We all get angry at times, expressing our displeasure to the one that upset us. And it's ok to be angry as long as you can express it choice-fully and safely. Usually we understand what the issue is and can do something about it.

However, sometimes we are totally unaware of what sets us off. Suddenly we have exploded, erupting into abusive language or violent actions, causing distress, confusion and distrust to those around us. You cannot understand how one moment you were chatting happily and the next you have become a destructive tornado.

Anger is feedback. Anger is there to serve a purpose. Noticing it earlier and what it represents will give you better control of your actions.

Anger can be used to protect the boundaries that you have unconsciously (or consciously) put in place to protect yourself from being hurt. Perhaps you said yes one too many times when you were really wanting to say no, but fear of rejection prevented you from saying no.

It can cover up the vulnerability you may be feeling.  It can be there to deflect the pain or sadness that you could experience.

It can be a defensive mechanism used to hurt others before they hurt you.

All of these thoughts may be so deep within your subconscious that you may not be aware of the reason they were formed, or what it represents, but the brain, the wonderful computer that it is, can be triggered instantly from just a look, or a word spoken, a pattern learned long ago, even a smell. The brain recognises that this trigger represents a danger and readies the body for action. Once it gets too far into survival mode you physically lose the ability to reason. The wiring between the survival part of the brain and the reasoning/logic side of the brain goes on the blink and now you have lost all control to instinct.

Becoming aware of the first sign of the anger is the key to addressing it before it gets out of control. Noticing it earlier and what it represents will give you choice in how to respond rather than reacting with no thought. Many people will notice that their skin, particularly on their face may start to get warm or tingly, this is a sign that adrenaline is building in readiness of the flight or fight response. The heart will start beating faster, oxygenating the blood, while the muscles in the hands and arms start to tense up in preparation for the fight. They may also notice their jaw clenching as they bite down on the words they really wished to express.

If you need help in learning how to notice the early warning signs and what they represent please contact me at Whispering Sands Counselling Therapies. I offer quality counselling as well as Equine Assisted Psychotherapy sessions where horses can help you learn how to be more present to what is really happening in your body.

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Updated July 2019 by Whispering Sands Horse Play Centre

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