This blog shares information on how to understand anger. Firstly, it’s important to note that anger itself is a normal and healthy emotion to experience. Similar to other emotions, such as happiness or sadness, it conveys a message to us that something is upsetting, unjust, or threatening. Anger is a reaction to stimuli that we feel threatened by, do not agree with, appreciate, or feel good about.


While it is a normal emotional reaction to have, we need to consider where it comes from, and how we healthily express and process our anger. When someone is struggling to control their anger, it can become an issue. Engaging in over-arousing activities, such as venting, breaking things, or hurting others, keeps anger boiling under the surface.


One may even take it out on themselves through actions like self-harming, engaging in impulsive behavior, or substance abuse, which is detrimental to their safety and mental wellbeing. They may want to stop, but aren’t sure where to begin, or who to talk to.


When we can understand our anger, we can control our anger. We can still allow ourselves to feel angry about something, but are able to communicate that and release that energy in an effective way. So, how can we understand where our anger comes from, and what it is trying to tell us? At the end of this blog, you’ll read about what you can do to calm yourself.


Therapy in Simi Valley, CA provides you with a non-judgmental space where you can discuss difficult topics in confidence. Make sure to read our blog on 5 Ways to Process Anger!


How to Understand Anger: Reflect on what’s hiding behind the anger

a woman reflecting on her anger and wanting to start trauma therapy in simi valley, ca

Something specific has angered you – this seems pretty obvious at face value. It could be that in the present, something upset you, such as someone mistreating you. Maybe you are upset at someone else for a mistake they made, or feel that you’re in an unjust situation. Whatever the reason for getting angry is, there are underlying reasons and emotions that explain it. 


What commonly lies behind anger is inner pain. When we are feeling wronged, betrayed, left out, judged, etc., anger tends to jump out and present itself. This could be due to not knowing how to properly express your feelings or thoughts, or not feeling comfortable enough to do so – and keeping it bottled up inside. 


Resentment can also build up inside of us over time, when we feel unheard or misunderstood. Take some time to reflect on what this response may tie back to. Commonly, a lot of our insecurities, fears, or shame tend to stem from our childhood or adolescent experiences. 


At times, you can think of an anger response as your first line of defense. Anger may be a result of fight-or-flight, where you feel threatened, and immediately react with big feelings. 


Are there certain memories that stand out to you, where you felt hurt? Whether they are from early childhood or recently, can you point any specific events out? We are shaped by our environments and our experiences, and things do tie back to that. By understanding this, we can move forward with healing and growing from it.


Trauma therapy in Simi Valley, Ca works from a trauma-informed lens. Make sure to read our blog on 3 Reasons to Start Childhood Trauma Therapy!


How to Understand Anger: Take time to understand what these unresolved parts of you need

a man taking time with himself to heal his inner child thanks to therapy in simi valley

Spend time getting to know yourself. This will look like intentionally spending time alone with yourself in calm settings. This could be sitting out somewhere peaceful, such as at a park, at the beach, at a library, or elsewhere. You’ll want to reflect on significant moments where you may have been hurt, betrayed, or wronged. What did you need in these moments?


Could it have been that you needed to be told that you’re loved and accepted for who you are? Maybe you’re yearning for apologies from others, such as your parents, for not providing you the care and support you needed. Perhaps you feel lonely, and are struggling to find like-minded communities with shared interests that truly understand you.


Consider what you are needing now, and what you can begin providing for yourself. 


What can you do to unconditionally support yourself? Maybe this looks like coming up with unique affirmations to practice, and leaning into positive self-talk. Recognizing your accomplishments, both past and present, and allowing yourself to feel proud of how far you’ve come. You can also understand what habits or behaviors are no longer working for you.


From others, you may want to consider creating boundaries or sharing your needs clearly. This could look like when things start getting heated in a conversation, taking a few minutes to take a break, and take some deep breaths. Perhaps you’re feeling left out or unvalued by others in your life, and communicate your need for some reassurance or validation. 


It can be difficult understanding what you need from yourself or others. When we are starting to learn more about ourselves, we may need to try out a few things to see what works. In trauma therapy in Simi Valley, our therapists can help you have clear understandings of these things.


How to Understand Anger: Come up with a list of ideas for self-regulation and calming yourself down

a picture of stones in sand to emulate calmness, such as in anxiety therapy in simi valley, ca

You know what it feels like to get angry. It could be that you notice it in your body, such as heavy breathing, tensing up, or being unable to stay still. You may also notice immediately feeling overwhelmed, frustrated, or confused prior to feeling angry. With this in mind, you know what the signs are that you’re starting to feel angry, and want to regulate it at the moment. 


Studies have shown that when we engage in arousing activities, such as angrily venting or hitting things, the anger may continue to linger. Engaging in activities that are not arousing, and can target and calm your nervous system down, as more effective in self-regulation. This isn’t to say that you shouldn’t release your energy through activities such as working out – however, consider what you can implement in your routine that are slow-moving and peaceful. 


Practicing these coping strategies prior to feeling angry can help you implement them more effectively. This can look like practicing different breathing techniques. Box breathing is a great example. It looks like taking in a slow inhale for 4 counts, holding it for 4 counts, exhaling for 4 counts, and withholding an inhale for 4 counts. Repeat this 4 times. 


Similar to supporting yourself, think of affirmations or statements to tell yourself. This can look like, “I cannot control others, I can only control myself”. You can also dunk your face in cold water, take silent walks without distractors, or listen to calming music. Going on walks has been shown to be an effective way to process information through your eye movements, and can support you in calming down, or maintaining a calm mood. 


It will take some trial and error to understand how to best self-regulate from anger. Things work differently for everyone, but it’s important to give it a try and see how it goes. In therapy in Simi Valley, you can process past pain, work through difficult present moments, and create a future for yourself based on your growth. 


In-person therapy in Simi Valley is ideal for those seeking a separate, safe space from their home. Check out our blog on Online Therapy or In Office Therapy to understand what format is best for you. Another great blog to read is ours on if you need Therapy or Medication to address your issues.


By seeking out support, you can begin your journey to feeling relief. You don’t have to go through finding the right level of support alone, either. By clicking here, you’ll read our blog on Information About Simi Valley Therapists.


Consider calling our therapy group at (805) 774-1506 for a free consultation on how you or a loved one can get started today!


Seek out a validating, safe environment with us today. We will help you get to where you want to be. Our therapists provide trauma therapy, teen therapy, individual adult therapy, LGBTQIA+ therapy, anxiety therapy, depression therapy, family therapy, and more in-office in Simi Valley, CA.


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