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Anger and Anxiety — Discover The Cause and the Effect

04 Anger and Anxiety    Discover The Cause and the Effect

Fear, stress, worry and anxiety; these are all common terms for feelings that can cause problems and interfere with the quality of our life. However, these feelings are only aggravated when mixed with another very powerful emotion: anger.

Just about everyone will feel stressed, worried, afraid or anxious at one time or another. It is normal since it is our body’s way of coping with change, danger and other outside threats. Just like you, many people have fears and worries that cause them problems, although the types of anxieties differ from person to person. However, anxiety disorders heighten the negative feelings and sensations that can be set off by any number of things. Suddenly, a leisurely stroll to the park suddenly becomes a live or death situation, and a trip to the store quickly feels like the end of the world.


The Different Triggers of Anger and Anxiety

The fact of the matter is – we really don’t know what will trigger anxiety, worry and even fear. And although there are universally accepted triggers to these effects, it is even more unpredictable when it comes to victims of anxiety disorders.

The same works with anger. Some people are more easily infuriated than others. Just like fear, people can be very patient, and take a lot of discomfort before blowing a fuse. Unfortunately, others can reach their boiling point on the drop of the hat.  Read More

The common misconception is that victims of anxiety disorders are timid, meek and relatively quiet people. People assume that since they get anxious very quickly, they are a rather emotionless group who enjoy isolation and inactivity. However, that is the furthest from the truth. Sufferers of anxiety disorder need to feel both joy and anger as much as other people. It’s true that they tend to avoid potential triggers of anxiety attacks, but they also can’t help but feel emotions much like other people.

The reason for this is that appearances can be deceptive – the triggers for anger and anxiety are not always obvious to an outsider. What one might find comfortabaly pleasant, another might find annoyingly disruptive.

When it comes to anger and anxiety though, one can easily set off the other, and vice versa. Although anger has never been conclusively tied to anxiety (wherein a person’s anxiety levels directly affect his or her levels of anger), there have been very many cases where they are. And for those suffering with anxiety disorder, it’s very important to understand the relationship between anger and anxiety.


The Relationship between Anger and Anxiety

Here are just a couple of examples of real world case studies in which anger can be both the cause and effect of anxiety.

A seemingly confident woman was observed at a party. She was surrounded by friends and very quick to share amusing and charming anecdotes. She was calm, confident and in her element. But back at the office, she was dreading the idea of presenting a critical report to the management team. She was utterly terrified of failing, even though she was as confident and charming as can ever be in her social life.

For her, speaking formally to an audience of professionals is a frightening thing to do. Although for a good number of people, there may not be a big difference between speaking formally and speaking casually, but in her case it is. Right before every presentation, she was reported to go into fits of rage, barking at irrational orders at her colleagues. It was very clear that the anxiety and panic triggered by presentations set off her anger.

In another case, a man was observed taking his children to fairground rides. He loved the adrenaline rush just as much as his kids. Whether it was a roller coaster or a six hundred meter zip line, he was up for the thrill. It was the usual scenario wherein other people who normally panic under the stress. But this particular individual was noted to be very hot headed. The slightest irritable thing would set him off into a barking fit; whether it was a long line at the roller coaster, or a clumsy ride attendant. Because of this, it was reported that he would suddenly feel the usual symptoms of anxiety. His heart would begin to palpitate and his hands would begin to shake. He would feel dizzy and demand that he be left alone for a few minutes. In his case, it was very clear that anger had triggered his anxiety.

The cases cited above are not of people suffering from anxiety disorder. Still, the relationship between anxiety and anger is clear; one does affect the other in some clear circumstances. But how does one go about handling it?


Handling Anger and Anxiety

The fact of the matter is that anger and anxiety is a potential concoction for disaster. Anger can just as easily trigger anxiety, and vice versa. Because of this, victims of anxiety or panic disorders need to be able to manage their anger as well as their anxiety if they are planning to live a healthy, normal life.

Ordinarily, anxiety therapy and anger management are considered to be two completely different courses of therapy. Technically, there is no doubt that they are. However, as more and more research points to the irrefutable relationship between anger and anxiety, victims of anxiety disorder and low-tolerance anger should begin to consider handling them in tandem.

In the end, anger can be a very real source of anxiety, and just the same, anxiety can be a very real source of anger. Victims of anxiety disorder need to be able to take control of their anger just as they are taking control of their anxiety. Various anxiety and anger management therapies include deep-breathing and other calming exercises. The idea is to focus on other things outside of the source of stress and anxiety.

Sometimes, it cannot be helped that you feel angry and anxious. However, what can be helped is what we do when we are.