Article | March 2018

Understanding Anger

The causes and effects of anger

Anger is an emotional cue which reminds us what we like - and don’t like. Although many of us were taught as children to stifle our anger, it’s a perfectly natural emotion. Anger can have many causes, but its effects depend on your ability to manage it. Learn to understand anger, the effects of denial and blame-placing, and the positive results that can come from accepting your own anger.

What causes anger?

You cut yourself shaving. You burned the toast. You can’t find the keys. Now the car won’t start and you’ll be late for work. No one did these things to you. They just happened. If you ask others, you’ll find that such "disasters" are quite common, and they make almost everyone angry. We feel anger when we sense we’ve lost control, or when we feel vulnerable or afraid. We all have these feelings sometimes. But some of us are more easily irritated and annoyed than others.

Don't deny your feelings

Many times we want to deny that we’re angry. We deny it because we don't like to admit it, or anger doesn’t seem rational to us. Or maybe we’re embarrassed by our lack of control. All humans feel anger, whether or not we express it. So by denying anger, you deny one of the things that makes us human.

Are you placing blame?

Sometimes we want to blame others for our anger, even if it's not fair. Some people do this out of habit. People generally don’t like to be around blame-placers. They never know if they’re going to be blamed unfairly for something.

Accepting anger

By recognizing and accepting your own anger, you’re on the road to controlling it and releasing it responsibly. Identifying what makes you angry, instead of denying anger or placing blame, leads to self-understanding. Once you can spot the triggers that make you angry, you can change them, deal with them responsibly, or make a conscious choice to ignore them. Once you get the hang of this, you can benefit from listening to what your anger is telling you.

Woman staring off at the ocean

This material is provided by Cigna for informational/educational purposes only. It is not medical/clinical advice. Only a health care provider can make a diagnosis or recommend a treatment plan. For more information about your behavioral health benefits, you can call the member services or behavioral health telephone number listed on your health care ID card.