than an irrational response to what might be misinformation.
How Symptoms of Anxiety Can Trigger Anger?
One of the symptoms of anxiety that can set off anger includes irritability. Others include muscle tension and tightening of the chest. A person can get angry over physical discomfort, especially if it’s due to an injury caused by someone else.
Feeling anxious accompanies a faster heart rate. Getting worked up over an unflattering event can cause rushes of heat throughout the body. At this point, anger may escalate as the body heats up.
This mental and physical state can cause an individual to think irrationally and jump to emotionally disturbing conclusions. In severe cases, anxiety patients may experience reoccurring nightmares or bipolar disorder.
Why Anxiety Can Lead to Anger?
Keep in mind there are multiple layers of anger that can be expressed internally and externally. Anxiety activates people’s fight or flight instinct. People can also feel angry about their anxiety or anxious about their anger.
Fear about job loss, for example, in an uncomfortable workplace can transform into anger when the premonition is confirmed in the real world.
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Another way anxiety can overwhelm a person to a state of anger is when a series of mishaps occur. Any bad experience by that point can be the last straw before rage sets in.
An anxious person can become suspicious that someone is engineering their bad luck, leading to anger.
Toll on Health
Feeling scared or depressed over a sustained period can negatively impact your physical and mental health. Too much anger leads to too much tension, causing blood pressure to rise.
When a person frequently turns to alcohol to resolve their anger, the combination can lead to severe addiction and weakening of organs such as the liver.
The health consequences of leaving anger and anxiety unresolved can be serious. Both emotions raise stress levels and weaken the immune system. Not only can this condition worsen with fatigue and insomnia, but high blood pressure can also lead to heart disease.
How Can I Manage Anger and Anxiety?
You can take several steps on your own to keep your anger and anxiety under control. Some people simply need to learn techniques for lowering or raising their energy levels. When an individual is unable to control their emotions with simple strategies, it’s a sign they need assistance from an experienced mental healthcare professional.
1. Deep Breathing
One of the first steps to relieving heated moments that many experts agree upon is to take deep breaths to help you relax. Repeating phrases such as “take it easy” to yourself facilitates the cooling-off process.
In other words, focusing on your energy level can help you control it. Letting go of hysteria can simply be achieved after a series of deep breaths.
2. Getting Good Exercise
Exercise such as walking circulates blood and air throughout the body. It also frees the mind and raises your energy level, which enhances your cognitive abilities.
If you are unable to walk around in your neighborhood, consider stretching your limbs or doing other stationary exercises.
3. Practicing Mindfulness
Mindfulness encompasses positive self-awareness and suspending judgments. It puts the mind in a state of objective observation while avoiding quick conclusions. Practicing this set of principles makes the individual conscious of the problem without taking it personally.
Care for Extended Depression
Heavy emotions naturally dissipate over time. But some individuals face long-term depression that can be difficult to overcome. Seeking support from friends and professionals will put the stressed individual on a path toward controlling their emotions.
Another solution is cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), in which a therapist can help you identify events that trigger angry or anxious states.
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Managing anxiety and anger can be achieved by an individual who has the determination to resolve the issues that trigger these pronounced emotions.
Many people, however, need professional guidance to steer themselves toward effective management of their feelings.
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