Why We're All So Angry, According To A Therapist

Anger is an iceberg with underlying emotions

angry couple in a car Prostock-studio

If you've been feeling angry lately, you aren't alone. Many people deal with these outbursts of anger and aren't sure where they come from. And whether it's triggered by a specific situation or not, we all want to understand how anger develops and what its root causes are.

Luckily, therapist Sam Dalton is here to explore the real reasons behind your anger — and it might not be what you think.



Why We’re All So Angry

The smaller reason we're angry is because our anger demands accountability. According to Dalton, "Anger serves to hold us accountable for our actions or someone else's actions." As you can imagine, accountability is uncomfortable; it can make us defensive and leave us feeling vulnerable, so we often respond negatively.


But anger is more than defensiveness and taking responsibility. The deepest reason we are angry is because we are protecting ourselves.

According to Conflict Resolution Education Connection, “Anger is often called a secondary emotion because we tend to resort to anger in order to protect ourselves from or cover up other vulnerable feelings.” This is why anger is known as an iceberg with many underlying emotions. For those who've been traumatized, this is likely why you're angry all the time.



To add to this, licensed psychologist Suzzanne B. Phillips writes, “The problem is that when the danger has passed, our body often remains in a state of hyperarousal." Through this, mildly irritating situations can often become distressing.


Regardless, getting over anger is key to living a healthy life. According to Better Health Channel, the long-term effects of anger include increased anxiety, high blood pressure, and an increased risk of a stroke. For some, it can lead to insomnia, depression, headaches, or even skin conditions like eczema. Knowing this, how can we better learn to control our anger?

RELATED: How I Finally Stopped Letting Anger Ruin My Life

How To Calm Down When You’re Angry

1. Take a break.

One of the best ways to cool off when you're angry is to relax. The American Psychological Association suggests engaging in deep breathing exercises and meditation to help ease tensions.

Next, changing the way you think is key to quelling anger. When we are angry we can get a little dramatic. We likely use words such as, "never," or, "always," to express ourselves. However, this mindset fuels your irrationality and can over time destroy your relationships. So, try taking a break for twenty minutes before re-approaching the conversation.


Afterward, take a deep breath and say, "I would like," to express your needs, writes the American Psychological Association.



RELATED: Are You Angry All The Time? How To Calm Down Before You Say Something That Breaks Your Partner’s Heart

2. Laugh a little.

Another method that is a favorite of mine is using humor. If you find yourself enraged, imagine yourself as something ridiculous, says the American Psychological Association. Imagining yourself as a superhero from Gotham can put things into perspective and help you recognize how unreasonable you're being and dissolve tension.


3. Change locations.

And if all else fails change locations, suggests the American Psychological Association. It's easy to feel stuck if you're under tons of stress. And as stress increases it's easy to feel frustrated or angry at your predicament. Try taking a 15-minute walk outside or walking into another room. Resetting your mind is key to getting over anger.



Life can throw curveballs which can leave us feeling unreasonably angry and out of control. But the more we understand about anger and how to deal with it, the better we can manage it in the long run.

RELATED: For Anyone Whose Anger Controls Their Life


Marielisa Reyes is a writer with a bachelor's degree in psychology who covers self-help, relationships, career, and family topics.